So you wanna go on a ski trip but aren’t sure where to go. Here is the ultimate guide to Colorado Ski Resorts! If you already know your favorite then check out my packing guide!
If you are planning on skiing more than two days in Colorado or even outside of Colorado your cheapest option for buying lift tickets is to purchase them in advance! You may find that buying a “Pass” is going to be your best option as well. Liftopia is an awesome site to find great deals on lift tickets and rental equipment too!
Epic Pass – Vail Resorts owns basically all the resorts on I-70. So if you plan on skiing 2x a year or more than 4 days you should defiantly consider buying a pass. Note that you can’t get discounted passes on Liftopia for Epic Resorts aka Vail owned Resorts.
Rocky Mountain Super Pass – Winter Park/Mary Jane + Copper + Days at Crested Butte and Steamboat. This pass is a total steal if you are wanting to ski a few areas in Colorado.
Mountain Collective – This pass is great if you are planning to ski in Colorado and California, Utah, New Mexico or Wyoming. This pass includes two days at Aspen/Snowmass, Telluride, Jackson Hole, Taos, Squaw Valley, Sun Valley and a few other great resorts.
Epic Pass – I-70 Resorts
Keystone, Breckenridge, Vail & Beaver Creek are the closest resorts to Denver *with a place to stay*. Arapahoe Basin and Loveland are the closest slopes to Denver but are only a ski hill with nowhere to stay the night.
Keystone – I have only skied her a few times but have really enjoyed it. Keystone has super long runs, so you don’t always feel like your skiing to the next lift There’s a big terrain park and area for ski school. The “town” is just the resort at the base so this is a super walkable option with great transportation.
Breckenridge – Breck is the largest, town-wise of the i-70 resorts. The town is situated at the base of the slopes so you can walk from the lift to town. The historic downtown creates a real mountain town feel with great shopping, restaurant and bars. Personally, I think Breck has the greatest nightlife too. For the non-skiers you can stroll downtown, shop, eat and enjoy the almost weekly festivals like the world’s longest largest shot ski and ice sculptures competition. Read my Guide to Breckenridge here.
Vail – Vail is the greatest skiing in the world. The back bowls, Blue Sky Basin… seriously hitting a powder day in Vail is what ski dreams are made of! Ideally, you can snag a spot in Vail Village but its a pretty penny. Lions Head is the next village over which is also a great spot to stay and you can ski between the two. We recently stayed at the Hotel Talisa in Vail and loved it. It’s truly one of the only Ski-in/Ski-out resorts in Vail. You can read more on our trip here.
The adorable European design village is packed with shops and restaurants great of the non-skiers and apres ski. If you don’t stay in either village there are plenty of places to stay throughout the valley but you will have to bus or drive to the slopes. Parking in Vail is not free unless you can snag a free spot on the road FYI.
Beaver Creek – Because it is the furthest of the I-70 resorts Beaver Creek is often less crowded. Situated just above the town of Avon this super family oriented resort is great for kids. The village is perfectly designed with shops, restaurants, and has an ice scatting rink. Ski the entire day and be treated with warm chocolate chip cookies as you get off the mountain. The Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch is the ideal place to stay with ski-in/ski-out condos and houses, outdoor pools and hot tubs and a great fire pit for Après Ski (here is what to wear!). If you’re looking for less expensive accommodations stay in Avon. Shuttles can get you to the slopes from Avon with no problem.
The Eagle County Regional Airport is about 45 minutes from Vail with direct flights from New York, Miami, Chicago, Atlanta, DC, and LA daily.
If you are unsure of what I-70 resort you want to ski you can split the difference and stay in Frisco or Silverthorn. This puts you 15 minutes from Keystone, 30 from Breck and Vail and 45 to Beaver Creek.
Winter Park + Copper Mountain
Winter Park + Maryjane – Just before The Eisenhower Tunnel on I-70 hang a right on 40 and head over Berthoud Pass, soon you will find yourself in beautiful Winter Park. Locals love Winter Park/Mary Jane for the great terrain and lack of traffic and crowds. You can stay at the resort next to the mountain or down the road in town. With free parking and buses, it’s easy to stay in town rather than the resort. Winter Park is definitely a quieter town but does have a great live music venue that is always bumping. Lift Ticket deals here.
Last March I randomly won a trip to Glenwood Springs and passes to Sunlight Mountain. Sunlight is super small and about 3 hours from Denver. We actually loved skiing Sunlight and exploring the Roaring Fork Valley, great if you’re looking for a cheap day of skiing + hot springs. Read more about our trip here.
3+ Hours but Worth the Drive…
Steamboat Springs – Located three hours from Denver this resort is the furthest north of all the Colorado Ski Resorts. Steamboat boasts great tree skiing and “Champaign Powder” without terribly steep terrain. You can stay in the ski village or in the town about three miles from the resort. Steamboat is a big town with lots of shopping, restaurants and bars. After a long day on the slopes, you can hit the historic Strawberry Hot Springs outside town. Read more about Steamboat here.
Aspen – Aspen is about a 3 1/2 hour drive from Denver. Head west on I-70 all the way to Glenwood Springs and hang a left. Tucked back in the Elk Mountain Range are Aspen and Snowmass.Aspen Mountain known as Ajax is in the middle of downtown. Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk, and Snowmass are all a drive or bus ride away. The town of Aspen is actually quite large, so you will most likely need a car to get around. The town is filled with world-class shopping, restaurants and nightclubs. If you can catch a show at the world famous Belly Up – do! This tiny venue is amazing. You can fly directly into to Aspen/Snowmass from Denver, LA, San Fran, Dallas, Chicago, Houston, and Minneapolis-St.Paul.
Telluride – I haven’t skied Telluride since I was a little but it is one of the most beautiful places in the world! This tiny box town nestled in the San Juan Mountains is what you imagine a ski town to look like. A 6-hour drive from Denver your best bet is to fly into Montrose or Durango and drive from there.
Now that you know where to ski, what to pack!?! Check our my complete packing guide here.