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It’s the time of year when we’re layering on sweaters and blankets, and to celebrate the winter season, the dating reviews website has ranked the coziest small towns in the USA. The new study that compared 170 of the coziest small towns in the U.S. In the nationwide study, Salida came in #103 of the 170 towns in the survey. But in Colorado, not only did Salida make the list, it ranks  in the top nine coziest small towns in Colorado.

Leadville did even better, coming in 12th in the nationwide survey of 170 small towns. Given how nippy the weather can be at that 10, 152 foot elevation, it’s possible their ranking was influenced by how many blankets are needed to keep warm at night.

The study did a comparison of ten key metrics across the following categories: weather, food, and activities. In addition, they looked at data points like winter temperature, average snowfall, cafés, bakeries, crafts, and bookshops, among other indicators of a cozy small town. The U.S. study of the coziest small towns is available here:

Now the English word might be “cozy’ but the Danes call it “hygge,” or the act of taking pleasure and contentment from a cozy environment – a term coined by the Danes. Hygge is a central part of Danish culture, which perhaps explains why the Danes are some of the happiest people in the world. But it’s good to remember that winter in Scandinavia is not just cold, it can be pretty dark.

Map courtesy of

These Colorado towns are considered the cozies: Breckenridge (ranked No. 5 coziest in the nation), Leadville (12th), Silverton (13th), Telluride (17th), Snowmass (26th), Steamboat Springs (63rd), Mancos (83rd), Aspen (86th) and Salida (103).

Here are the nine coziest towns in Colorado: 


The ambiance of this former gold rush town is framed by stunning Colorado mountain vistas. In winter, powder hounds flock to Breckenridge’s ski resorts to shred powder. Once the weather warms up, outdoor pursuits like hiking and biking the Vail Pass Path and Boreas Pass Road become the main things to do. Regardless of the visit, you’ll discover plenty of breweries and distilleries to unwind after a busy day.

  • Rank: #5 out of 170 cities

  • Average Winter Temperature: 24.5 °F, Winter Season: 4.1 months, Snowfall: 300 inches, Days Below Freezing: 252.8


At around 10,152 feet, the country’s highest-elevation incorporated city—a former mining town that during the late 19th century had Colorado’s second largest population behind Denver—boasts all the goods for foodies and beverage snobs (including a brewery) and is a popular training spot for runners.

  • Rank: #12 out of 170 cities

  • Average Winter Temperature: 17.5 °F, Winter Season: 4 months, Snowfall: 142.7 inches, Days Below Freezing: 254.9


When prospectors headed west in search of precious minerals in the mountains, Silverton was established in 1874. As its name implies, silver was plentiful in the San Juan Mountains, where the small town is found. Although the mining camps are long gone, and the last mines closed in the 1990s, 630 people remain in the city, filled with its original architectural combination of saloons and churches—fun fact: Silverton is 9,318 feet above sea level.

  • Rank: #13 out of 170 cities

  • Average Winter Temperature: 16 °F, Winter Season: 3.1 months, Snowfall: 173 inches, Days Below Freezing: 263.1

Leadville is part of the thin-air charms of Lake County. Courtesy photo.


With its pristine snow and quirky mountain town vibe, it’s no secret that Telluride is a cold-weather paradise for downhill skiing and other winter adventures. But the mountain town also shines during the spring and summer, whether you’re looking for bluegrass and film festivals or vibrant wildflower hikes. In addition to outdoor recreation, downtown Telluride is home to art galleries and independently owned shops selling perfect souvenirs, like belts and wallets at Crossbow Leather and your next favorite plane read at Between the Covers Bookstore.

  • Rank: #17 out of 170 cities

  • Average Winter Temperature: 21 °F, Winter Season: 3.5 months, Snowfall: 167.2 inches, Days Below Freezing: 259.7


Skiers and mountain bikers love this tiny town but so do spa and dining enthusiasts, who can be kept busy for days thanks to resorts like the Westin Snowmass Resort and Viceroy Snowmass. In addition, Anderson Ranch Arts Center is an enclave for artists through its artist-in-residence program and hosts workshops, programs, and events.

  • Rank: #26 out of 170 cities

  • Average Winter Temperature: 21.5 °F, Winter Season: 3.5 months, Snowfall: 191.3 inches, Days Below Freezing: 210.3

Steamboat Springs

Situated along the banks of the Yampa River, this northern Colorado town offers excellent skiing conditions, a community of friendly locals, and geothermal hot springs that are perfect after a long day spent on the slopes. Travel to Steamboat in the fall for brilliant foliage in Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests, or visit in the spring to see the cascades at Fish Creek Falls. Meanwhile, the whole family will enjoy rafting down the Yampa River.

  • Rank: #63 out of 170 cities

  • Average Winter Temperature: 17.5 °F, Winter Season: 3.3 months, Snowfall: 184.5 inches, Days Below Freezing: 216


Ranches, artist workshops, and nature coexist perfectly in beautiful Mancos. Stay at a ranch, enjoy outdoor activities at Mesa Verde National Park, or stroll through the town’s Creative District. Fun fact: Mancos has several Ancient Puebloan archaeological sites.

  • Rank: #83 out of 170 cities

  • Average Winter Temperature: 27 °F, Winter Season: 3.1 months, Snowfall: 66.9 inches, Days Below Freezing: 174.2


Aspen’s ski slopes bring in the masses as soon as the snow starts falling, a small town with a giant reputation. However, Aspen’s charm is seasonless, as its location in the Rocky Mountains guarantees year-round trails and hikes. Although the town had an affair with counter-culture back in the day, it now draws in those seeking pampering in the form of sophisticated cuisine and luxe lodging.

  • Pedestrians in Salida stroll south on F Street in front of Sweeties Sandwiches and Deli and their expanded streetside seating, Summer 2020


What do you get when your town is home to FIBArk, the country’s oldest and biggest whitewater festival? A bunch of former river guides are running things. “We’re everywhere,” jokes Mike “Diesel” Post, Salida’s Director of Parks and Recreation, who says the Arkansas River is central to town life.

“You can ski Monarch Mountain, then kayak, and have time left for mountain biking,” adds mayor emeritus P.T. Wood, who is—as locals know —also a former guide.

For those who have more of an artsy soul, Salida is also home to Colorado’s first Creative District. Downtown is filled with artist-owned galleries and charm all seasons of the year.

  • Rank: #103 out of 170 cities

  • Average Winter Temperature: 27.5 °F, Winter Season: 3.2 months, Snowfall: 43 inches, Days Below Freezing: 204.6

 This, folks, is the List of the 20 coziest small towns in the USA:

  1. Stockholm, Wisconsin

  2. Stowe, Vermont

  3. Stanley, Idaho

  4. Ellicottville, New York

  5. Breckenridge, Colorado

  6. Medora, North Dakota

  7. Lake Placid, New York

  8. Keystone, South Dakota

  9. Mackinac Island, Michigan

  10. Lake George, New York

  11. Deadwood, South Dakota

  12. Leadville, Colorado

  13. Silverton, Colorado

  14. Saugatuck, Michigan

  15. Leavenworth, Washington

  16. Kohler, Wisconsin

  17. Telluride, Colorado

  18. Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

  19. Talkeetna, Alaska

  20. Baileys Harbor, Wisconsin

 Winter in Colorado is gorgeous, but there are a few ways to enjoy it even more

1. Follow the Dane’s example; get your hygge on;  a general feeling of coziness, comfort, familiarity, and well-being. Danes embrace hygge all year and appreciate life’s simple pleasures like a scented candle, a good book, and a blanket. Some call that “chalet-ing.” Others just know it’s coming in from the cold we work in.

2. Cook up some comfort food. Warming yourself from the inside out is a great excuse to whip up some winter classics. Soups, casseroles, and curries are hearty favorites for a reason and are sure to be a hit with the whole family.

3. Heat the hub. If you live in a place that’s cold enough to run a heater, think about the areas of the house that need to be kept warm and set the space up to capture the heat. Close the doors to rooms you’re not using and, if you’re able to, install unique purpose-built windows and door seals to stop the hot air escaping.

4. Out with the old. With the weather so uninviting outside, take advantage of the warmth inside and use your extra time indoors to do a spring clean of your wardrobe. Pull out any clothes that don’t fit well or that you haven’t worn in a while.

5. Soak those winter blues away. If all else fails, retreat to the bathroom and run yourself a warm bath. It may not quite get you through to Spring, but it’ll help warm you up!

Featured image: The mural on the wall of the Twitchell Building, on First and F Street is enjoyed by visitors and residents alike. AVV has an office on the building’s second floor. AVV file photo