When Colorado went legal in 2012, it sent a shiver up the Utah ski industry's spine. Would Park City, Alta, Snowbird and The Canyons lose customers to cannabis-friendly Colorado resorts? The answer: Yes. Yes they would.
The Colorado Tourism Office recently cited legal cannabis as a growing motivator for trips to the state. Half of all people who considered Colorado as a destination say legality influenced their decision
. In mountain towns, tourists account for 90 percent of cannabis sales
. Ninety percent! And yet surveys report
that only 8 percent of Colorado tourists stop into a legal cannabis store during their visit. Either some people are lying to the survey, or that 8 percent is purchasing a bucketload of product.
As you arrive in Denver for the three-day MLK weekend, we’ve done a little groundwork for you. Here are a few of the best retail shops on your way from DIA to the I-70 corridor, and out in the resort towns.
8 a.m. – 8 p.m. daily
Igadi’s founder, Kemsley Wilton, took over a former lumber company building
a couple years ago and renovated it into one of the state’s most impressive dispensaries. Calling it just a dispensary does it an injustice; imagine a massive brewpub devoted to cannabis. Picture windows allow visitors a look at the clone room, the veg room, the flower room and the kitchen, where the chefs prepare infused chocolate chip cookies, pastries and gummies. “Our goal is complete transparency,” says marketing manager Logan Robinson. “We want customers to see the whole process, take pictures, understand the products they’re considering and tell their friends how much fun they had here.”
How do I find it? Winter Park doesn’t allow dispensaries, so drive 9 miles north on I-40 to the tiny village of Tabernash. It’s on the highway; you can’t miss it.
What’s up with the name? Wilton’s family is from South Africa, and Igadi is an African word that means “we grow a garden.”
Ask your budtender about: Two proprietary strains, The Cotton and Grape Stomper
Apres ski? If you’re feeling the effects of that black diamond yard sale, consider Igadi’s Canna-caps with a CBD
-focused formula. “They’re really popular with older folks who want the pain relief without the THC,” says Robinson.
2730 Downhill Plaza #106
10 a.m. – 6:45 p.m. daily
Rocky Mountain Remedies is so Steamboat. “Our original growers were all Steamboat locals, and we really do a lot to stay connected to and contribute to the community,” says co-owner Kevin Fisher. “We service an important local population here, not just tourists.” Their growers and budtenders are skiers, bikers, hikers and kayakers, as well as cannabis experts. Not that tourists aren’t welcomed. RMR offers a local shuttle that runs to all the hotels and condos. “If you need to get to the dispensary, give us a call,” Fisher says. “We’ll have you here in a couple minutes.”
How do I find it? North end of town, near the airport. Turn left on Downhill Drive just before you reach Bob Adams Field.
Ask your budtender about: Rocky Mountain’s strong line of concentrates and vaporizer products.
Apres ski? “We tell most visitors: ‘You’re not gonna need as much as you think you need,’” says Fisher. “Everybody in your party doesn’t need to buy a quarter-ounce. You’ll be here a few days.” For the experienced: Their own AK-47 Steamboat Shatter
, or Grape God Steamboat Shatter.
How much do these people love Steamboat? A lot. “More winter Olympians come from Steamboat than any other town in America,” says Fisher. “People always talk about how nice the people are here. And it’s a pretty darn sweet place to live.”
520 East Cooper Ave
10 a.m. – 8 p.m. daily
A stop at Silverpeak has become de rigueur on the Aspen circuit, and if you don’t know what de rigueur means, you’re probably not on the Aspen circuit. Listen: They deliver locally grown cannabis here on a silver platter. That’s not a metaphor. Your order arrives on a dish of precious metal. Leafly reviewer SamSky put it best
: “Like a Prada store for cannabis.” Don’t come here looking for a cheap gram. Come here looking for an upscale experience. You don’t have to dress up, but you may feel more comfortable if you do.
How do I find it? Downtown Aspen, on Cooper Avenue near the Aspen Art Museum, across the street from the Ralph Lauren store.
Can I get a selfie? Highly discouraged. Silverpeak customers include the mighty, the famous, and the mighty famous, so keep that iPhone in your pocket.
Where can I find a cheap gram? You’re in the wrong town, my friend.
124 E 13th St
10 a.m. – 7 p.m. daily
If you’re skiing Silverton Mountain, I can assume a few things about your experience, skill level and financial commitment. Especially at $179 per heli drop
. I’ll also assume you’re looking for a little relaxation after your day on the hill. Consider some apres ski time with Colorado’s popular Golden Goat
strain from the Green Works, or maybe some Dixie Elixirs Dew Drops or a few bites of an EdiPure Orange Creme.
How do I find it? E 13th off Greene, around the corner from the Rocky Mountain Funnel Cake Factory, which, if you’re hungry, I’m just sayin’…
How does a town like Silverton even exist? I know. The town is like a damn movie set. But real. If you’re skiing here, know that I envy you.
41290 Highway 6
8 a.m. – 7 p.m. daily
Vail proper is famously a no-go zone for cannabis stores. Because Vail feels it wouldn’t be proper. That sparked a retail boom in tiny Avon, just down the highway, which is where you’ll find one of Native Roots’ top stores and the most popular dispensary “in” Vail.
How do I find it? Join the parade of vehicles turning left onto I-70 from Vail, take Exit 171 to Highway 6, keep driving west, Native Roots will be on your left.
What’s the deal with Vail? Just trying to stay classy, I suppose. Unlike, say, Aspen.