What is your favorite and why?
Ambassador Matthew Bowers grew up in the mountains of Colorado, and endlessly seeks new experiences and adventures. So we tapped into his world to pull out some of his treasured locations.
Frisco. I grew up there, so I’m biased. However, it really is a nice little town that has kept its character for being so near to a lot of the larger resorts.
Après ski bar to grab a drink?
Prost (Frisco, Co) is my go-to après ski bar because there is nothing better than drinking a litre of beer while a stuffed bobcat and jackalope stare you down. You can also recharge with superfoods like yak sausage and giant pretzels.
Place to lose the crowds?
Great Sand Dunes National Park in the shoulder seasons is mostly empty (though camping can be a little chilly). If you put in a little extra effort to hike off into the more remote dunes, you’ll be completely alone. You can get into a lot of weird stuff out there, especially if you lug along some rock skis or a sled. The Extraterrestrial Watchtower is also great nearby attraction if you want to experience something really out there. The word “attraction” should be taken with a grain of salt.
Place to pitch a tent?
The Indian Peaks Wilderness is amazing in terms of beauty and accessibility from the Front Range. Crowds head to Rocky Mountain National Park and overlook some of the epic skylines in the Indian Peaks to the south. Permitting also keeps the backcountry feeling like the backcountry, which is always nice.
Summit to hike?
Peak One is a favorite of mine. Again, this is more of a nostalgia pick. It sits above Frisco, so I grew up in its shadow. However, it is a great mountain with killer views and just the right amount of spice at the end to make you feel like you worked for it. (Fun fact: it’s also where my parents got engaged).
Trails to mountain bike?
The riding around Carbondale is great. The trails are really varied and not too polished. You can find technical challenges that feel like desert riding on one side of the valley, and flowing trails through the willows and aspens at the foot of Mt. Sopris on the other side.
Living in Fort Collins, this choice can be pretty daunting. I’m a huge fan of Equinox because I find all of their beers to be delicious. I also think Odell is the best larger brewery in town. Killer one-off brews in the taproom and summertime hangouts on their patio will always be my go-to after a bike ride (or instead of a ride…).
It feels like a shame to pick just one, but with winter in full swing, I was just recently thinking about some of my first ever backcountry skiing in the Elk Mountain Range. I grew up skiing, but always in resorts, so it blew my mind when I moved into the backcountry. I started exploring drainages and summiting peaks that I’d only ever seen in the summer. The landscapes that had been really familiar to me completely transformed in the winter. While it carries significantly more risk and requires careful planning, winter exploration in the Colorado Rockies is probably the thing I’m most excited about right now.
One place you haven’t explored but want to go?
The Flat Tops Wilderness, situated near Grand Junction has been on my list for a while. In addition to having a very unique landscape, it is also pretty lonely out there. The abundance of streams and ponds would also make it perfect for a longer backcountry fly fishing trip.
What is your go-to Topo Designs product?
My saffron Klettersack. It’s the first Topo Designs bag I ever used, and I dig it for its simplicity. I find that I still use it for everything. It also has a lot of sentimental value at this point because it has done everything from being a crag bag, to lugging beers into hot springs, to carrying my clothes on nude ski laps.
Follow along: @matthewrbowers