Colorado's Ski Resort Gems
Sure you've skied the big guys, but have you had the pleasure of spending time at these smaller or lesser-known Colorado ski resorts? You’re likely to find shorter lift lines and some genuine downhome Colorado charm.
Here are seven of our all-time favorites.
Locals call this no-frills ski hill A-Basin. We love it for its amazingly long season (typically October to June), chill fun-loving vibe and free onsite parking. The ski resort attracts huge snow dumps and boasts some of North America’s highest skiable terrain. Challenge yourself on the steep and deep East Wall or take the kids to rolling, top-to-bottom groomers and two base learning areas.
Nearly 2,500 acres of naturally divided terrain beckons at this low-key Colorado ski resort. Black diamond fans enjoy free snowcat-accessed terrain and fluffy bowls, while first-timers take it easy on sprawling beginner runs. Adventurous skiers and snowboarders of all ages head to Woodward Copper’s indoor action sports progression facility complete with foam pits and two- to four-foot jumps.
Dubbed the “last great Colorado Ski Town,” Crested Butte is an adorable mountain community tucked away in a central Colorado valley. The town is historic and full of character and the mountain is dramatic with wide-open groomers for beginners and bowls, chutes and glades for more advanced skiers and riders. Don’t miss their zany events such as the Fat Bike Championships, Female Arm Wrestling and the Big Gay Ski Trip.
Loveland’s slopes lie just 53 miles west of Denver on top of the Continental Divide. The 1,800-acre affordable ski area collects an average of 422 inches of snow each season, earning them a diehard Colorado fan base. Loveland has two base areas, Loveland Valley and Loveland Basin. Those new to skiing and snowboarding will want to hit the gentler, learner-friendly valley, while experts take to the Ridge to ski down The Continental Divide or sign on for free snowcat-accessed terrain.
Park and walk straight to the lifts from the single base area at this straightforward Colorado ski hill. Monarch Mountain has been a family and deep snow lover’s favorite since 1939. The 800-acre ski area rests along the Continental Divide in the Sawatch Range and relies on Mother Nature for snow (no snow-making operations here, just 350+ natural inches annually). Six chairlifts access 27 percent green trails, 30 percent intermediate, and 43 percent black diamond runs, so there’s truly something for everyone.
Just outside Leadville, Ski Cooper prides themselves on being “absurdly affordable” (ask about their mid-week deals) and lacking in lift lines. The family-focused ski area is laid back with free parking, happy and helpful staff – including fantastic ski and ride school instructors – and terrain spanning corduroy to trees across 39 trails. Adventure-seekers call on Chicago Ridge Snowcat Skiing for access to 2,600 acres of powder bowls, glades and timber.
Coined Ski Town, U.S.A®, Steamboat’s western charm and Champagne Powder® has earned them a reputation among the top Colorado mountain vacation destinations. Steamboat takes their snow sports seriously – they’ve produced more winter Olympians than any other U.S. city – and the ski resort’s tree skiing and 3,000 acres of skiable terrain are simply legendary.
View ski resort web cams and start planning your Colorado ski vacation today.