Winter in the Land of Ice & Steam
Ouray is the place to be in the wintertime, whether you seek adventure, comfort, relaxation or all of the above. Come winter, Ouray is wrapped in a blanket of crisp, white snow and offers plenty of activities and events to warm the body, heart and soul. If frozen water is what you seek, Ouray has you covered.
From the famous ice of the Ouray Ice Park to the pristine powder, huge vistas and quiet forests of the San Juan Mountains, winter beckons winter adventurers looking for ice-climbing, back-country skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling. A day with the kids on our local sledding hills, complete with bonfires and s’mores, is sure to get you giddy and giggling. Or be just be inspired by landscape from the deck of your hotel, bundled up with a quilt and some hot chocolate.
Discover the Softer Side of Ice!
Most of the photos you see of Ouray’s official winter sport, ice climbing, can be a little intimidating. World class athletes come to Ouray and are portrayed hanging at crazy angles from their ice axes, traversing impossibly thin rock faces and icicles, and basically awing the casual bystander with their supernatural skills. (photo courtesy of Mark Johnson, BoxCanyonBlog.com)
What you may not realize when you look at these pictures is that Ouray is actually the perfect place to try out ice climbing for the first time, or to improve your skills with the help of our amazing climbing guides. It’s even better when you invite a whole group of friends to join you!
A few facts to tempt your secret inner ice climber:
1) The Ouray Ice Park is FREE to use. While guided clinics and lessons are recommended for all beginners, the park itself remains a free playground for everyone who climbs there.
2)The Ouray Ice Park offers beginner to advanced routes, so climbers of all skill levels can spend a full day learning and perfecting their techniques.
3) The Ouray Ice Park is actually located inside Ouray city limits. The park is only a 5-10 minute walk from Main Street, which means that you can enjoy a lesson in the morning, pop into town for a hot lunch, head back in the early afternoon for some fun climbing then end your day in the Ouray Hot Springs Pool to soak away the day’s adventure.
Climbing clinics and lessons are offered for every age and climber throughout the season. The Kid’s Climbing College offers free climbing opportunities for youth ages 8-17 on special weekends, Chicks With Picks offers a number of women’s clinics, Paradox Sports offers adaptive programs, and the Ouray Ice Festival in January offers clinics during the event.
Add ice climbing to your bucket list. Get in touch with one of our local guide services and then sit back and share photos and stories about the time you conquered the ice! We have a feeling you’ll be back to do it again before you know it.
Ouray has been a special destination of world travelers for more than 100 years. This small intimate community is nestled in some of the most rugged and towering peaks of the Rockies. Set at the narrow head of a valley at 7,792 feet and surrounded on three sides with 13,000 foot snowcapped peaks - Ouray is home to hundreds of miles of historic Jeep roads, sulfur-free hot springs with stunning views and the world-famous Ouray Ice Park.
Remarkably, two-thirds of Ouray's original Victorian structures, are still occupied, and have been lovingly restored in order to preserve their turn-of-the-century charm.