Colorado is the top destination for skiing and snowboarding in North America. It has numerous ski resorts ranging from resorts that cater to guests desiring dining, shopping, and nightlife as well as locales where the focus is on skiing. Our detailed review of the five best ski resorts in Colorado will give you information on the types of skiing available at these resorts along with the lodging, facilities, and amenities at the resorts to help you choose the resort that best suits your preferences.
We will also cover the airport choices available. These resorts were chosen from the resorts most recommended by various travel and ski publications and from surveys of skiers. Choosing a resort depends on your skill level, personal preferences, the resort’s location, and the time of year. Resorts that have trails at higher elevations can open earlier and stay open later in the season.
The Denver International Airport (DIA) is 74 miles to 360 miles from the various resorts, which means from one hour to several hours of travel time to the resorts. Rental cars and shuttles are available to get to the resorts. Either four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive vehicles are recommended. Another option is to fly into regional airports such as the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport (ASE) or the Vail Eagle County Regional Airport (EGE) which is 40 minutes from Vail. This can save travel time, especially for peak arrival times on Fridays and peak departure times, such as Sunday evenings. However, travel, even on I-70, can be an issue because of the weather.
1. Vail Mountain Resort
With three terrain parks, the Vail Mountain Resort features 31 lifts with tickets costing between $103 and $149 for a one-day pass. Long groomed runs in the front and seven back bowls with tree skiing, moguls, and steeps provide great skiing for all skill levels. At 5,289 acres, the resort is expansive enough to provide good skiing conditions in some areas regardless of the weather.
While not as high as some other resorts, it receives 341 inches of snow per season. It is located 100 miles from Denver. Vail offers luxury accommodations, upscale shopping, and fine dining. The overall size and the variety of trails, plus the overall ambiance on and off the mountain, places Vail among the best ski resorts. Rooms start at $359 at the 4.5-star, 66-room Tivoli Lodge in Vail Village.
2. Aspen Snowmass
The Aspen Snowmass resort area actually includes four resorts: Aspen Mountain, Snowmass, Buttermilk, and Aspen Highlands. That is why this area is among the best ski resorts. The four resorts together are about the same size as Vail. Host to the Winter X-Games, Buttermilk has a larger amount of beginner and intermediate trails, which balances Aspen Mountain where there are no beginner trails. Buttermilk offers 44 trails and three ski lifts. Lift passes cost $145 for a one-day pass. Aspen Mountain has 76 trails and eight lifts. Prices for lift passes are the same as for Buttermilk.
Aspen Highlands has beginner and intermediate trails but is better known for the advanced and expert trails. It has a total of 118 trails and three lifts. With a base elevation of 8,100 feet and a top elevation of over 12,500 feet, the Snowmass Resort is 3,000 acres, family-oriented, and known for its intermediate trails. It also attracts a lot of celebrities. Like Vail, Aspen Snowmass offers luxury accommodations, upscale shopping, and fine dining. Rooms start at $430 at the four-star, 126-room Limelight Hotel in Aspen.
Telluride, in the San Juan Mountains, is a remote setting and is 331 miles from Denver. You can use the Telluride Regional Airport (TEX) instead of Denver International Airport. It is the most scenic resort with 2,000 acres of great terrain. With an 8,725-foot base elevation and a top elevation of 13,150 feet, it gets 300 inches of snowfall annually. Telluride also has a mixture of beginner, intermediate, and advanced runs with great vertical and hike-to extreme terrain.
There are 127 trails and 18 lifts, and lift passes cost from $86 to $129 for a one-day pass. All of this makes it one of the best ski resorts. If you are staying in Telluride, the gondola to and from Mountain Village is free. You can ski clear down the mountain and into Telluride, but those trails are steep. Rooms start at $289 at the four-star, 32-room Inn at Lost Creek in Mountain Village.
4. Steamboat Ski Resort
Steamboat Ski Resort is 160 miles from Denver. You can use the Yampa Valley Airport (HDN) which is 25 miles away. Steamboat is more casual and ski-centered. With a base elevation of 6,900 feet and a top elevation of 10,568 feet, the 2,965-acre resort receives 334 inches of snow annually. Of its 165 trails, 14 percent are for beginners and 42 percent are blue. It has 18 lifts and six peaks. Lift tickets cost from $90 to $100 for a one-day pass. It’s a favorite for its tree skiing. Rooms start at $238 at the four-star, 328-room Steamboat Grand.
Breckenridge covers the front of several peaks and has trails for all skill levels. Advanced skiers will enjoy tree skiing, high alpine bowls, and moguls. A little hiking adds to the choices for advanced skiers. With a base elevation of 9,600 feet, a top elevation of 12,998 feet, and a chairlift on Peak 8 that is the highest in North America, skiers can find excellent snow at the top of the hill even late in the season. There are eight peaks and 31 lifts. All of this makes it one of the best ski resorts, in addition, Breckenridge has good on-hill dining. Rooms start at $478 at the four-star, 45-room Crystal Peak Lodge.
We hope that our guide helped you decide what skiing and overall resort features are best for you. If you have a chance to test the ski trails and hike through the remote and pristine nature, come back to us and share your experience! And because Colorado is so generous with its one-of-a-kind landscapes and teeming with wildlife, another option for you to choose can be the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek resort, should you decide to prolong your stay.