It’s safe to call Colorado “Ski Country,” what with it being home to as many as 58 mountain peaks that exceed 14,000 feet. That, along with heavy snowfall, epic views, and plenty of bluebird days (sunny, bright), and it’s not surprising that the state is home to some of the country’s best big-mountain runs. While it has no dearth of skiing destinations, we were excited to explore the best ski resorts in Loveland, Colorado. These snowy expanses are the cream of the crop that makes the state one of the most iconic ski destinations in the United States. Not only did we see millions of skiers flocking to the slopes, but we also basked in the sunshine, enjoyed the abundant snowfall, and took in the epic mountain terrain as much as we could.
What we truly loved was the sheer variety of the resorts, all of which boasted tons of annual snowfall, making them coveted winter playgrounds. So, what are you waiting for? Pack your gear and head out to these amazing skiing resorts in and close to Loveland, which are also among the best skiing resorts in Colorado.
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Longest ski season. Arapahoe Basin, famously known as just A-Basin locally, boasts one of the USA’s longest ski seasons, often running from mid-October to mid-June! Of course, as thrilling as skiing nine months of the year is, what’s equally thrilling is that it’s home to some of Colorado’s most challenging, most extreme resort terrain – almost 1,428 acres! A-Basin’s crown jewel is the famed East Wall, which tops out at a towering 13,000 ft (3,962 m), offering expert skiers a massive choice of cornice-hung, jagged-rock-ridden, and narrow chutes.
What makes the skiing area so immensely appealing is the fun, relaxed, and old-school atmosphere that permeates it. On warm spring days, one of the most popular things to do post-skiing is setting up barbecues on picnic tables and watching the rest of the skiers blitzing down the runs. The fewer crowds and the laidback local vibe make A-Basin all the better.
The Terrain. With 65 mi (105 km) of skiing slopes spread among 145 runs, A-Basin has a mix of beginner (39%), intermediate (24%) and difficult (38%) terrain. We did find some steep runs for experts and beautiful open runs as well, with the runs flowing down two sides of a ridge. So, we usually did find good conditions no matter the kind of day. And even though A-Basin can be a windy mountain, usually, any one side is always sheltered on any given day.
The Town. While it’s technically located in Keystone, there’s no town per se at A-Basin, so the fun is limited to the resort itself. Even Keystone Resort isn’t exactly a booming metropolis, but another base town is Breckenridge, which is 20 mi (32 km) south. Moreover, Summit County even has an hourly free shuttle between Keystone and A-Basin resorts.
At a glance
- Known for: Relaxed, fun, and old-school atmosphere with runs for all kinds of skiers.
- Opening: Mid-October
- Closing: Mid-June
- Elevation: 10,780 ft (3,286 m)
- Summit: 13,050 ft (3,978 m)
- Lifts: 9 (1 surface lift, 2 magic carpets, 1 double, 3 fixed-grip quads, 1 high-speed quad, and 1 high-speed six-pack)
- Airport: Denver International Airport – 83 mi (133 km)
- It has a very long skiing season, one of the longest in the country.
- The views are magnificent on bluebird days.
- Not only is the vibe down-to-earth but also the pricing is quite competitive.
- There is no onsite lodging at A-Basin.
Where to Stay: Since Keystone is the nearest base town to A-Basin, we chose to stay at the Tenderfoot Lodge, which is just 10 minutes from the resort. Boasting mountain views, this lovely Mountain House district hotel features modern units with full kitchens, living areas, and even laundry facilities, patios, and free Wi-Fi. What’s great is that the hotel is close to not one but three ski lifts, which are within walking distance of this ski-to-door resort.
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Steamboat Ski Resort
Most unique snow. Centered around Mount Werner, Steamboat Ski Resort in northern Colorado boasts a massive 2,900-acre skiable area! This family-friendly resort offers free skiing for kids aged 12 years and younger with the purchase of more-than-5-day adult lift tickets! In fact, it’s even trademarked the term “Champagne Powder Snow,” referring to the dry, fluffy powder that Steamboat is famed for. But why we loved Steamboat is because there are no designer boots, fur coats, or celebrity sightings – it’s all about skiing for truly down-to-earth mountain lovers.
The former Wild West town-turned-six-peak resort remains one of the few areas left in Colorado that hasn’t been dramatically developed for the worse. Add to that four terrain parks, cat skiing, and night skiing, and you know why we headed here! Finally, when we weren’t on the slopes, we’d be warming up those muscles at one of the many hot springs sitting right in the heart of the town of Steamboat Springs.
The Terrain. With only 14% of the 102 mi (165 km) for beginners, Steamboat is a paradise for intermediate and expert skiers. What’s more, Steamboat’s terrain felt more like “Big Sky Country” Montana or Wyoming than a Colorado ski resort. With the entire resort being below the treeline, there are no steep chutes or wide-open alpine bowls, but we did enjoy superb tree skiing.
The Town. Dubbed “Ski Town USA,” Steamboat Springs is the base town for the ski resort, located less than 10 minutes away. Tracing its roots back to the Old Wild West, the town has an innately Western feel and a historic downtown. What’s more, there’s tons going on in terms of drinking, dining, entertainment, and sightseeing. Don’t miss heading to Hazie’s restaurant for a delicious bite with a bit of history served on the side. It’s no wonder that Steamboat Springs is also one of the best mountain cities in the USA!
At a glance
- Known for: Family-friendly resort with relatively low elevation, making it easier to ski for those people prone to altitude sickness.
- Opening: Late November
- Closing: Mid-April
- Elevation: 6,900 feet (2,103 m)
- Summit: 10,568 feet (3,221 m)
- Lifts: 21 (6 surface lifts, 2 double chairs, 4 triple chairs, 7 high-speed quad chairs, 1 high-speed six-pack, 3 gondolas)
- Airport: Denver International Airport – 173 mi (278 km)
- The resort offers excellent glade skiing amongst well-spaced trees.
- It’s well-recognized for being an extremely family-friendly skiing resort.
- It has a ton of winter activities on offer.
- Lift passes are on the expensive side.
Where to Stay: Pro tip: There are two distinct areas to stay: one is the old town with frequent ski shuttles, and the second is the base of the resort. We chose to stay at the ski-in/ski-out Sheraton Steamboat Resort Villas, which was also luxurious to boot. In fact, the gondola going up the mountain is right next door! The rest of the resort is equally impressive, with mountain-style rooms and suites fitted with every convenience under the sun.
What we loved the most were the private balconies, with sweeping views of the mountain. Aside from this, we relaxed in the year-round hot tubs and the heated outdoor pool with equally mesmerizing views. Four restaurants, a game room, and a spacious fitness center round up the amenities here. It’s no wonder that it’s one of the best hotels in Steamboat Springs.
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Largest ski resort. Spread over three mountains, Keystone Resort, with more than 3,000 acres of skiable area, is perfect for us to hone and extend our riding experience. With every mountain taking us back farther into the wilderness, this place was the place to ski. One of the top favorites here is the South Bowl, which is a mere five-minute walk from the Outback Express lift. It was a great introductory run for those of us who wanted to get our feet wet without having to hoof it up thousands of vertical feet.
Did you know that children under the age of 12 ski free? Yes! That is, provided we booked two or more consecutive nights via the Keystone Resort. The resort even offers CAT skiing. If that wasn’t enough, the skiing resort also claims to have “Colorado’s longest ski day” due to its night skiing schedule! When we weren’t pounding the powder, we hopped on scenic sleigh rides and indulged in snow biking. The best bit? Kids and adults alike will love the daily fresh cookies après-ski.
The Terrain. 135 runs are spread over 84 mi (135 km) divided into 19% beginner, 48% intermediate, and 33% expert terrain. The runs on the first mounting, Decorum, are primarily groomed beginner runs and cruisers, while the second one, North Peak, is slightly more advanced, including steep runs and moguls. Finally, there’s the Outback, which is for intermediate and expert skiers and boarders.
The Town. Keystone might be no “boomtown” base town, but it has tons of lodging rental properties as lodging options and restaurants. Other options are Silverthorne (10 mi, 16 km) and Frisco (13 mi, 21 km), which have more variety of hotels. That said, those looking to ski rather than après-ski will be enough.
At a glance
- Known for: Huge, versatile skiing resort that has something for everyone, especially intermediate and expert skiers and snowboarders.
- Opening: November first week
- Closing: Mid-May
- Elevation: 9,280 feet (2,830 m)
- Summit: 12,408 feet (3,782 m)
- Lifts: 29 (6 surface lifts, 3 double chairlifts, 1 triple chairlift, 1 fixed grip quad, 4 high-speed quads, 2 high-speed six packs, 10 chairlifts, 2 gondolas)
- Airport: Denver International Airport – 93 mi (150 km)
- This is a great all-rounder of a resort with a wide range of runs for snowboarders and skiers.
- The resort is the largest in the region, with something to do for everyone.
- It has diverse terrain, including some of the best night skiing in the US.
- It’s a very busy and crowded resort.
Where to Stay: Located right in the town, the Keystone Lodge and Spa is one of the most convenient options for staying while skiing here. With free transfer services to the ski slopes, this is perhaps one of the best places to stay in the town. We took full advantage of the state-of-the-art spa to unwind after a long day of skiing, as well as the relaxation lounge. If that wasn’t enough, we even had hot tubs and outdoor heated pools to relax and unwind at. Besides amenities like Wi-Fi access and a 24-hour fitness center, the rooms and suites at this resort are comfortable and equipped with all sorts of mod-cons.
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If you’re looking for a smaller, low-key skiing resort, then Eldora Mountain fits the bill perfectly. This local resort, which lies just half an hour from Boulder, is the epitome of a microcosm of Colorado skiing. One of the few Colorado skiing regions on the eastern side of the continental divide, Eldora also has the distinction of featuring some of the best Nordic skiing in Colorado. However, one of the most important aspects of this place is that it’s highly accessible from the Front Range. We found the expert terrain to be particularly excellent, but there are many beginners and even kid-friendly runs just steps from the parking lot. Do note that since it sits along the Divide, the skiing region could be susceptible to some powerful winds.
The Terrain. Although Eldora has just 680 skiable acres, which is small compared to most other resorts on this list, its terrain variety is challenging and well-known. 32 mi (52 km) of skiing routes are divided into blue (21%), red (50%), and black diamond (29%). What’s more, Little Hawk Mountain has beginner-friendly trails, while Challenge Mountain through Indian Peaks is all about advanced and intermediate trails. Finally, the West Ridge Trail and Corona Bowl have difficult runs that vary in slope from 45 to as much as 70%.
The Town. Since the resort caters mostly to day snowboarders and skiers, the town of Eldora is basically non-existent when compared to other skiing towns. The town of Nederland, 10 minutes away, is historical to boot, with very few lodging and eating options. While many would end up staying at Boulder earlier, nowadays, the hotels in Nederland certainly seem more appealing.
At a glance
- Known for: Local, small resort close to Boulder
- Opening: Mid-November
- Closing: Mid-April
- Elevation: 9,360 ft (2,853 m)
- Summit: 10,600 ft (3,231 m)
- Lifts: 7 (2 surface lifts, 3 double lifts, 1 triple lift, 2 quad lifts, 1 detachable six-lift)
- Airport: Denver International Airport – 60 mi (96 km)
- It’s very close to Boulder, as opposed to the other resorts.
- The terrain is pleasantly surprising and varied.
- Its Nordic skiing is one of the best in Colorado.
- It’s very small, and the infrastructure isn’t as good as the other resorts.
Where to Stay: We stayed at one of the only hotels in Nederland, the Boulder Creek Lodge, and we were pleasantly surprised! This mountain lodge of a hotel featured modern rooms with cable TV, Wi-Fi, and even a kitchenette with basic cooking amenities. Even then, they served a hearty continental breakfast daily, which was complimentary, by the way. With free parking and laundry facilities available, we really don’t know what else we could possibly want on a skiing holiday.
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Winter Park Resort
Best family resort. Winter Park Resort is quintessential Colorado – a skier’s ski resort to the ‘T.’ Imagine dramatic peaks with deep snow, trees, chutes, bowls, and a towering summit. And, of course, the resort is most famous for the car-sized moguls, with Mary Jane being the star of the show. It offers some of the best intermediate and advanced terrains in all of Colorado. We even stopped by Parsenn Bowl, soaking in the stupendous 360-degree views of the mountains.
However, what we – and others – love about Winter Park the most is that it’s a great skiing resort for families, checking all the right boxes for us parents. Not only was the resort easy to get to, but it also boasts reasonable passes and tickets, an excellent skiing school, and even some terrific boarding. All in all, it was big enough to keep the expert skiers interested, but it was manageable for us families with kids, too.
The Terrain. The elevation at Winter Park is a challenge, as the 9,000 ft base (2,743 m) is a bit of a wake-up call for those coming from the coasts or even resorts like Beaver Creek, Vail, and even Steamboat. With 89 mi (143 km) of skiing routes across 167 runs, more than 55% is the “most difficult”-rated black diamond terrain. Despite that, there’s a nice selection of family-friendly trails, and even the groomers here are the real deal.
The Town. The sleepy Winter Park might not have the touristy feel of other skiing towns, but we loved it that way. It’s a smattering of ski homes, condos, hotels, and restaurants spread across two roads. Even the neighboring Fraser is tiny, which allowed us to focus on one thing and one thing only – skiing.
At a glance
- Known for: Dedicated black diamond runs for expert skiers.
- Opening: November first week
- Closing: Mid-end of May
- Elevation: 9,000 feet (2,743 m)
- Summit: 12,060 feet (3,676 m)
- Lifts: 23 (1 rope tow, 3 surface lifts, 9 fixed-grip chairs, 9 high-speed chairs, 1 gondola lift)
- Airport: Denver International Airport – 85 mi (137 km)
- It’s not as crowded as other Colorado skiing resorts.
- It offers the best mogul skiing in the state.
- It has a skiable terrain of more than 3,000 acres!
- The town doesn’t have a lot to do après-ski.
Where to Stay: Staying at Winter Park doesn’t get any better than at Zephyr Mountain Lodge, a slopeside hotel that lies a stone’s throw from the lifts! We loved the spacious suites with fully equipped kitchens and the sublime views of the slopes and the mountains. The large living area with the stone gas fireplace was where we’d unwind when we retired to the comfort of our digs. After a day out on the slopes, relaxing in the outdoor hot tub was one of the best ways to unwind.
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Loveland Ski Area
Ah, Loveland, where skiing is as it was intended to be, with free parking and slow lifts. As one of Colorado’s last independently-owned skiing areas, the Loveland Ski Area doesn’t have a base town-like area or any highfalutin’ amenities – but that’s what’s so great about it. The skiing region has flown under the national radar for ages, tucked within the Arapahoe National Forest. In fact, it’s very popular with the locals because it’s one of the ski areas closest to the Front Range Corridor and Denver. Combining two separate areas, Loveland Valley and Loveland Basin, they’re now connected by a bus, earlier being served by a double chairlift.
Loveland is usually one of the first Colorado skiing areas to open due to its lofty elevation. However, most importantly, it doesn’t have any onsite lodging, thus resulting in less expensive lift tickets and shorter lift lines, especially midweek. Did you know that Loveland has free snowcat skiing all season long? It ran along the Continental Divide and offered us panoramic 360-degree views of the northern side of The Ridge.
The Terrain. With 1800 acres of skiable area, 57 mi (93 km) of skiing routes, and 94 runs, Loveland is not small in any way. What’s more, the runs are divided into 13% easy runs, 41% intermediate ones, and 46% difficult runs.
The Town. Loveland might not have a base town, but we loved the communal vibe of the base lodge, complete with cafeteria-style tables. That said, Silver Plume is the town closest to Loveland, around 10 mi (16 km) away, but Georgetown, which is a further 5 minutes away, has more choices for hotels, lodges, and condo rentals.
At a glance
- Known for: Uncrowded, affordable skiing region with no extraneous frills.
- Opening: First week of November
- Closing: First week of May
- Elevation: 10,800 ft (3,292 m)
- Summit: 13,010 ft (3,965 m)
- Lifts: 10 (2 surface lifts, 2 double chairs, 4 triple chairs, 3 quad chairs)
- Airport: Denver International Airport – 75 mi (121 km)
- The parking is free, which is something we just can’t take for granted anymore.
- It’s usually one of the first ski resorts to open in the US, enjoying a long season.
- The ski resort scores a lot of snow.
- The lifts are slow.
Where to Stay: Since there are no ski-in/ski-out options available at Loveland, we decided to take the opportunity to explore the historic side of Colorado and stay at the Historic Windsor Hotel. This former miners’ hotel sits in a circa 1884 clapboard building with sweeping views of the Rocky Mountains. We loved this cozy guesthouse for its warm, individually designed rooms that featured antique wrought iron and carved wood furnishings, including four-poster beds. The bathrooms might be shared, but the hosts serve a mean breakfast. And, of course, Wi-Fi is available.
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While we loved all the ski resorts close to Loveland, CO, here’s a specialized list to help you choose which place to head to first!
- Longest ski season: Arapahoe Basin
- Most unique snow: Steamboat Ski Resort
- Largest ski resort: Keystone Resort
- Best family resort: Winter Park Resort
What is the best time to go skiing in Colorado?
Largely, the months of January and February are the best times to ski in Colorado, including Loveland. This is when the regions are the best in terms of snowfall.
Why is Colorado so good for skiing?
Colorado usually enjoys a longer skiing season, with resorts like Loveland and A-Basin having opened as early as October in the past!
How many ski trails does the ski resort in Loveland, Colorado, have?
Loveland’s 93 runs offer everything from big open bowls off the Ridge to trees and even groomers.