Kristy Holland
Kristy Holland

What's a better excuse for cuddling up to a date than cold weather? Despite above-average snowfall in Boulder this winter, conditions for the go-to snow-inspired date -- ski days in Summit County -- have sucked.

Ski-area conditions are finally getting better, but if you're anything like me, sketchy conditions on the slopes may have dampened your desire to brave I-70; and a spate of 60-degree days may have already infused your daydreams with images of budding flowers and springtime bike rides.

This week, after a midday road bike ride on ice-free roads, I mentioned my disillusionment with this season to a friend. He was shocked. "There are still two full months of winter left," he said. He couldn't believe I'd already given up on the "best season of the year."

He spent a few minutes reminding me how fun it is to ride a ski lift with your lover, sip hot toddies, hold hands while slip-sliding on ice, and cuddling in front of a roaring fire. It wasn't long before he had me convinced; Winter is rad. It's romantic, it's fun -- and it's not over yet. Boulder offers a bunch of close-to-home opportunities to enjoy the best (and the rest) of it. Read on for a few date-night suggestions that'll have you falling for the season -- and your sweetheart -- all over again.

Even when there's no snow, there's an oasis of winter just a block off Pearl Street. You can rent skates and get onto the ice at the Ice Rink at One Boulder Plaza (1801 13th St.; bouldericerink.com) for just $8 -- less than the price of a frigid cocktail. The rink shuts down for the season in mid-February, but it's open everyday until the 15th and until 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.


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For five-mountain or Copper/Winter Park-pass holders, it's been a disappointing winter. It's finally started snowing, but increasing snowpack means increases in traffic and lift lines, too. The frustrations of getting in a mediocre day on the slopes might not be worth the effort of making an impression on a new love interest -- especially if closed lifts and thin snow coverage squash your chances to show off. Instead of an all-day epic up I-70, try for a low-pressure local ski adventure at Eldora Mountain Resort in Nederland (eldora.com) instead. Make a whole, leisurely day out of it: Catch the 10:10 a.m. RTD Ski-N-Ride from the bus station at 14th and Walnut (FREE for CU students), buy her a hot lunch at Timbers Lodge, and step onto the slopes at 12:20 p.m. (when $59 half-day tickets start working). You can ski until last chair, have a drink, and catch the 5:07 p.m. bus from Eldora back to town in time for dinner.

The raison d'etre for a hot toddy is to warm your stomach on a cold winter night. But sharing steamy handcrafted cocktails with your date in the cellar at the Salt Bistro (1047 Pearl St.; saltboulderbistro.com) is likely to warm her heart, too. You can get a piping hot, lemon-spiked toddy made to order combining any one of six standard liquors and eight natural-flavor infusions, including a bevy of winter-inspired tastes like pumpkin spice, cranberry/clove, and apple/cinnamon. Bottom's up.

Fires are cozy, so is comfort food. George's Food & Drink has both (in the Boulder Theater, 2028 14th St.). This weekend, the best time to hang at the loungy bar is Saturday after 8 p.m.; Second City, the headlining comedy show in the theater next door, won't be noisy enough to drown out your intimate conversation and the bar crowd will definitely thin out at showtime. You'll be able to score a fireside seat, no prob.

Kristy Holland writes about dating once a week for the Colorado Daily. Tell her about your date-night ideas or strategies at boulderdatenight@gmail.com.