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15 Best Ski Resorts in Colorado

Colorado has so much to offer residents and visitors at any time of the year. It’s one of the nation’s most beautiful, happening, and inviting states.

However, whenever someone mentions the Rocky Mountain state, most people’s minds immediately jump to skiing and snowboarding, even if they aren’t skiers or snowboarders themselves. It is, without a doubt, what Colorado is best known for around the nation and the world.

Skiing and snowboarding in Colorado are epic. There are 34 ski resorts in Colorado and over 1,500 miles of downhill ski trails served by 332 lifts statewide. Due to the quality, diversity, and perfection of these many mountains, Colorado was host to the 1976 Winter Olympics, and it has been the setting of 23 of the 28 Winter X Games, too.

Colorado is a playground for anyone who enjoys the adrenaline and relaxation that skiing and snowboarding have to offer, and it’s the perfect place to go to experience top-notch, world-class mountains, no matter what your skill level may be.

Below, we’ve chosen the best Colorado ski resorts we’d love to share with you. And as you might imagine, some are better than others. But no matter what you seek, you’ll find your perfect resort on this list.

So, read on to learn more about the best Colorado ski resorts. Then, you can start planning your Colorado ski and snowboard adventure today. Get ready to get out on the mountains of Colorado – you’ll have the time of your life.

The Best Ski Resorts in Colorado

1. Breckenridge Ski Resort

Skiers at Breckenridge Colorado in winter with the Rocky Mountains
Mia & Steve Mestdagh / Flickr

Address: 1599 Ski Hill Road, Breckenridge, CO 80424

Ski Pass: Epic Pass

Breckenridge Ski Resort is one of the most popular ski resorts in the state and the nation. There are many reasons that it scores high on the “My Favorite Mountains” lists of many: it’s not as far from Denver as many of its competitors, it offers five peaks and 187 trails, and it’s really beautiful.

Further, the town of Breckenridge is historic and charming, has great restaurants and nightlife, and offers a wide variety of accommodation options at all price points.

Breck is a great option for skiers and snowboarders of all levels; there are beginner, intermediate, and expert runs on all five peaks. If you’re just starting out or if you want a refresher or some pointers, the lessons and professional guided programs offered at Breckenridge Ski Resort are top-notch.

However, because of all of the above positive attributes, Breckenridge Ski Resort can also be quite crowded, and it’s like that pretty much all season. People come from all over to ski at Breckenridge.

You’ll have to be patient while you wait for the lifts, especially on the weekends, but the general vibe at this resort is friendly and laid back so you’re likely to make some friends while you wait. Due to its popularity, Breckenridge is one of the more expensive mountains in Colorado, but fortunately for Epic Pass holders, it’s included in their membership.

Additional downsides of Breck have to do with weather and lighting. Since this mountain faces east-northeast, it can get quite windy, which sometimes causes the lifts to go on wind hold, and the sun disappears behind the nearby peaks by around 3:00. With this in mind, it’s wise to hit the slopes in Breck as early in the day as you can.

At the end of a long day of fun, be sure to head into town. Breckenridge was founded in 1859 as a mining town and thanks to historic preservation, many buildings from the late 1800s still stand. You’ll love walking around Breckenridge and exploring the many lively bars and eclectic restaurants.

There’s something for every type of traveler and every taste. Many visitors choose to stay in town, but there are also lots of great accommodations on the mountain itself, including many ski-in ski-out options.

Everybody loves Breckenridge, and you will, too. It’s one of those mountain resorts in Colorado that has a little bit of everything that ski and snowboard travelers seek.

See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Fort Collins, Colorado

2. Winter Park Resort

View of base of chairlift with ski resort staff, and skiers
LanaG /

Address: 85 Parsenn Road, Winter Park, CO 80482

Ski Pass: IKON Pass

Winter Park Resort is one of the closest and most accessible ski resorts from Denver (about 90 minutes away) but it does not always get the attention that it deserves. People who love Winter Park really love Winter Park, but many others seem to ignore it entirely.

At Winter Park, you’ll find a lot of Coloradans, but likely fewer travelers from other parts of the state and the world. But, that might be what you’re seeking.

Winter Park Resort opened in 1939 and was owned by the City and County of Denver until 2002. Its base elevation is 9,000′ and with a top elevation of 12,060′, Winter Park offers over 3,000 vertical feet to skiers and snowboarders on its 167 trails. The resort is three interconnected mountain peaks: Winter Park, Mary Jane, and Vasquez Ridge.

This is a great resort for advanced and expert skiers and snowboarders; 19% of its trails are rated advanced, 52% are rated most difficult, and 3% are expert. If you’re a beginner, you might want to start somewhere else, as only 8% of Winter Park’s trails are for beginners and just 18% are rated intermediate. Also, this resort offers a lot of opportunities for tree skiing and moguls, both of which are big draws for many experienced skiers.

Getting to Winter Park is part of the adventure. The drive up Berthoud Pass is rather intense and is full of steep switchbacks, but it’s also spectacularly scenic. You and your companions will be amazed when you clear the tree line and can still see many taller peaks all around you.

Alternatively, you can take the Winter Park Express train from Denver’s Union Station directly to the resort. If you take the train, you won’t need a rental car or even a cab or Uber if you fly into Denver International Airport. You can ride the train from the airport all the way to the mountain with just one switch, and you’ll disembark 100-yards from one of Winter Park Resort’s 23 lifts.

You won’t miss much by not staying in the town of Winter Park. The focus at Winter Park Resort is on the mountain itself, so you should stay as close to the mountain as you can. The town of Winter Park has some decent restaurants, but there’s not much nightlife or action in the evenings there.

See Related: Best Restaurants in Breckenridge, Colorado

3. Aspen Snowmass Ski Resort

Panoramic view of Snowmass Village, with skiers skiing at the Aspen Snowmass ski resort
David A Litman / Shutterstock

Address: 120 Lower, Carriage Way, Snowmass Village, CO 81615

Ski Pass: IKON Pass

Aspen Snowmass immediately comes to mind when it comes to ski resorts in Colorado. And, it’s a resort that every skier should ski at least once in his or her lifetime.

This resort is four ski areas on four separate mountains that are all owned and operated by the Aspen Skiing Company. The four mountains are Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk, and Snowmass. All four can be accessed with an Aspen Snowmass lift ticket, and Aspen is included in the IKON Pass as well.

Keep in mind that these mountains are completely separate from one another and each has its own set of strengths. For example, Buttermilk, home of the terrain park that hosts the Winter X Games, is great for beginners, but Aspen Highlands is where the experts want to go.

Aspen Mountain is close to town and has a bit of a party vibe. Snowmass is large and diverse, is family-oriented, and has lots of ski-in ski-out lodging opportunities.

Overall, Aspen Snowmass offers 362 trails that are served by 41 lifts on 5,527 acres. Together, these four mountains offer a wide variety of terrain options for all types of skiers and snowboarders, and it’s all a lot of fun and is very high quality. This area receives over 300″ of snow per year, and the quality of the powder is usually excellent. The weather at Aspen Snowmass is almost always quite good, too.

While Aspen Snowmass is one of the most expensive ski mountains in Colorado, you’ll get what you pay for here. This mountain is well-groomed and the facilities are excellent. Aspen Ski School is one of the best ski schools in the country, so whether you’re learning or are trying to improve, you’ll want to book one or more lessons during your stay.

The town of Aspen and Snowmass Village are both enjoyable places to visit on their own. Both are full of high-end, high-quality upscale restaurants and shopping and offer plenty of activities like snowshoeing, snowmobiling, ice skating, spa visits, and hot springs for the time you’re not on the slopes.

Since this resort is several hours from Denver, visitors might consider flying into the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport instead. If you do that, you won’t need a rental car. There’s a free local shuttle to help you get around in town. Although Aspen Snowmass is popular with the rich and famous, you’ll find accommodations within a wide range of price points here.

See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Denver, Colorado

4. Keystone Resort

Keystone Ski Resort in Keystone, Colorado
Des Runyan / Flickr

Address: 100 Dercum Square, Keystone, CO 80435

Ski Pass: Epic Pass

Keystone Resort has a very interesting history. In the 1940s, Max Dercum moved to Colorado with his wife to work for the U.S. Forest Service. They bought property near the village of Keystone and a dream was born.

Max knew his property would be perfect for a ski mountain, so he hiked every inch of it and drew up plans. He discussed his dream with an investor named Bill Bergman at a New Year’s Eve party at the dawn of 1969, and over the next two years, they made it happen. Keystone opened on November 21, 1970.

Today, Keystone Resort consists of three mountains: Dercum Mountain, North Peak, and the Outback, all of which are connected by a series of lifts and gondolas. There are 135 total runs – 19% beginner, 32% intermediate, and 49% advanced – that are served by 18 lifts on 3,148 acres.

Skiers and snowboarders can enjoy over 3,000 feet of vertical drop from a top elevation of 12,408 feet. Dercum Mountain is easy and family-friendly, while North Peak and the Outback offer more challenging runs.

Like most Colorado mountains and especially those within two hours of Denver like this one, Keystone is rather expensive and it can get rather crowded. It’s part of the Epic Pass family so you can save money by picking up one of those.

One of the biggest draws of Keystone is its night skiing. It’s the largest mountain in the state that offers it, and it continues until 8 p.m. nightly.

Keystone Resort is popular with families and it has a designated children’s area called Kidtopia if your little ones want to hang with others their own age or are just starting out. This resort is also home to a fantastic terrain park that thrill-riders will adore. Furthermore, Keystone is a short drive from Breckenridge, which is also included on the Epic Pass, so it’s easy to combine a trip to both resorts into one adventure without switching up your accommodations.

Speaking of accommodations, there’s not much of a town in Keystone itself, so most people choose to stay in one of the mountain lodges at the base of the mountain. Others might stay in Silverthorne or Dillon, slightly larger towns minutes away, or might decide to drive 30 minutes to stay in Breckenridge for more accommodations, restaurants, and nightlife options.

5. Copper Mountain

Copper Mountain Aerial View
RodClementPhotography / Shutterstock

Address: 209 Ten Mile Cir, Frisco, CO 80443

Ski Pass: IKON Pass

Copper Mountain is another of the ski resorts in Colorado that isn’t talked about much, but it’s a great mountain for beginner and intermediate skiers and snowboarders and it’s very family-friendly, too. It’s very diverse with a wide range of trails and it’s less than two hours from Denver. It helps that it’s immediately off I-70, too. Getting to Copper Mountain with a rental car is easy even if you’re not used to driving in the mountains.

Visitors are often amazed to learn that Copper Mountain has 150 trails served by 25 lifts on just 2,490 acres. It’s about half the acreage of other nearby ski resorts, yet it has just as many runs. One interesting feature of this resort is that the mountain is almost divided into sections for different ability levels in the way it’s laid out.

The easy slopes are on the western side of the mountain, the advanced trails are on the eastern side, and the intermediate slopes are in the middle. This can be frustrating for groups with varying levels of ability who want to ski together, but it can be great for people who wish to focus on one difficulty level only.

There are lots of kid-friendly activities and excellent lessons at Copper Mountain which makes it an excellent choice for a family vacation. You’ll also likely find that it’s less crowded than many of the other resorts on this list.

Although there isn’t a town right outside the resort, the resort village is lovely and easy to navigate and you can explore it on foot or via the free shuttle. However, if you’re looking for a party scene, look elsewhere – Copper Mountain is quiet in the evenings.

Copper Mountain has quite a few ski-in ski-out lodging options if that’s your thing, plus plenty of hotel rooms and condos in the village. Visitors seeking accommodations with more action and amenities might choose to stay in Frisco or Breckenridge to the east or in the historic mining town of Leadville to the south.

See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Colorado Springs

6. Arapahoe Basin Ski Area

Visitors Skiing at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area
Arina P Habich /

Address: 28194 US-6, Dillon, CO 80435

Ski Pass: IKON Pass

No one calls this mountain resort by its full name. Arapahoe Basin Ski Area is much better known as A-Basin or A-Bay even by people who’ve never been there. This mountain is famous for two main reasons: it’s one of the closest ski mountains to Denver at just 63 miles away, and it’s the mountain with the longest season in Colorado by far.

Thanks to snowmaking technology and a very high elevation, Arapahoe Basin opens by mid-October and stays open until at least June, and sometimes even into July. Almost all of the other ski resorts in Colorado and the nation close by the end of April each year.

In general, Arapahoe Basin Ski Area has an equal number of pros and cons. On the positive side of things, it’s an affordable mountain that often isn’t all that crowded. It has 145 trails and nine lifts.

This mountain has a lot of technical terrain for advanced and expert skiers and riders. In fact, 73% of its trails are black diamond or double black diamond level.

The highest elevation at A-Basin is 13,050 feet and the base elevation is 10,780 feet, making this one of the highest ski resorts in North America. Also, this resort gets 350 inches of snow each year!

On the flip side, Arapahoe Basin is not really a beginner-friendly mountain. It’s not really a family-friendly mountain, either. Not only is A-Basin primarily for skilled skiers and riders, but it’s also kind of known for partiers and pushy daredevils who aren’t always super polite.

Further, the lifts are slow, and it can be very windy, which can make the snow a bit crusty at higher elevations. And, the amenities at Arapahoe Basin are pretty bare bones.

There are lodges and even some bars, but there’s nowhere to stay on the mountain. The closest accommodations for A-Basin are at Keystone, six miles away, or in Dillon or Silverthorne a little further down the road.

Still, Arapahoe Basin Ski Area is perfect for the people who love it, and it’s quite popular with Colorado locals.

7. Vail Ski Resort

Skiing at Vail Ski Resort
Steve Boice / Shutterstock

Address: Blue Jay Way, Vail, CO 81657

Ski Pass: Epic Pass

Vail Ski Resort is legendary. It’s the third-largest single mountain ski resort in the United States (after Big Sky in Montana and Park City in Utah) and it’s the fourth-largest area of skiable terrain in North America after Whistler Blackcomb in Canada, Park City, and Big Sky.

People come from all over the world to ski at Vail, and most who ski it once return again and again for more. Not only is it one of the best Colorado ski resorts, but it’s one of the best ski resorts anywhere, by anyone’s standards.

Vail has three sections: the Front Side, Blue Sky Basin, and the Back Bowls. There are all types of trails in all three sections. The resort has 31 lifts and 195 total trails in all, and they offer a fair percentage of beginner, intermediate, and advanced terrain.

All told, there are 3,450 vertical feet available for skiing and riding at Vail Ski Resort from the 11,570-foot top elevation to the base elevation of 8,120 feet. The resort gets an average of 350″ of snow per year, which is wonderful.

Like Copper Mountain, Vail is just off I-70, making it very easy to access from Denver, which is 100 miles to the east. It’s interesting to note that this town and resort did not exist before I-70 cut across the state. Unlike most other ski towns on this list, Vail was built in direct response to the large numbers of ski tourists that began to flood into the state when the mountain interstate was completed.

That means the main villages of Vail Village and Lionshead are comparatively new. That may be something you seek, but don’t expect to find much historic charm here.

Instead, you’ll find fancy restaurants, planned development, upscale shopping, and lots of hotels and condominiums with lots of Bavarian decor and accents, all built in the last 60 years. There are lots of things to do for all ages and interests in town if you take a day off from the slopes; Vail is one of the most happening and active ski towns there is.

Sure, Vail can be expensive and yes, it gets crowded. Some expert and even intermediate skiers and riders may argue that other mountains have more to offer them.

But, if you’re looking to ski or ride an epic, beautiful, special, and famous mountain that you’ll always remember, you have to hit Vail. It’s amazing in a lot of ways, and you’ll be glad you gave it a try.

See Related: What You Need To Know About Flying With Skis Or A Snowboard

8. Telluride Ski Resort

Crowd in Telluride Ski Resort
photo-denver /

Address: 565 Mountain Village Boulevard, Telluride, CO 81435

Ski Pass: Epic Pass

If you’re looking for a Colorado ski resort and ski town that has everything, then you’ll love Telluride Ski Resort. In fact, the only negative thing we can even say about Telluride is that it’s a bit out of the way and that it’s therefore hard to get to without a hassle.

However, that con is also a pro because it keeps the crowds away to some extent, although Telluride isn’t the secret today that it was even a decade ago. Well that, and the fact it’s rather expensive.

Telluride Ski Resort is full of positive attributes, though. First, Telluride has won countless awards for being one of the best resorts in the nation and the world over some pretty steep competition (no pun intended). It offers 2,000 acres of skiable terrain, 127 runs, and 18 lifts.

There are three terrain parks onsite. The mountain’s top elevation is 13,150 feet, and its vertical feet served by lifts is 3,845, but that number increases to 4,425 feet if you count the hikeable area above the lifts. When it comes to runs, there are plenty to challenge advanced skiers but also enough beginner terrain that even new skiers won’t feel left out or bored.

And, the town of Telluride is spectacular. This adorable and historic gold-mining town was founded in 1878 and has been well-preserved. The town is situated in a box canyon with high peaks all around it, and the views are incredible no matter where you are in town.

A free gondola takes residents and visitors to Mountain Village, Telluride’s newer companion town at 9,545 feet. Tourists enjoy staying in both parts of town. While Telluride is full of charm and great restaurants, the hotels and condos in Mountain Village have better amenities.

You’ll love Telluride. Immediately upon arrival, you’ll see why it’s a favorite of so many.

9. Steamboat Ski Resort

Steamboat Ski Resort Scenery
Arina P Habich /

Address: 2305 Mt Werner Circle, Steamboat Springs, CO 80487

Ski Pass: IKON Pass

Steamboat Ski Resort is one of the most remote and out-there resorts on this list, but for many, it’s worth the trek to northwest Colorado. It opened in 1963 and is situated on Mount Werner, a mountain named after local Olympian and alpine ski racer Buddy Werner.

Like Copper Mountain, it has a vast number of runs on a relatively small amount of acreage. It offers 170 trails served by 21 lifts on 2,965 acres. The trails offer a nice balance of difficulty levels with 14% rated as beginner terrain, 42% as intermediate, and 44% as advanced.

Many are amazed to learn that Steamboat Ski Resort gets up to 300″ of snow per year. However, this mountain is one of the lower-elevation ski mountains in the state – the peak is at 10,568′ and the base is at just 6,900′ – so the season at Steamboat is shorter than you’ll find elsewhere in Colorado. The lower elevation can be a breath of fresh air for some, though, as visitors to Steamboat are rarely affected by any symptoms of altitude sickness.

In general, this mountain is popular because it is well-rounded, well-known, and well-recognized for producing Olympians and for offering the perfect setting for family vacations. Parents will be glad to hear that children ages twelve and under ski for free when accompanied by a parent or grandparent which is a huge money saver to consider when vacation planning.

Lift tickets are expensive at Steamboat, despite its way-off-the-beaten-path location, so all visitors are advised to purchase theirs before arrival. Night skiing is also available at Steamboat Ski Resort, so you’ll be able to get a lot of use out of your lift ticket if you play your cards right.

The town of Steamboat Springs, also affectionately known as “Ski Town USA,” is charming and there are plenty of activities to try when you’re not skiing or riding, and there are quite a few good restaurants and bars to check out, too. Don’t miss nearby Strawberry Hot Springs which is open all year.

There’s always something happening in Steamboat, and it’s a fun little town. You’ll find lots of free shuttles and transportation options so you won’t need a car if you don’t want to rent one. There are lots of ski-in ski-out accommodations available on the mountain, too.

See Related: Best Things to Do in Estes Park, Colorado

10. Loveland Ski Area

Loveland Ski Area Scenery
Kim Maragaci / ViaTravelers

Address: I-70, Dillon, CO 80435

Ski Pass: Loveland Ski Pass

Anyone who has ever driven across Colorado on I-70 has seen Loveland Ski Area. It’s immediately next to the highway just before you enter the eastern entrance of the Eisenhower Tunnel. The Eisenhower Tunnel is at 11,158′ and is one of the highest vehicular tunnels in the world, so it should be no surprise to anyone passing by that the adjacent ski resort, which is higher than the road, is one of the highest in the nation.

Its summit is 13,010′ and it’s the site of the second-highest lift-served area in North America at 12,697′. Like Arapahoe Basin nearby, Loveland Ski Area has a very long season (usually October to May) due to its elevation and snowmaking, and it is popular for that reason. Plus, it’s one of the closest and most accessible ski resorts from Denver.

Loveland Ski Area gets A LOT of snow – up to 422″ per season. That alone is enough reason to give it a try, but there are other excellent reasons, too. First, Loveland is a lot more affordable than many of the other Colorado ski resorts on this list, yet it’s also usually quite a bit less crowded than the others.

This ski area has excellent expert terrain, particularly for those willing to hike, but even skiers and riders who don’t want to hike can enjoy 94 runs served by 10 lifts with a nice mix of beginner, intermediate, and advanced options. It also offers a separate area for beginners that is accessible by free shuttles, which can be a great comfort for inexperienced skiers who aren’t quite ready yet to take a lift to the top.

As for negatives, Loveland Ski Area has a few of those, too. Due to its high elevation, it can be very cold and windy, and riding the rather slow lifts in these adverse conditions can be rather brutal. The wind can also make even fresh snow pretty crusty by mid-day.

Further, Loveland offers no accommodations, so you’ll have to drive a bit to find someplace to stay. Historic Georgetown is the closest option and it’s very quaint. Silverthorne, Keystone, and Frisco aren’t far away either and have even more options to offer.

11. Monarch Mountain

Monarch Mountain ski area in Salida, Colorado
Vicki Devine / Flickr

Address: 23715 US-50, Salida, CO 81201

Ski Pass: Monarch Season Pass

Monarch Mountain is one of the smallest ski areas on our list. It has just 670 acres of skiable terrain and only 1,162′ of vertical. There are also only 63 runs, two small terrain parks, one extreme terrain area, and 5 lifts.

But, don’t let its small size fool you! There are a lot of great things to be said about Monarch and it’s a mountain that you should not overlook.

Monarch is quite a distance from I-70 which means you won’t find many crowds at all on this mountain, despite its small size. Once you arrive, you’ll find that Monarch has a laid-back and friendly vibe that’s welcoming to both expert skiers and beginners.

It’s one of the most affordable ski resorts in Colorado, and its small size makes it ideal for families. It snows a whole bunch in this part of Colorado, so you’ll find fresh powder nearly daily. And, there are plenty of runs dedicated to beginner and intermediate skiers and snowboarders, but there are quite a few fun areas for experts, too, especially if you’re down to hike a bit.

Monarch’s lodge is quite limited but there are plans to expand the facilities and amenities there. There are no accommodations at this resort; most people who visit Monarch choose to stay in nearby Salida, which is lovely and also quite affordable. Others make the further drive to Pagosa Springs for higher-end accommodations and to enjoy its namesake hot springs after a long day on the slopes.

Monarch Ski Area is mellow, friendly, and pure. You’ll love it. And you’ll especially love how much money you save there.

See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Vail, Colorado

12. Crested Butte Mountain Resort

Crested Butte Mountain Resort Aerial View
Jacob Boomsma / Shutterstock

Address: 12 Snowmass Road, Crested Butte, CO 81225

Ski Pass: Epic Pass

Crested Butte Mountain Resort is another ski area that’s well off the beaten path traveled by most tourists and even by most Coloradans. But, that’s part of its charm and is what keeps its dedicated fans coming back year after year.

This small town in the mountains is very down-to-earth, laid-back, and friendly, and it prides itself on not being anything at all like the overcrowded, upscale, super popular, major ski resorts closer to I-70 and Denver. The town is historic and attractive and is much more authentic in every way than most of those other places.

Although much bigger than Monarch Ski Area described above, Crested Butte is on the smaller side when it comes to Colorado ski resorts. It offers just 1,547 acres of skiable area, but it has 16 lifts and 121 runs to try. The top elevation of this mountain is 12,170′ and the base elevation is 9,115′.

This mountain has a good mix of runs for all levels. On one hand, it offers steep and rocky areas, tree skiing, and mandatory cliff jumps in some areas for experts. On the other hand, it also has lots of beginner and intermediate runs and it’s quite family-friendly.

Unfortunately, the seasons at Crested Butte can be a bit inconsistent. Some years are great, but others really aren’t, and that fact has been a challenge for this ski area since it opened in 1960. Sometimes, the expert areas close due to lack of snow or avalanche risk, and that can be a real bummer if expert skiing was the reason you traveled all this way.

Still, there are lots of things to do off-mountain in this unpretentious little town if the conditions one day aren’t all that you hoped. It’s truly one of the best towns for relaxation, exploration, and enjoyment near a ski mountain in the entire state.

There’s lots of affordable lodging in town that visitors love, but you’ll also find high-end accommodations on the mountain, some with ski-in ski-out options, in the Mount Crested Butte area. There’s a free shuttle between the two areas so you’ll never feel isolated.

13. Beaver Creek Resort

Skiing in Beaver Creek Resort
jweller /

Address: 210 Beaver Creek Plaza, Beaver Creek, CO 81620

Ski Pass: Epic Pass

Beaver Creek Resort is another one of the large-scale, popular, and well-known Colorado ski resorts that’s right off I-70. It’s not far from Vail and it’s operated by Vail Resorts. Beaver Creek Resort is made up of three villages: Beaver Creek Village, Bachelor Gulch, and Arrowhead.

It offers 2,082 acres of skiable terrain and 167 trails and four terrain parks. That’s a lot of runs in an area that’s less than half the size of its neighbor, Vail.

It also has 25 lifts and 3,340′ of vertical from its top elevation of 11,440′ to its base at 8,100′. Beaver Creek Resort gets around 310″ of snow per year.

This resort is well-rounded with runs for skiers of all levels, but it leans a little more toward the beginner than the expert. Still, there are lots of wide and well-groomed trails and beautiful vistas that make this place a great one for skiing and riding for outdoor enthusiasts of all ability levels.

Beaver Creek Resort is one of the most expensive mountains and ski areas in Colorado. This Colorado ski resort is a great choice for anyone seeking world-class amenities, glitz, and glamour. The lifts on the mountain are fast and so is the service in all the restaurants and stores.

The lodging is upscale and luxurious and most of it is ski-in ski-out which will give you easy access to the slopes and lifts. There are free shuttles between the villages and Vail is a short and inexpensive bus ride away.

Although Beaver Creek is not known for its nightlife, this is a fun mountain for vacationing in general, and you’ll find that it’s a lot less crowded than Vail. If money is no object and you like pampering and perfection, then you’ll love Beaver Creek.

See Related: The Ultimate Ski Trip Packing List

14. Purgatory Resort

Purgatory Resort Aerial View
Jon Hayward / Shutterstock

Address: 1 Skier Place, Durango, CO 81301

Ski Pass: Power Pass

Purgatory Resort is often overlooked because it’s small compared to the major ski resorts and it’s a bit out of the way. However, like Monarch, those factors end up being positive attributes. Purgatory is a locals’ mountain, and you’ll usually find yourself surrounded by Coloradans while you explore its 1,500 skiable acres, 105 trails, and 5 terrain parks, and ride on its 12 lifts.

This mountain is small and affordable, and the accommodations in nearby Durango are reasonable, too. Combine these factors with the fact that kids 12 and under ski free with the Power Kids pass, and you’re looking at a ski vacation for the whole family that won’t break the bank.

The runs at Purgatory are well-suited to beginners and intermediates, but there are some decent black diamond options, too, although most of them have moguls, so be aware of that. The terrain parks are impressive and there’s a big halfpipe, too. The accommodations at the resort are quiet and mellow and are perfect for families or anyone seeking a quiet weekend of skiing or snowboarding.

The elevation of Purgatory Resort is low in comparison to most of the resorts on this list. It’s just 10,822′ at the top and 8,793′ at the bottom which means there’s just 2,029′ of vertical.

Due to this lower elevation, Purgatory gets less snow than other Colorado ski resorts. However, you can almost always expect comfortable temperatures and blue skies at this Colorado ski resort which is a big plus for many.

The town of Durango offers a party atmosphere during the ski season and there are lots of things to do there and nearby. It also has more of a laid-back, Western vibe than many of the other resorts in Colorado mentioned here, so you might want to bring your cowboy hat and boots if you plan to go out on the town. Even if you don’t, though, the locals are friendly and welcoming and you’ll feel right at home after a long day of outdoor adventures.

15. Ski Cooper

Slope in Ski Cooper Resort
Kim Magaraci / ViaTravelers

Address: 232 CR 29, Leadville, CO 80461

Ski Pass: Ski Cooper Season Pass

Ski Cooper is often overlooked. This smaller, family-friendly mountain is kind of in the shadow of Copper Mountain, Vail, and Keystone, but for the people who go to Cooper to avoid the crowds, that’s a very good thing.

In fact, there are people who live in Colorado who haven’t even heard of this mountain, even though it’s been in business for seven decades, and that means you likely won’t have to fight off the crowds if you go there. At Ski Cooper, you’ll find easy parking, few, if any, lift lines, and lots of quiet space to enjoy on your own. For many, Ski Cooper is a skiing and riding dream come true.

Yes, Cooper is small. It’s the smallest resort on our list with 470 lift-served acres of skiable area. It only has 60 runs, two chairs, and three surface lifts, and all the lifts are quite slow.

The vertical at Ski Cooper is 1,200′ feet (although it’s a very high-elevation resort!), and the average snowfall here is only 250″ per year. There are no fancy lodges or amenities, either.

These numbers and factors sound laughable when compared to those from other entries on our list. But Ski Cooper is amazing. The views of Mount Massive and Mount Elbert are spectacular.

The 60 trails are evenly divided between beginner, intermediate, and advanced/expert levels. Everyone is friendly, polite, and welcoming. The cost of lessons, rentals, and lift tickets is half the price or less than most of the neighboring resorts.

The laid-back vibe at Ski Cooper makes the whole mountain feel easy. The t-bar served back side of the mountain offers plenty of bumps and trees, and the frontside terrain is welcoming. That’s why people love this mountain, even though it’s small. Plus, it’s close to Leadville, which is one of the coolest and most historic towns in the state.

You’ll find plenty of affordable and pleasant accommodations there. Don’t sleep on Ski Cooper. You’ll love this little resort. It’s a hidden gem.

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