A travelers guide to visiting Colorado
Friends, travel experts and social media will tell you — Colorado makes an epic winter getaway. Snow-capped summits and breathtaking landscapes come together to make Colorado one of the best places for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Throw in celebrated attractions, winter activities, lodging and eateries, and you'll know why the Centennial State consistently tops the charts for winter vacation experiences. From secluded winter wonderlands to the best après-ski spots and urban delights, each of these cities offers its own take on cold-weather fun.
Durango: Day tripping, historic train rides and old west elegance
Durango, southwestern Colorado's largest town (population 15,000), is perched at 6,512 feet above sea level and flanked by snow-blanketed red sandstone cliffs. The city is just 20 miles from the Four Corners, 56 miles from Mesa Verde National Park and 70 miles from Ouray Ice Park and its 200-plus climbs.
With accolades from National Geographic and The Denver Post, the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad has been a top attraction since the late 19th century. The 1920s steam engine pulls refurbished, circa 1882 heated coaches at 18 mph through pristine snowy forests and past wildlife galore.
Afterwards, head two blocks north to the Strater Hotel in Durango's Historic Downtown district, where you can find award-winning restaurants to dine at and catch a live show at the world-famous Henry Strater Theatre.
Denver: Museums, gardens and specialty eats
The Mile-High City is the capital and cultural epicenter of Colorado, where you'll enjoy a rare combination of metropolitan culture and Western charm. Its museums display some of the nation's top Native American and Western art. Learn about Colorado's astounding sights at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, or see some floral eye candy at Denver Botanic Garden's Blossoms of Light.
Honor your taste buds and enjoy the surroundings at The Source, one of the hottest eateries in Denver. Converted from a 19th-century warehouse, The Source marketplace houses local bakers, specialty grocers, crafts and more.
After you eat, rent skates and take a loop around the outdoor rink that overlooks downtown Denver. Or, you can bring your skates a few miles west into the mountains to 40-acre Evergreen Lake, which also boasts a boardwalk and warming hut.
Vail: Carriage rides, ski lodges and romance
Fashioned after villages in the Swiss Alps, Vail's cobblestone streets and limited number of cars create a winter wonderland for travelers. The carriages with soft jingle bells add to the wintry scene. While you're there, take in the European-style architecture, shop Vail's unique boutiques and dine at its award-winning restaurants. As for skiing, Vail Resort is the largest in the nation with a vast 5,289 acres of snow to explore.
Vail's private gondola rides and romantic restaurants make it especially popular with honeymooners. Stroll through fine-art galleries and museums like the Colorado Ski and Snowboard Museum and the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame. For a romantic escape, try The Sebastian, where you can enjoy one of four hot tubs, or the creek-side Vail Mountain Lodge, where a full-service spa awaits.
Steamboat Springs: Skiing, hot springs and sleigh rides
Head up to Steamboat Springs in northwestern Colorado to enjoy powder snow and ski the state's longest-running slopes at Howelsen Hill. If you're looking for ski lessons, you'll find some of the best instructors at Steamboat Springs Resort, one of the world's finest ski and snowboard schools. If you're into freestyle or cross-country skiing, the resort offers a mogul field and plenty of trails.
After a day on the slopes, take a 15-minute shuttle or ride a four wheeler down to Strawberry Hot Springs, where man-made pools blend with nature. After a day of exploring, unwind with a massage and sleep fireside in one of the springs' cabins.
Back in town you'll find distinctive accommodations, eateries and shops. Snuggle up under a blanket while stargazing in a Percheron horse-drawn sleigh then stop for dinner at family-friendly Hahn's Peak Roadhouse. Or, if you're feeling adventurous, saddle up for a horseback guided tour at The Home Ranch. Visit the Steamboat Springs website for more ideas, including an eclectic mix of winter events — think cowboys on skis.
Aspen: Après ski, Snowmass and nature
Those searching for a naturalist-led snowshoe and other excursions will find an abundance of activities at the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies. Enjoy the silence of snow-covered spruce and fir forests as you explore one of 25 nature trails by foot with a knowledgeable Naturalist tour guide. During your excursion learn about wildlife, tracking, mountain ecology, avalanches, winter habitats and Aspen history.
Après ski in Aspen and Snowmass Village is a lifestyle, and Condé Nast Traveler calls it the best in North America. During the day, ski one of four mountain ranges that make up Snowmass and at night enjoy one of the many activities offered. Dubbed as one of America's Best Ski Resorts, Snowmass is the most spacious of the Aspen ski areas with runs to suit every level, from kid-friendly trails to a mountain range that is home to the Winter X Games.
Head back into town where you'll find plenty of folks grabbing drinks and swapping ski stories at one of the many resorts. To bring a beautiful end to your day, unwind near the fireside gazing upon the mountain sunset, enjoying the Aspen glow John Denver sang about.
Around the web
On March 19, 2020, United operated its first flight carrying cargo without passengers on board. While the passenger cabin was empty, its cargo hold was completely full, carrying more than 29,000 pounds of commodities from Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD) to Frankfurt Airport (FRA).
A year later, United Cargo has operated more than 11,000 cargo-only flights carrying more than 570 million pounds of freight. To support the COVID-19 pandemic recovery efforts, United Cargo has also transported more than 113 million pounds of medical and pharmaceutical products on both cargo-only and passenger flights as well as approximately 10 million COVID-19 vaccines, providing global communities access to the items they have needed most.
"At the beginning of the pandemic, we knew we were uniquely positioned to utilize our widebody aircraft and our network to keep commodities moving, so we quickly mobilized various departments throughout the airline to launch a cargo-only network of flights that would keep commodities moving," said United Cargo President Jan Krems. "Thanks to those efforts, United Cargo has delivered millions of items to countries all around the world. We would not have been successful without the steadfast support of our employees, industry partners and our customers."
Since last March, United Cargo has transported almost 850 million pounds of freight on cargo-only and passenger flights. The airline will continue to monitor market trends adjust its cargo-only flight schedules to help ensure we are meeting our customer's evolving shipping needs.
Whether you haven't flown with us for a while or just need a quick refresher before your spring trip, read this list of tips to know before your flight and arrive at the airport travel-ready:
1. Download the United app for contactless bag check, travel assistance and more
Before your flight, download the United app to view your flight status, check in, sign up for flight notifications, locate departure gates, access our free personal device entertainment when available and more. We've also updated our app with new features that can make your trip a little safer, including contactless bag check.
Don't forget to use Agent on Demand for help with any and all questions you may have before your flight. This new capability is available at all our U.S. hub airports and allows you to use your own mobile device to contact a customer service agent via phone, video or chat to help with day-of-travel questions while you're at the airport. Learn more about Agent on Demand here.
2. Check out the Travel-Ready Center
Our Travel-Ready Center makes it easy to get a personalized overview of everything you need to do in preparation for your flight. Just enter your confirmation number or MileagePlus® number and you'll find detailed information on all the documents, tests and more that you'll need for your trip.
3. Read and sign the Ready-to-Fly checklist
Before completing check-in, all United travelers will need to read our Ready-to-Fly checklist and confirm that they understand and agree to our policies. These include:
Acknowledging that you haven't had any symptoms of COVID-19 in the last 14 days
Agreeing that you will not fly if you have tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 21 days
Confirming that you will follow all policies regarding face masks, social distancing and other health and safety measures we've adopted
4. Arrive early; avoid the stress
Airports can be busy, especially during peak travel periods like spring break season. The TSA advises arriving at the airport two hours before your flight for domestic travel and three hours for international travel in anticipation of long security lines. This can help ease the stress when navigating busy check-in areas, security lines and crowded boarding gates.
5. Get familiar with CleanPlus
United CleanPlus℠ is our commitment to delivering industry-leading cleanliness as we put health and safety at the forefront of your experience. We've teamed up with Clorox to redefine our cleaning and disinfection procedures and Cleveland Clinic to advise us on enhancing our cleaning and disinfection protocols, like:
Disinfecting high-touch areas on board and in the terminal
Using electrostatic spraying, Ultraviolet C lighting wands and more advanced measures to clean aircraft cabins before boarding
Redesigning our mobile app to allow for touchless check-in and contactless payment, along with enhanced travel assistance features
Implementing high-efficiency (HEPA) filters on our aircraft that completely recirculate cabin air every 2-3 minutes and remove 99.97% of airborne particles, including viruses and bacteria
Studies show COVID-19 exposure risk is minimal when air filtration systems and masks are in use, so you can rest assured that the steps we've taken to keep you safe truly make a difference.
6. Wear your mask
Federal law requires all travelers to wear a face mask in the airport, including customer service counters, airport lounges, gates and baggage claim, and on board during their entire flight. Make sure you review the requirements for face masks, including what an acceptable face mask looks like.
7. Get ready for a safer boarding process
To make boarding even safer, we now have travelers board their aircraft from back to front. At the gate, just listen for your row number to be called – we'll ask a few rows at a time to board, starting with the last row of the plane. This helps everyone maintain a safe distance from each other during boarding without slowing things down. As you step onto the plane, flight attendants will hand each passenger a sanitizing towelette, which you can use to wipe down your seat to ensure it's extra clean.
8. Pack smart
Before packing your bags, check to see what exactly you can carry on and what you should plan to check. You can also copy your confirmation number into our Baggage Calculator tool to learn about the bag allowance included with your reservation, as well as the cost of checking any additional bags.
9. Check your flight status, important notices and weather
Check the United app regularly for the latest updates on weather conditions, flight status, gate numbers and seat assignments. You can also visit our Important Notices page to find essential information and updates about travel waivers, international travel, TSA and security, airports and United Club locations.
10. Relax and enjoy your flight
Once you're on board, it's time to sit back and enjoy your flight. Our flight attendants will be happy to help you with anything else you need.
This week, we were honored to become the first U.S. airline to join the UNICEF Humanitarian Airfreight Initiative to combat the COVID-19 pandemic by transporting the vaccine and other critically needed supplies to underserved areas of the globe.
"We are committed to helping the global community in any way we can, and we all must work together to do our part to bring this health and humanitarian crisis to an end," said Director of Cargo Specialty Products Manu Jacobs.
We will leverage our expertise to transport these critical pharmaceutical and healthcare shipments around the world safely, efficiently and expediently. We are proud to partner with the United Nations to support this global effort and provide equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.
Together, we are facing an unprecedented challenge. United Together, we rise to meet that challenge.
Calling all AvGeeks and travelers! Take your next video call from a United Polaris® seat, the cockpit or cruising altitude with United-themed backgrounds for use on Zoom and Microsoft Teams.
Newly added to our collection is a background encouraging our employees and customers to vote. Our mission is to connect people and unite the world — and one of the most important ways to do that is to engage in the democratic process. No matter which party you support, we know our democracy will be stronger if you make your voice heard and vote.
So for your next meeting or catch up with friends and family, download the app to either your computer or mobile device to get started.
To use on Zoom:
- Start here by downloading your favorite United image to your computer or mobile device. Just click "download" in the bottom left corner of the image.
- Next go to your Zoom app (you'll need to download the app to access backgrounds) and click on the arrow to the right of your video camera icon in the bottom of the screen.
- From here select, "choose virtual background" to upload your uniquely United photo.
To use on Microsoft Teams:
- Start by downloading your favorite United image to your computer. Just click "download" in the bottom left corner of the image.
- If you're using a PC, copy the image you want to use into this folder:
- C:\[insert your device user name here]\AppData\Microsoft\Teams\Backgrounds\Uploads
- If you're using a Mac copy the images to this folder on your computer:
- /users/<username>/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Teams/Backgrounds/Uploads
- If you're using a PC, copy the image you want to use into this folder:
- Once you start a Teams meeting, click the "…" in the menu bar and select "Show background effects" and your image should be there
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This is why we fly.
20 UCSF Health workers, who voluntarily set aside their own lives to help save lives, are on their way to New York City.
We are humbled by your selfless sacrifice.
In celebration and appreciation of all first responders and essential workers. 👏🏻👏🏼👏🏽👏🏾👏🏿
This is the story of Jason and Shantel. You see, Jason and Shantel love each other very much. They also love traveling and they love the classic Adam Sandler film, The Wedding Singer.
It all began when Jason reached out to United's social media team, hoping for assistance with his upcoming plan to propose. Some phone calls and one borrowed guitar later, the stage was set for Jason. Put all that together, mix in some helpful United employees and, voila, you have a truly memorable marriage proposal. Congratulations to this fun-loving and happy couple, and here's to many more years of making beautiful music together.
A big thank you to Chicago-based flight attendants Donna W., Marie M., Karen J. and Mark K. for making this proposal come to life.