Adventure Gifts For The Outdoor Enthusiast
Holiday shopping. The combination of those two words together often elicits a sympathetic nervous system response – accelerated heart rate, dilated pupils, goosebumps, increased sweating and blood pressure, and well…you get the idea.
The first and most challenging step in alleviating these symptoms is to do some deep soul searching, serious Googling, and/or hint dropping in the hopes of determining the perfect gift for the loved ones on our list. For some of us who have an outdoor enthusiast on the list, the challenge is compounded by the staggering range of options in various outdoor gift guides which include all of the new gear and gadgets – available in a wide assortment of the latest trendy colors and styles.
However, one solution that has been growing in popularity is giving the gift of an experience or an adventure, rather than a material item. In fact, according to a Harris Poll, 63% of US adults prefer to receive a gift of an experience rather than a material gift. For millennials and the Gen Z’s, it’s an even higher percentage. With the ever-increasing amount of time many of us spend in front of a screen, and the amount of time that we have collectively spent in various states of isolation in the last couple of years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, people have more desire than ever before to create memories and have adventures. For those looking to give the gift of an adventure, there are few places that compare to Colorado, and specifically to the Roaring Fork Valley located in the Western part of the state.
Top 10 Gift Ideas
When it comes to creating a ‘bucket list’ of adventures, rafting in Colorado can often be found somewhere on that list. Defiance Rafting, located in Glenwood Springs, offers guests a full menu of products and services, providing the perfect experience for the adventurous spirit on your holiday list. Defiance specializes in guided trips down the Colorado and Roaring Fork rivers that have been tailored to meet the needs and expectations of all levels of adventure seekers. These trips comprise of everything from solely running the faster water and bigger waves of the Shoshone section of the Colorado River in Glenwood Canyon, to scenic float trips down the Colorado or on the Roaring Fork Rivers. Of course, if you want to experience all of it, Defiance offers half and full-day trips that include all of the rapids and all of the scenery. This holiday season Defiance Rafting has made it simple to give the gift of rafting in Colorado by offering gift cards for 20% off simply by going here on the Defiance Rafting website. Or, don’t forget to use one of your awesome hero shots from your rafting adventure for a framed gift. If you forgot to check out your professional pictures from Colorado River Photos there is still time to view your photo package by following the link Defiance Rafting Photos (plus you can save 20%). For locals or others hanging around the area in the summer, contact Defiance for even more discounts and opportunities on a multiple trip pass for family and friends!
If you’re trying to find the perfect gift for the fish lovers on your list, you would do well to check out Colorado Drifters in New Castle. However, what you will find there is so much more than a fly shop. Drifters expertly combines the love of fly-fishing with the love of good coffee. This woman-owned hybrid shop just so happens to have the largest selection of flies in the area, as well as rods, nets, line, and all of the other gear you need to get out and go fishing. They’ll also get you one of the best cups of coffee money can buy while you pick their brains on popular fly patterns, hatches, fishing access, and anything else you may have on your mind. If you haven’t been fly-fishing or you’re newer to the sport, you can also take fly fishing lessons or book a guided trip. They are also heavily involved in community activities and offer a range of events from classes to live music. Check out their event calendar online, or stop by to pick up a gift of a fishing experience or gear. If you’re not sure what to get, you can also pick up a gift card. As long as you’re there – have a look at their striking merch, or grab a cup of delicious craft coffee!
Sunlight Mountain Resort
Colorado offers some of the best skiing and snowboarding in the world. That is not really a secret. What is a fairly well-kept secret is Sunlight Mountain Resort. This small Glenwood Springs resort offers diverse skiing and snowboarding terrain, breathtaking scenery, short lift lines, family-friendly prices, and a multitude of other winter and summer activities to do. For an experiential gift idea that is one of a kind, Sunlight snowmobile tours are hard to beat. Riders will be able to take in pristine views of the backcountry that are not easily accessed during the winter, and experience an exhilarating ride that will leave an indelible impression as well as a grin that won’t quit for days. If snowmobiling is not your thing, there are miles of cross-country and snowshoeing trails, a low-cost pass for uphilling (using specialized equipment to walk uphill on skis, snowboard, or using snowshoes, etc.), and some of the best skiing and snowboarding around. Tickets – including season passes, can be purchased online or through Sunlight’s ticket office for some of the lowest prices you can find, which also happen to make excellent stocking stuffers!
Iron Mountain Hot Springs
Iron Mountain is pretty much at the summit when it comes to relaxing after a long day of work, an active day on the slopes or the river, or just because most of us need more ways to bliss-out in life. In addition to one large freshwater family pool, Iron Mountain has 16 different soaking pools filled with pure mineral water and no chemical additives. Each of the pools varies in temperatures from 98°-108°, making it easy to find the perfect pool to relax in and let any stresses in life melt away. These pools also contain 14 different dissolved minerals which in addition to the hot water, have a variety of therapeutic properties. This season you can give the rare gift of relaxation by purchasing a day pass, annual pass, holiday pass, or gift card at Iron Mountain Hot Springs.
Defiance River Outfitters (DRO)
Although experiential gifts continue to gain popularity, it is difficult to adventure without having the right gear – or any gear at all. For those on your list whose happy place is on the river, but who may not have the equipment needed or desired, Defiance River Outfitters offers all the goods to make getting on the water as easy as possible. From helping you plan your single or multi-day trips, repairing your raft, arranging your transportation, or just making sure that you’re hooked up with the gear that you need to get the most out of your trip, DRO is your one-stop shop when it comes to river adventures. While DRO is helping you get all squared away, make sure you ask them about Canyon Coolers for another cool gift idea. These things will continue to keep your ice as ice – instead of water – for longer than any other cooler out there. If you do the math, this means that your food and beverages will stay colder than a polar bear’s butt for a very long time. So, contact DRO and start planning your next adventure today!
Glenwood Vaudeville Revue
Uncontrollable laughter and delicious food. Sometimes that’s exactly what’s needed in life. Luckily for you, the ‘Vaudeville’ is your one-stop shop for both. Alongside a delectable selection of delicious food offered from a number of the best Glenwood restaurants, the GVR offers a 2hr family fun dinner theater show that includes “a variety of comedy skits, jokes, high energy dance numbers, unique novelty songs, and original comedic presentations that are guaranteed to entertain, and help you laugh your worries away.” The Vaudeville offers physical and e-gift cards that are perfect as stocking stuffers. Or you can check their website to find and reserve a show this holiday season or after the New Year.
Glenwood Canyons Caverns Adventure Park
To give the gift of adventure, a good bet is to go with a place where ‘adventure’ is actually in the name. The Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is the only mountain top theme park in the US, sitting at 7,160’ above sea level. The adventure park features 13 rides and attractions including a giant swing that swings riders over the canyon cliffs, an alpine coaster, a zip line, and several other coasters – including a new one named ‘defiance’ that will provide a wild ride high on the mountain top, starting in 2022. The Park also includes an elaborate cave system within the mountain where tours are offered. For the thrill-seeker on your list, daily or season passes are a great way to give the gift of adventure this holiday season!
Looking for a gift that literally puts the cheer into your holiday cheer? Well then, look no further than Ball Brewing in Glenwood Springs. Ball has a diverse selection of all the necessary home brewing supplies including an assortment of yeasts, hops, grains, and malts that can be used to create the perfect libation for this or any season. They’ll also create a custom recipe for you if you’re unsure of exactly what you want, but know what you like. If you want to make it even simpler, get a complete ‘good to go’ beer, wine, or cider-making kit and start brewing pronto. While you’re at Ball perusing the homebrew supplies, try one of their craft creations on tap in the tasting room. This includes the only tap around with a perfectly brewed hard seltzer, flavored with a delicious variety of fresh fruits.
Ragged Mountain Sports
It’s a place many of us have been – hiking shoes are falling apart or causing blisters, holey clothing and coats have as many patches as they do original material, or your gear is held together by duct tape. There’s a point when sometimes you just need to make an investment into your equipment. Maybe you’ve progressed to a place in your activity or sport where you need to add to or upgrade what you’re currently using. But let’s face it – new gear is often really expensive. One solution to this problem is Ragged Mountain Sports in Carbondale. Ragged Mountain is an outdoor equipment consignment shop. Their model allows for people to sell their gently used equipment on consignment, which leads to gear being offered at a much better price. In addition, purchasing lightly used clothing and equipment is a more eco-friendly and sustainable solution for our communities and planet. What often ends up in a landfill or otherwise discarded can get a new lease on life or be repurposed in some way. Ragged offers a wide selection of equipment and clothing to better prepare you for any activity on the slopes, the rocks, the water, or even the air. So rather than continuing to go down the outdoor gift guide rabbit-hole for the outdoor enthusiast on your holiday list, give the gift of treasure hunting by purchasing a gift card at Ragged Mountain Sports! As a wise rapper once said, “one man’s trash is another man’s come up.”
We can all probably use more ways to slow down, be mindful, or stop and smell the flowers. For those who may need a little help in that department, check out some of the classes and workshops to help you take a more balanced and mindful approach in life – offered by the Yoga Collective in Glenwood Springs. Yoga is the perfect gift for those who like to recreate and generally be outdoors. It can decrease the incidents of injury by improving flexibility, balance, and strength. It can help improve joint pain and improve heart health. Yoga has also been proven to promote overall wellness both physically and mentally. Right now, the Yoga Collective is offering an unlimited monthly pass to new students for $60. That’s a great deal and a great gift for the upcoming holidays – and beyond!
In a world where so much of our time is looking at screens or connecting to our friends and family online, we are often looking for ways to connect in a more meaningful or ‘real’ way.
Giving the gift of an experience or an adventure can provide those who we care about something to look forward to. In addition, memories are created through our experiences and adventures which can lead to strong connections to our surroundings and other people. These memories can often become a part of our identities while the things that we have will eventually need to be replaced. The most exciting part of life is often seeing what’s around the bend or over the next mountain.
NOVEMBER 24, 2021