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Ouray Colorado Vacation Guide and Trip Planning Information for SW Colorado

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Ridgway & Ouray Colorado: January 2011 Events


Ouray WinterThe villages of Ouray and Ridgway Colorado have several things to do during January that may inspire a winter visit to our picturesque towns.   In addition to this list of scheduled events in Ouray County, you can also enjoy relaxation at our hotel's very own natural hot springs and indulge yourself and a partner in a romantic winter weekend getaway or a casual weekday escape.  These types of impulsive Colorado getaways serve as cabin fever preventatives and rejuvenate people for the remainder of the winter.

January 5: Digital Point and Shoot Photography workshop:  This class is for you regardless of your level of experience. Learn the full power of your digital point and shoot camera. This class is perfect for learning the basics of operating your camera and for artists that work in other mediums like painters that want to capture images from which to work. Topics covered will include how the camera works, your cameras features, composition for photography, and getting your digital images to print form.  The class is taught by Rich Durnan a local Ridgway photographer, who has many awards and accolades to his name.  Sign up through Weehawken Creative Arts by calling (970) 318-0150.

January 6-9:  The Ouray Ice Festival kicks off on January 6th.  This event lasts for 3 days and includes a climbing competition, clinics for all skill levels, speakers, slideshows and fundraising events.  This event is the premier fundraising opportunity for the Ouray Ice Park, the largest ice climbing facility of its kind in the world.  Even if you do not climb, it is a wonderful time to come to Ouray and watch these amazing athletes hanging off the edge of the ice.

January 7:  Big'Ns is back! Come listen to the hottest Irish Rock band from Pagosa Springs, starting at 9:30pm at O'Briens Pub.

January 8, 15, 22, and 29:  Free Fly Tying seminar Saturdays from 10:00am - 12:00pm at RIGS in Ridgway:  In addition to Free Fly Tying Seminars, the Fly Section at the Shop has also expanded its new tying materials section to be the most comprehensive in the region. Every thing from new hook styles to the latest and greatest in dubbing, beads, tools and tackle. 

January 9:  Kids Climbing College:  10am at the Kids Wall.  There will be four ropes set up with four San Juan Mountain Guides on staff to instruct the kids on safety and on how to climb ice. Two ropes will be dedicated to pre-registrants while the other two ropes will be dedicated to "walk'up" customers. All necessary climbing equipment will be provided along with hot chocolate, but please have your future ice climbing stars dressed warmly!  

January 14-17: Chicks with Picks: women's ice climbing clinics whereby women teach women the techniques and the sport of ice climbing.  There are different levels of clinics from never-ever climbers to very advanced.   

January 15:  Moonlight ski at Ironton.  The Ouray Nordic Council sponsors this event.  Details have not been finalized but generally, there is a meeting point in Ouray and then folks head out together to Ironton to enjoy some track time.  Please contact the hotel for exact information.

January 25-29: Chicks with Picks: women's ice climbing clinics whereby women teach women the techniques and the sport of ice climbing.  There are different levels of clinics from never-ever climbers to very advanced.

January 25, February 1, 8, 15, 22: Digital SLR Photography Basics : Learn essential photographic skills such as familiarization with your camera’s controls and composition while you will learn how much fun you can have with your camera. This class has been expanded to five evenings and is for beginners and intermediates who want to increase their knowledge of manual SLR camera operation and still photo creation. The course includes an in depth look at how digital cameras work, use of essential controls, and composition. Weekly assignments provide an opportunity for students to critique and learn from each others work. This class is taught by Rich Durnan.  Classes will be in Ridgway, 6:30 to 8:30 PM.  Sign up through Weehawken Creative Arts by calling (970) 318-0150.

As always, we strive to please so if you need more information on any event listed, contact us at the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs and we will ensure you have the details you want.

Snow Conditions around Ouray Colorado


We received an update from the USFS in Montrose today and the conditions are not surprising if you live in Ouray Colorado but might shock those that have heard of epic snowstorms in the Colorado high country.  Ouray CO has had plenty of moisture but unfortunately, it has been too warm so it comes to us in the form of rain.  But, on a positive note, today's weather is mostly a frozen margarita or a slushy as the rain is beginning to turn to snow.  We still may have a white Christmas at the Box Canyon Lodge and Hot Springs after all!

The following information is from the USFS Ouray Ranger District:

For holiday recreation, here is the snow report...  In a nutshell, conditions are generally very poor.

  • Dave Wood XC Ski Area: Not enough snow to ski.
  • Ironton Park XC Ski Area: Enough snow for skiing designated trails, and good quality.  Not yet being groomed.  Off-trail skiing not recommended.
  • Miller Mesa: Not enough snow to ski.  You would have to walk a couple of miles up CR 5 to reach good snow.  Do not attempt to drive it beyond the winter parking area -- the road is very, very icy (I learned this first hand).
  • Red Mountain Pass: Enough snow for backcountry skiing, but rock skis are recommended as there is no base yet.  Check avalanche and weather reports before visiting this area -- avalanche danger has been very high!!!
  • Uncompahgre Plateau Snowmobile Routes: Enough snow for snowmobiling on unplowed roads, but not enough for cross-country travel (where permitted).  Leaving the road is inadvisable, as there is not enough snow to allow passage over surface obstacles.  As of Tuesday, snowmobile trails were not yet being groomed.  Dave Wood access is good.  Other access points are unknown.
  • Owl Creek Pass Snowmobile Route:  Not yet being groomed and not recommended.  Access is very poor due to warm, wet conditions.  You must travel a long way on muddy, icy roads on either side of the pass to reach adequate snow.

Try these websites for more information:
Colorado Avalance Information Center:
National Weather Service:

The good news is that the natural hot springs in Ouray are warm as ever and we welcome everyone to come down for a great soak. 

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone from all of us at the hotel.

Ouray & Ridgway Colorado were home to the first "True Grit"


A list of things to do in Ouray Colorado is not complete without finding a few movie locations.  Many westerns were filmed in and around Ouray County including the original production of "True Grit" staring John Wayne, Kim Darby and Glen Campbell.   John Wayne won the Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of Rooster Cogburn, the crotchety marshall helping Matti Ross track down her father's killer. 

A great YouTube video showcases the locations from Ouray and Ridgway, then and now style.

A package that includes lodging, jeep rental and dinner is available through several Ouray businesses to enable you to track down these spots.  This package is available from mid-June through September.  Snow makes some travel difficult at other times of the year but both Ridgway and Ouray scenes are accessible year round.

You can book the True Grit Package through our hotel in Ouray.

Other movies filmed in the area include:

1950 A Ticket to Tomahawk - With Dan Dailey, Anne Baxter, Rory Calhoun, Marilyn Monroe

1951 Across the Wide Missouri - Clark Gable

1956 Tribute to a Bad Man - James Cagney
1962 How the West Was Won - Spencer Tracy, Gregory Peck, James Stewart, Debbie Reynolds, John Wayne et al.
1964 Unsinkable Molly Brown - Debbie Reynolds
1965 Sons of Katie Elder - John Wayne and Dean Martin (based on a real Ridgway family)
1968 True Grit - John Wayne, Glen Campbell, Kim Darby
1969 Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid - Paul Newman
1978 Avalanche - Rock Hudson and Mia Farrow (final scene shows a clip of Farrow hanging off the Camp Bird Mine Bridge
1987 - Over the Top, Sylvester Stallone. Opening has 18-wheeler driving through mountains. Red Mountain.

Alferd Packer: The Musical (1996)
...aka Cannibal! The Musical (1996)
Durango Kids (1999)
Sunchaser, The (1996)

Box Canyon Lodge Earns Green America’s Business Seal of Approval

green-america-seal-of-approvalBox Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs is thrilled to announce it has been awarded the Green  America Business Seal of Approval. The seal is presented to businesses that go beyond product and service quality to set the highest standards in environmental sustainability and social justice, and work to solve, rather than create, environmental and social problems.

To be considered for the Seal of Approval and earn a listing in the annual National Green Pages™, businesses complete a rigorous screening process to ensure they meet Green America’s standards for the environment, community and labor.

Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs is known for its unique natural hot springs hot tubs which are terraced on the mountainside, and guests love these natural hot springs.  But, this Ouray Colorado hotel also uses their geothermal resources to heat their domestic water supply and to heat the entire property.  The Box Canyon Lodge shows exemplary concern and corporate practices for people and planet; they recycle, work with environmentally conscious suppliers, and listen to their workers.

“We are over the top excited to earn this coveted Seal of Approval,” said Karen Avery, owner of the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs. “It’s one of the most respected and recognized symbols in the green marketplace and a powerful way to set our Ouray CO hotel apart as a leading green hotel.”

Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs is now an Approved member of the Green Business Network, a distinguished and celebrated group of companies that use their products and services as a vehicle for social and environmental change.

More on the Green Business Network:

The Green Business Network (GBN) offers a vibrant community of over 4,000 environmentally and socially responsible businesses, the oldest and largest of its kind in the US. GBN is powered by Green America, a non-profit whose mission is to harness the economic power of consumers and businesses to create a more just and sustainable economy. More information on GBN can be found at and for more on the Seal of Approval, click on “Get the Seal.”

More on Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs:

The Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs is located in southwestern Colorado along the San Juan Skyway scenic and historic byway.  Situated on a side street in the picturesque village of Ouray, this green hotel strives to provide a wonderful experience for Ouray's visitors as well as provide an environmentally friendly  lodging experience.  Read more about their green commitment at their website:

Ouray Ice Park Update


The Ouray Ice Park continues to make ice but Mother Nature doesn't want to cooperate as much now that the season is upon us.  Making ice is a delicate process. 

They Ouray Ice Park employs folks to farm ice. The ice men need the temperatures in the Uncompaghre Gorge to be cold enough to freeze the water and yet warm enough to keep it moving in the pipes.  The ice park has the water under high pressure in the pipes and that helps keep it running.  This is nothing but a science experiment on a large scale and water pressure in the irrigation system and temps of the water and outside air are variables to ice making in this grand scale.  If the water pressure is too low, the water can freeze in the pipes, for example. 

The water used to make ice comes from the City of Ouray's water supply and that is usually at 37 degrees Farenheit.  Tempertures outside typically need to be 26 degrees Farenheit at night to be able to properly cool the water in time for it to freeze.  Think Arctic Cold Blast!  Optimum nighttime temps for making ice are in the mid teens.

Initially in 2010, the opening of the Ice Park was announced for this upcoming weekend (Dec 11) but the opening has been delayed since warm air temperatures have dashed that hope.  It will be cold enough for the next couple of evenings to work on those fat pillars of ice but daytime temps for the weekend are a bit high.  The Ouray Ice Park conditions are posted regularly on its website to keep climbers abreast of ice park conditions.

Here are a two pictures from earlier today from the road between Box Canyon Falls and the lower bridge and the kids wall. 


IMG 20101208 095434 resized 600

Support for the Ouray Ice Park comes in the form of memberships and sponsorships and their major fund raiser, the Ouray Ice Festival.

The Box Canyon Lodge is the closest hotel to the Ouray Ice Park.  We are also a major local sponsor of the Ouray Ice Park and sell memberships for them.  It is a fast and painless process and we can do it for you at check-in.  We can also help you if you don't stay with us.  Just stop by the lobby between 8:00am and 10:00pm and we can hook you up!  If you already have a membership, we give 20% off of lodging to encourage climbers to support the great effort at the park.


Ouray CO Events : December 2010 for the Holidays


The little village of Ouray boasts many activities early in December this year to bring out your Christmas Spirit.  Here is a short list of things to do this Holiday Season in Ouray.

Nutcracker Sweets are back this year sponsored by Weehawken Creative Arts.  This show is an artistic dance performance loosly based on the Nutcracker ballet.  Kids make up the majority of the cast.  The show takes place on December 3, 4, & 5th at the Wright Opera House.  Tickets are available online if you are interested.

Saturday, December 11, 2010, is filled with family fun.  The Yule Night celebration officially begins with a movie at the Main Street Theater, 1 p.m. The featured movie is "A Christmas Story".  At 5:00pm, a small parade welcomes Santa to Ouray with a bonfire and caroling.  Enjoy a live nativity scene on Main Street too Watch Santa arrive at 5:15 to the Ouray Elks Lodge.  Children can meet with Santa and Mrs. Claus and have their pictures taken.  At 5:30, there is a chili supper that includes hot dogs, chips and lemonade for a small fee.  Information concerning these events can be directed to the Ouray Chamber at (800) 228-1876.

The 2nd Annual Wine and Chocolate Festival takes place in Ouray CO at the Wright Opera House on December 11th too.  The attraction at the "Wine and Chocolate Festival" is of course, chocolate. Imagine sampling decadent tasty chocolate treats along with a glass of wine. Who wouldn't enjoy this type of festival?  Local Colorado wineries will be on hand to fill your glass and there will also be some local restaurants on hand to share their wines and wine list with patrons.  Information concerning these events can be directed to the Ouray Chamber at (800) 228-1876.  It's a fun filled evening in Ouray filled with sweetness and good tidings, so come on out and spread some holiday cheer!  Admission is free if you can show $200 worth of receipts from Ouray Stores on that day.  Come down for some shopping and good cheer.  Our hotel will also give you a 50% discount on a stay if you show $200 in receipts at local stores.  You must mention promo code SHOP to receive this benefit and you must show receipts from Dec. 10th or Dec. 11th to qualify.

The Ouray County Players will perform another old fashioned live radio show.  This year, the show is "The Bishop's Wife" based on the 1947 movie of the same name.  During the show, the audience listens and watches as the show is broadcast live on KURA.  It is a unique experience that brings you back in time.  The performances are on Dec 10th at 7:30 and Dec 12th 2pm.  Tickets are available at the following locations: Buckskin Booksellers, Mouse's Chocolates, and Khristophers Culinaire in Ouray; Cimarron Coffee & Books, Ridgway; Ouray Silversmith's in Montrose or at the door.  This hotel would also be happy to get you tickets in advance.

hotel in ouray discount

Gimps on Ice at the Ouray Ice Park in March 2011

The Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs loves when the "Gimps" are in town.  This group is complete with inspirational stories and resiliant characters.  See details below:disabled-ice-climber

Boulder, Colorado – Paradox Sports is pleased to announce the  4th annual gathering of Gimps On Ice  in Ouray Colorado on March 4th, 5th and 6th, 2011. Over the weekend disabled athletes will descend on the Uncompahgre Gorge in Ouray Colorado to face the mile of vertical ice in the gorge, learning about the specialized equipment and techniques needed climb vertical waterfalls. Men and women who are missing limbs or eyes or the use of their legs will gather to challenge themselves physically and mentally and, especially to challenge the common perception that an amputee is handicapped or that a blind person must, by default, lead a second-rate life. Malcolm Daly, Executive Director and amputee, puts it succinctly: “Ice is the great equalizer. None of us can climb it without adaptive equipment. We just go one step further.”

Paradox Sports was created by an eclectic group of individuals with a common desire to integrate the physically disabled into the outdoor community by providing inspiration, opportunities, and the adaptive equipment needed to participate in human-powered outdoor sports. It is the brainchild of Army Captain DJ Skelton and professional climber Timmy O'Neill. DJ was wounded in Iraq and is still on active duty AND works as an advocate for wounded soldiers returning from Iraq. Timmy travels the world as an entertainer, climber, and ambassador for the outdoor industry. The common bond of loving the outdoors and wanting to share it with others, regardless of physical limitations, is what brought them together.

The Ouray Ice Park was opened in 1995 as the world's first park devoted exclusively to the sport of ice climbing. A small band of local volunteers and business owners developed the Park utilizing a unique set of assets found perhaps only in Ouray: a one-hundred-foot-deep, mile-long gorge that descends right into town. Over the past 14 years the park has grown to become the largest ice climbing park in the world and attracts climbers from all over the world.

Gimps On Ice is made possible by a “Gives Back” grant from Mountain Hardwear.

For more information contact:

Chad Butrick
Director of Operations
303 • 210 • 1996

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