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'I Can't Believe That's Actually A Law' - Colorado 2016 Edition

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Every state has them - weird laws that make you pause for a second and ask yourself "Is that real?" Colorado is no exception, as we have our fair share of strange laws, rules and regulations on the books. While many websites attempt to list these strange Colorado laws, few of them actually look up the laws to see if they truly exist or if they are just urban legends.

We decided that wasn't good enough. We researched this topic and found some of our favorite strange laws. Below you will find a summary of these laws and the citations that show they are real.

After reading our selection of strange Colorado laws, be sure to share this article with anyone you think will enjoy it or anyone who lives in the cities we mention and may actually be affected by these weird laws!


UPDATE: Colorado now has yet another strange law on the books, as a recent Colorado Supreme Court decision sets the rule for whether you can sue for injuries after an avalanche. You're reading that correctly - the highest court in Colorado actually had to issue a ruling about avalanches.


'Hey! Stop Using That Snowball Catapult!'

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In Aspen, they are very particular about what you can and cannot throw, as well as what devices can be used to throw things. Specifically, there is a law that makes it illegal to use a catapult to throw a snowball at any vehicle, building, person or public or private property.

To be fair to Aspen, the law also prohibits the throwing of stones and "other missiles" and the use of bows, blowguns, slingshots, guns and other devices. It's just humorous that today we still need a law that expressly outlaws the use of catapults within city limits!

Source: City of Aspen Municipal Code, Title 15, Section 15.04.210


'Are You Skiing Or Driving A Car?'

Vail and Breckenridge take skiing very seriously, and they both have a significant number of city ordinances that deal with skiing. These laws cover some things you would normally think of (unlawful to ski on a closed trail, unlawful to use a counterfeit lift ticket, etc.), but other laws almost make skiing sound like driving a car.

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Drinking And Skiing Is Forbidden

For example, we know there are laws against drinking and driving. But did you know that in Vail and Breckenridge, there are also laws against drinking and skiing? In Breckenridge (Vail uses similar language), it is a misdemeanor for anyone to "move uphill on any passenger tramway or use any ski slope or trail while such person's ability to do so is impaired by the consumption of alcohol or by the use of controlled substances."

Hit-And-Runs On The Slopes

Both Vail and Breckenridge also treat skiing accidents a bit like car crashes, introducing the concept of a hit-and-run skiing accident.

In both cities, if you collide with another person while you're skiing and an injury results from the collision, you cannot just leave. You are required to share your name and address with "an employee of the ski area operator or a member of the ski patrol." Sounds a lot like providing your information to the other driver and the police following a car crash, doesn't it?

Source: Breckenridge Town Code, Title 6, Chapter 3, Article H, Section 6-3H-9

Source: Vail Town Code, Title 5, Chapter 5, Section 5-5-3


Parading Your Stock Animals Around In Sterling

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If you're thinking about riding or driving (moving from one place to another) cattle in Sterling, Colorado, be sure that you keep them clear of the sidewalk. Sterling's municipal code makes it "unlawful to ride or drive any stock animal upon any constructed sidewalk in the city." However, it does include one notable exception to this rule, noting that the prohibition stands, "except where necessary during an authorized parade." In summary:

  • Stock animals on the sidewalk in Sterling on most days = illegal
  • Stock animals on the sidewalk in Sterling during a parade = just fine

Source: Sterling Municipal Code, Chapter 4, Article I, Section 4-12


No Loitering For Drinks

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In Denver, the city appears to be opposed to getting free drinks in a bar. More precisely, it is opposed to anyone who chooses to "frequent or loiter in any tavern, cabaret, nightclub or other establishment where intoxicants are sold for the purpose of ... soliciting another person to purchase drinks."

In instances where the city enforces this law, it can impose a fine of up to $999. If your plan for an evening out involves getting someone at the bar to buy you drinks to save money, you may need to rethink your strategy.

Source: Denver Code of Ordinances, Chapter 6, Article I, Section 6-1


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