Colorado is a big magnet for skiers in the United States, drawing thousands to its slopes every year. Daredevils, novices, families, adventure and leisure seekers, make a beeline for the best ski resorts in Colorado during season time. With the wide range of ski resorts in Colorado you’re spoilt for choice. Zeroing in on the best ski resort can be quite a task.
However, narrowing down your choices to what is the best resort is a matter of personal taste. That’s one of the reasons why we haven’t ranked what we think are the best ski resorts in Colorado, instead, listing them alphabetically. One of the best things about the ski resorts in Colorado is that they are all open to both skiers and snowboarders. From the adrenaline pumping chutes of the Arapahoe Basin to the glitz of Aspen and the legendary Back Bowls of Vail, check out all that the best ski resorts in Colorado have to offer.
The Resort: Locally known as A-Basin or the Legend because of its long ski and ride season, Arapahoe Basin Ski Area is great for everyone. Whether you’re a pro at skiing, a pure beginner or just here for some fun, the resort will adequately cater to your needs. With over 1,400 acres of skiable area, nine lifts, a kids center and a European bistro at 12,500 feet, the resort is one of the more popular ski resorts in Colorado for its late-season skiing.
A big attraction here is the relaxed, old-school atmosphere. People come here for the authentic Colorado ski experience and the affordable lift tickets. One big drawback, however, is the lack of accommodation nearby. You’ll have to drive to get to the resort.
The Terrain: Don’t expect to be wowed by a huge vertical rise or a vast expanse of ski area, but you’ll definitely be taken in by the beautiful open runs. A-Basin has a great expanse of expert terrain from cornice-hung chutes to extremely challenging steeps. The highlight of skiing here is the famed East Wall which tops out at 13,000 feet. There isn’t much terrain here for beginners or intermediate skiers but it’s a good place for the family.
The Town: Unlike most ski resorts in Colorado, there is no town at the base. However, it’s a short 10-minute drive to Keystone from here and about 30 minutes to Breckenridge. There are a few older buildings at the base of the mountain where you can find any essentials. A cafeteria, coffee shop and a bar are located at the A-Frame Lodge. However, you can enjoy a bit of fun in front of the nearby car park which is known as the ‘Beach.’ That’s where the party happens with music, barbecues, and beers.
- Relaxed local vibe
- Some of the best steeps for pros
- Has one of the longest skiing seasons
- Plenty of deep fluffy powder
- Will not burn a hole in your pocket
- Limited amenities
- Not much for beginners and intermediate learners
- Lifts are old and slow with just one high-speed lift
Opening and Closing: The season is usually from October to June.
Where to Stay: Since there is no town in the immediate vicinity there are no places to stay in Arapahoe Basin. However, the best option is at Keystone which is a 10-minute drive away. If you don’t mind driving a little further, the town of Frisco with its great selection of hotels is a great option.
11 Best Hotels Near Arapahoe Basin
The Resort: Aspen has always been the skiing destination for the ‘creme de la creme’ of society. Since it opened in 1946, the rich and famous have made a beeline for its slopes, making it one of the most renowned skiing destinations in the world.
The original resort, Aspen Mountain (locally called Ajax) has metamorphosed into four different resorts which are all accessible by the same lift. Snowmass, Buttermilk and Aspen Highlands are the other resorts that offer their own unique experience. Combined, they have 5,527 acres, 362 trails, and 41 lifts, making Aspen Snowmass a skier’s dream destination.
Aspen Highlands is one of Colorado’s best-kept skiing secrets. It’s more popular with locals and those in the know. If you’re looking for some great extreme slopes with limited crowds this is one of the best ski resorts in Colorado.
The Terrain: The Highland Bowl at 12,392 feet offers the ultimate skiing experience with its premier in-bounds terrain. However, the lack of adequate snowfall can dim the experience if you visit too early in the season. Low snowfall tends to expose the rocks on the steeps, taking away a lot from the exhilaration of skiing down the most extreme terrain in Aspen.
The Town: Aspen has probably seen more celebrities on its slopes than any other ski resort in the area. As such, accommodation in the town can definitely burn a hole in your pocket. However, there’s plenty to see and do in the town itself. From art galleries and popular events like the Winter X Games and Winterskol to world-class restaurants, Aspen will have you hooked.
- Choice of four different ski areas for the price of one ticket
- Great amenities and efficient lifts
- Very heavy on the wallet
- Aspen Highlands can be disappointing with less snowfall
- It’s a 20-minute hike to Highland Bowl
Opening and Closing: The season begins in the first week of December and continues till April.
Where to Stay: You can choose to stay in the old town of Aspen or the newer Snowmass Village. You are spoilt for choice with the wide range of options available, from hotels, condos and family rentals.
11 Best Hotels In Aspen
The Resort: Just 10 minutes from Vail you’ll find its little sister, Beaver Creek. Renowned for its luxury and pampering, the resort is one of the best ski resorts in Colorado for beginners and families. Here, you can take a ride on the escalator from the town instead of lugging your gear up several flights of stairs. Trained attendants are also at hand to help tired guests with their gear at the end of the day. Skiers are also treated to freshly baked cookies in the afternoon.
The resort is much less crowded than its bigger sister, but that’s understandable as it doesn’t have as much skiing terrain. It still has 1,800 acres of skiable terrain and the 150 well laid out trails are as good as any. The Birds of Prey downhill course is an integral part of the annual men’s Alpine Ski World Cup tour.
The Terrain: What sets Beaver Creek apart from most ski resorts are the trails that leisurely wind down the mountain instead of flowing straight down. Every night an expert team immaculately grooms the terrain to make it perfect for skiing in the morning. The mountain is much lower than most of the resorts in the area with a summit elevation of 11,440 feet. Although there is a large expanse of advanced and expert terrain, the ski area is below the treeline.
The Town: At the bottom of the ski resort you’ll find the Beaver Creek Village. This quaint little village is perfect for families as it’s pretty easy to explore. Spread roughly 5 blocks by 8 blocks you definitely won’t lose your way here. The town has a good mix of restaurants and establishments and a pedestrian-only area with good outdoor space. A large outdoor skating rink at the center has a weekly American Jukebox Skate Night which is pretty fun to be a part of
- Meticulously groomed corduroy runs
- Escalator from the bus stop straight to the slopes
- Good efficient lift network
- No true high alpine terrain
- Nothing is cheap here
Opening and Closing: Opens at the end of November and closes mid-April.
Where to Stay: You’ll find plenty of top-end accommodation in the Beaver Creek Village with ample ski-in, ski-out lodging too. If you’re looking for something more affordable than Beaver Creek you could check out hotels at Avon which is 10 minutes from the resort via free shuttle.
11 Best Hotels In Beaver Creek
The Resort: Many consider Breckenridge to be one of the best ski resorts in Colorado and the crowds are proof of its popularity. It’s a great place for families and newbies with two of the five peaks packed with learning areas, gentle green runs and various spaces to entice the kids. Bonanza on Peak 9 is a blue run meant for slower skiers. It offers fantastic views of the town below and also has plenty of resting spots.
Breckenridge, however, is not just for beginners and kids. There are challenging alpine bowls, accessible via a lift, no-fall zone chutes and plenty of skiing opportunities for advanced skiers. The resort also has the distinction of having North America’s highest quad chair lift, the Imperial Chairlift that climbs to an elevation of 12,840 feet.
The Terrain: Breckenridge has four-award winning terrain parks and an 18′ halfpipe making it one of the favored spots for skiers and snowboarders. The Freeway Terrain park is where the pros have a blast with four massive jumps, ample rails, and boxes and an 18′ halfpipe. The downside to all this terrain is that it’s quite time-consuming to explore. Long lift lines, lots of catwalks and crowded trails are what you can expect here.
The Town: It’s not just the resort that brings in the crowds but the town too. The former mining town has a good Main Street that offers great après ski opportunities. The bustling downtown area also has a dedicated arts district, walking tours and plenty to keep you busy.
- Boasts of the highest lift in North America
- Lots of things to do off-slope at the bustling historic town
- Great for families and beginners
- Gets too crowded
- Getting from one peak to the next is quite tiresome
Opening and Closing: Opens at the beginning of the second week in November and closes in the third week of May
Where to Stay: One of the reasons why Breckenridge is so crowded is because it has a variety of accommodations to suit all budgets. You can choose from rental condos, hotels, and cabins. Most of these are within walking distance of the gondola which makes staying here extremely convenient.
11 Best Hotels In Breckenridge
The Resort: What is so striking about Copper Mountain is its natural topography which splits into three distinct sections of advanced, intermediate and beginner terrain. Skiing here is a hassle-free experience as the lifts and base areas are laid out conveniently from the village at the base. It’s another popular resort for families because of its layout and proximity to Denver, which is a little over an hour’s drive from here.
The resort’s newest addition, the Tucker Mountain lift, is great for advanced skiers, making it convenient for the experts to access the 273 acres of high-alpine terrain. However, the straightforward layout can get a little monotonous for advanced skiers.
The Terrain: Copper Mountain has a summit elevation of 12,313 feet and a base elevation of 9,712 feet. Most of the black trails can be found on the back and east side of the mountain while the center is full of blues and the west with greens. Accordingly, lifts and base areas are found in the different villages designated for advanced, intermediate and beginners. Since the slopes are spaced out so well, the crowds are also well spread out and not in one place. Snowfall here is much less than the other Summit County resorts but Copper has one of the best snowmaking systems to make up for the lack of snowfall.
The Town: A small village sits at the base of the mountain which is divided into three parts. The East, West and Center Village have chairlifts to the designated ski areas. Center Village is where all the action is and you’ll find a good range of facilities, restaurants, and shops here. However, the nightlife is a bit quiet with just a handful of places open after midnight. Accommodation too is on the pricier side here.
- Great for families and intermediates
- Has an extensive snowmaking system in place to make up for the lack of snow
- Good ski area but no standout runs. It can get a bit monotonous for experts
Opening and Closing: Opens in the first week of December and closes by the second week of April.
Where to Stay: You can choose from a wide range of staying options in the village. Although Copper Mountain is less expensive than Aspen or Vail, it can still be quite heavy on the wallet. For more affordable options, you could try Frisco which is just a 10-minute drive away.
11 Best Hotels In Copper Mountain
Eldora Mountain Ski Resort
The Resort: If you’re wondering why this local ski resort with a vertical of just 1,400 feet made it to our list of best resorts in Colorado, the reason is its diverse microcosm of Colorado skiing. Boasting Colorado’s best snowmaking system, Eldora has 100% groomed terrain and some of the best Nordic skiing on site. It is definitely one of the best local resorts in Colorado. The best part about the resort is that it is easily accessible from the Front Range. It’s less than an hour’s drive from Denver and even closer to Boulder.
The Terrain: The resort has only 680 acres of skiable terrain which is really small compared to the other resorts on our list. However, it does have quite a few kid-and-beginner-friendly runs just a few feet from the parking lot. It also has some excellent expert terrain from the Corona Lift. Here you’ll find black diamond glades with steeps, gullies, and cliffs. The summit elevation is 10,600 feet.
The Town: There’s no town as such here as Eldora is mainly for day skiers. About 10 minutes from the ski hill is the town of Nederland but it’s not really for skiers. It does have some interesting Colorado history though. Most people who come to Eldora choose to stay at Boulder or are just here to avoid the ski traffic to the bigger resorts.
- Easily accessible from Denver or Boulder
- A diverse microcosm for Colorado skiing
- 100% groomed terrain
- Small ski area
- Not big on infrastructure
Opening and Closing: Opens in the first week of November and closes by mid-April.
Where to Stay: The small town of Nederland has some good options for accommodation but does not cater to skiers. Most skiers are either locals from Denver or Boulder or out-of-towners staying at Boulder.
The Resort: Keystone also sits at the top of the best ski resorts in Colorado for families. It strikes the right balance between luxurious Vail and the more affordable Breckenridge, offering a great family ski experience without burning a hole in your pocket. With over 3,000 skiable acres that are spread across three peaks, there’s something for everyone here. Keystone boasts of having ‘Colorado’s longest ski day’ because of its night skiing option.
Beginner runs can be found on the first mountain, Decorum Mountain while the North Peak is a more advanced Terrain. The resort’s highest peak at almost 12,000 feet is located at The Outback. Intermediate and advanced skiers and boarders make a beeline for this area. The more adventurous can try the CAT skiing option, priced at just $10 a ride.
The Terrain: Keystone’s A51 Terrain Park, covering 60 acres, is said to be one of the best in the country. There are over 100 different features spread over the six separate parks that will charm everyone. Being a member of the 3×3 club, Keystone’s 3,087-acre ski area has an astounding 3,128 feet vertical drop. It’s also one of the best terrains for experienced intermediates, although advanced riders may find the trails a little too tame.
The Town: Two villages make up Keystone; River Run the main village at the base of the mountain and Lakeside Village. All the action centers around River Run, where you’ll find a number of dining options and free parking. Lakeside Village is in close proximity to a lake that freezes in winter, transforming it into a huge skating rink. There are plenty of shops and condos around the lake but it’s no boomtown.
- Extensive ski area spread over 3,000 acres
- Rated as one of the country’s top terrain parks
- Has some of the best long groomers in Colorado
- Can get a little too crowded over the weekend
- Not many thrills for advanced skiers
Opening and Closing: Opens in the second week of October and closes in the second week of April.
Where to Stay: A number of hotels and rental properties can be found in the River Run Village but off-site lodging is extremely limited. Better options for accommodation can be found at Frisco or Silverthorne.
11 Best Hotels In And Around Keystone
The Resort: Steamboat Ski Resort with its 2,965 acres of diverse ski terrain, swamps the surrounding landscape. Mount Werner and the ski hill form the perfect backdrop to the cowboy ski town that is home to a large number of Winter Olympic athletes. Steamboat is not for beginners as forty-four percent of the terrain is advanced and forty-two percent is intermediate. The standout point of Steamboat is its snow, referred to as ‘champagne powder’ which is almost devoid of moisture and therefore easy to blow. However, the irony is that snowfall isn’t always that great here, especially if the storms flow from the south.
The Terrain: The elevation of the resort peaks at 10,568 which isn’t all that high by Colorado standards but is a good option for those suffering concerned about high altitudes. Steamboat is renowned for glade skiing and has some of the best tree-runs in Colorado. They’re located in the Morningside Park area of the resort.
The Town: Steamboat Springs is an authentic Colorado mountain town that is steeped in history. It has a big ranching heritage with a number of ranches, barns, horses, and cattle dotting the landscape. However, the town also has a thriving snowsports culture with many events taking place throughout the year. The town is also famous for its geothermal hot springs.
- Top-notch for glade skiing
- Beautiful ‘champagne powder’ snow
- An authentic Western town
- It’s quite out of the way, about a three-hour drive from Denver
- Since it has a lower elevation there are chances of poor snow on the lower half of the mountain
Opening and Closing: Opens in mid-November and closes mid-April.
Where to Stay: There are two accommodation options for skiers, one at the base of the resort and the other in the old town. Since the town is relatively small and has limited staying options, hotel prices are on the higher side.
11 Best Hotels In Steamboat Springs
Telluride Ski Resort
The Resort: It’s quite obvious why Telluride is rated as one of the top ski destinations in the United States. With an incredible ski terrain of over 2,000 acres, 148 trails, and consistently good snowfall, coupled with unmatched scenery, Telluride is a skier’s paradise. There’s something for everyone here with kid’s beginner slopes to the scarier off-piste.
People can use the services of the free gondola to move between the town and the Mountain Village. If you’re staying in the village you can hop onto the gondola and go into Telluride town. It’s also possible to ski all the way down to the town.
The Terrain: Telluride offers even beginners a chance to experience high alpine territory and mountain vistas. The Prospect Express lift reaches over 11,800 feet from where beginners can enjoy a non-stop run to the base area. For the more experienced skiers, the hike to Palmyra Peak at 13,320 feet offers a myriad of extreme chutes. Revelation Bowl at 12,515 feet is also another great spot for powder junkies. There are four zones of hike-to-alpine terrain at Telluride.
The Town: Telluride is no corporate-owned resort town but an authentic town steeped in Wild West history. Surrounded by some of the most stunning scenery in Colorado, this former mining town is a good place to visit even for those disinterested in the slopes.
- Good variety of quality terrain
- Lovely snow
- Breathtaking scenery from the historic western town
- Very heavy on the pocket
- Not easily accessible as it’s located in a remote southwestern corner of Colorado
Opening and Closing: Opens at the end of November and closes in the first week of April
Where to Stay: There are plenty of places to stay in Telluride or in the Mountain Village but one thing to note is that the prices here are pretty steep. The Mountain Village is great for families with young children and is much cheaper than the happening main town.
11 Best Hotels in Telluride, Colorado
Vail Mountain Resort
The Resort: Vail is Colorado’s skiing haven and definitely one of the best ski resorts in Colorado. For one thing, it is the largest of Colorado’s ski resorts with a whopping 5,000 acres of skiable terrain. With such a large expanse of skiing terrain, you can be sure that there’s something for everyone here. You can also look forward to some good conditions in this vast expanse, no matter what the weather.
Vail draws in the crowds because of its top class and varied trails. Besides paying a hefty price for the one-day lift pass, you’ll end up paying for parking too. Although the resort is relatively lower than some of the other resorts in the area, it receives a heavy amount of snow.
The Terrain: There are three distinct areas on this massive resort which are easily navigable and seven bowls that are accessible by lift. The front side of the mountain is well known for its gorgeous groomers. Peppered with green and blue runs, it makes an ideal skiing destination for the family. On the other side of the mountain, you’ll find the steeper bowls and tree-ridden trails. The highest point is at 11,570 feet from where you can drop into the Blue Sky Basin. Vail’s legendary back bowls are a big draw for the experts.
The Town: Located at the base of the mountain just off Interstate 70 you’ll find the town of Vail. It’s a high-end town where nothing comes cheap. That aside, the town is charming with a European vibe to it with plenty of pedestrian-only spaces. It’s spread across three main areas, Golden Peak, Vail Village, and Lionshead. Vail Town Center is the heartbeat of the town with a lot of activity.
- The largest ski resort in Colorado
- Beautiful well-groomed wide runs
- Plenty to keep you occupied off the slopes too
- You’re definitely going to have a few crowds here
- Not light on the wallet
- During a snowstorm, you might just get stranded in or out of town as I-70 closes
Opening and Closing: Open from mid-November to mid-April.
Where to Stay: Accommodations in Vail are expensive and there are no true ski-in/ski-out options except for some high-end private properties. If you’re okay with splurging on your stay, you’ll find quite a few options here. However, if you’re looking for something more affordable the surrounding towns like Frisco and Silverthorne have a wide range of hotels to choose from.
11 Best Hotels In Vail
The Resort: If you’re a powder buff, Wolf Creek is the place for you with its whopping 430 inches of snow per year. Although Wolf Creek is one of the best ski resorts in Colorado for powder skiing, you won’t find big crowds here. The reason is its remote location in southwestern Colorado and lack of a town in the immediate vicinity.
The Terrain: There is a mix of beginner and intermediate runs on the 1,600-acre skiable terrain, but the lion’s share of the skiing is for advanced and expert skiers. Reaching a summit height of 11,900 feet, some of the most challenging inbounds skiing can be found at Knife Ridge. This steep section of bowls, glades, chutes, and gullies is not for everyone.
The Town: Wolf Creek is at the top of a high mountain pass between Pagosa Springs and South Fork so there is no town here. Apart from the lodge at the base where you can get some great food, there’s no accommodation here.
- Plenty of snow with about 430 inches annually
- No crowds
- Great for advanced and expert skiers
- The lack of a town means that there is no accommodation in the immediate vicinity
- Not easily accessible
Opening and Closing: Opens in early November and closes in early April
Where to Stay: The best place to stay is at Pagosa Springs which is about 35 minutes west from here. Alternatively, you can also check out accommodation in South Fork, 25 minutes east.
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