Best Ski Resorts in Colorado

Colorado is considered to have some of the best ski resorts in the US, and with that, the best ski trails. There’s loads of snow during ski season, a lot of sunlight, high mountains, and a wide variety of old mountain towns, which all put together offer a great skiing experience for both beginners and experienced skiers.

Colorado has 26 ski resorts and picking one can be a bit difficult. Why? 

Well, not all ski resorts are the same, and in order for you to be able to pick one that is right for you, you’ll need to pay attention to a few things, and not just see if the resort has a skiing trail. 

Are you going alone? 

How crowded are the trails during ski season? 

How’s the nightlife? 

These are just some of the questions that you need to answer before picking the right one.

Of course, reputation is something that is a good indicator in the world of winter sports and recreation, and it can help you differentiate the good from the bad, but picking a resort simply based on name recognition is a sure way for you to end up in a place where you won’t be having any fun at all.

So with all that in mind, what are the best ski resorts in Colorado? 

We did our homework and researched extensively to provide you with a list of the best resorts in Colorado. From the quality and condition of the skiing trails, to the prices and nightlife capabilities, we have everything covered. 

By the time you’re done reading, you’ll know where to spend the upcoming skiing season. 

Let’s start.

Vail

Often called the crown jewel of ski resorts in Colorado, the Vail has a ski terrain that covers more than 5,000 acres, making it the biggest one in the state. With a ski terrain of that size, you know that there’s a lot of variety when it comes to ski tracks. From well-groomed tracks to challenging bowlers, there is a track for any skiing style out there. 

Pros

  • Largest ski area of all Colorado ski resorts
  • Long and wide perfectly groomed tracks
  • A pleasant ski town
  • A lot of places to see when you’re off the slopes

Cons

  • Can get a bit overcrowded
  • Pricey
  • Not that many steep tracks
  • Loads of big-corp companies and not that many local businesses
  • The roads leading to the resort can get closed off due to snowstorms

Famous for: Long and wide well-groomed tracks, the largest ski area in Colorado,

Town Area

The small town will give you that cozy winterland feel thanks to the fact that it was built to resemble a European mountain town, with many pedestrian-only streets filled with restaurants, cafes, shops, and other businesses. The town also has a small regional airport nearby, located around 40mi away, and it’s just a two-hour drive to the Denver International Airport!

But all those good connections mean nothing when strong winter storms come around. The main road leading to the Vail is the I-70, and when winter storms hit, the road is usually closed off, sometimes even for a few days on end!

Ski Terrain

All that vastness might seem intimidating and hard to get around, but it’s actually very easy to find your way around the tracks. 

On one side of the mountain, you have the groomed tracks, and on the other, you have the bowlers (wide slopes filled with puffy powder). The resort has a high-point at around 11,500 ft, which means that all those who prefer taking the long way down will have more than one choice on how to do it.

Crowd Density And Ski Lifts

A ski resort that carries the title of being the biggest one in a state known for winter sports means only one thing – there will be a lot of skiers when the season starts. Like a lot. And with the popularity comes another thing that might deter you – the prices. Skiing on this resort costs a lot, with a one-day lift pass costing around $170, which makes it the most expensive lift ticket not just in Colorado, but in the whole USA!

Accommodation

There aren’t any accommodation options close to the tracks, aside from a few private properties. Most of the lodgings are located in the village, many of which are located within a 5-10 minute walk to the lifts. Prices can vary from lodging to lodging but expect to pay upwards of $350 for one night.

Verdict

A great all-round resort that has a lot to offer, the Vail is definitely a pricey option, but one that is perfect for all adventurers looking for variety both on and off the slopes. Fans of extreme tracks and terrains might not have as much fun, but if you are a person who likes to get absorbed by large crowds and feel the energy of big crowds, the Vail is definitely an option you should consider.

Winter Park Resort

A classy resort that comes with its fair share of history, Winter Park has been around since 1939. First, it was a public-run playground known only to locals, but it slowly became famous for its various tracks and amazing moguls, earning worldwide fame in the past 20 years. 

Despite being so famous, it’s not as flashy as you’d expect. It has a cool, down-to-earth feel that will make anyone feel at home.

Pros

  • Wide range of tracks and terrain, suitable for different ski styles and experience levels;
  • The mogul runs in steep areas are amazing;
  • Consistent snowfall.

Cons

  • Liftlines are a bit confusing, hard to get around the mountain;
  • Not a lot to do in the town;
  • Winter storms can make it hard to reach.

Famous for: amazing mogul runs, a wide range of different tracks.

Town Area

The town isn’t as diverse as the other ones on this list, as it lacks some businesses and amenities. So if you are the type of skier who prefers to just ride the slopes instead of spending time in the town visiting restaurants and bars and doing “touristy” stuff, you’ll have a lot of fun here.

It can be a bit hard to get to the town and the resort, as winter storms can block the Berthoud Pass and make it really difficult to get through. On the other hand, from January to March, there is an Amtrak going to the resort every weekend, so that’s a big plus.

Ski Terrain

There’s not just one, but SEVEN of them. Yes, seven unique terrains, all offering something different, so anyone can find the right type of challenge they’re looking for. Groomers, alpine bowls, progressives, you can find them all in Winter Park.

And the best part of all? The mogul runs on these terrains are perfect for any daredevil willing to finish a ride with a bang. Also, Winter Park has a reliable snowfall, which means that all terrains will be in prime condition for most of the time.

Crowd Density & Ski Lifts

With all the different terrains, you will find it very easy to find a track that won’t be full of people, so you can ride in peace or have a crack at going full speed.

The one thing skiers don’t like about Winter Park is the lift connections. They are a bit confusing and with all different types of terrain, it’s a bit difficult to get around. If you decide to go here, make sure you learn about all the lift lines and where to get on and get off.

Accommodation

There is a wide variety of lodgings both on the base of the resort and in the surrounding areas like Winter Park and Old Town. They are a bit far from the resort to go on foot, but there is a shuttle service from both of them. They’re relatively cheap, but if you’re going all-out for the skiing season, there are some high-end lodgings too.

Verdict

A great ski resort that doesn’t offer as much as some of the other ones on this list, but is perfect for ski fanatics looking to get their adrenaline fix for the season without the whole off-skiing distraction like bars and parties.

Beaver Creek

If Winter Park was all about tradition, coziness, and simplicity, Beaver Creek is all about luxury, flamboyance, and excitement. It’s one of the newest ski resorts in Colorado, located just 11 miles from Vail, offering a lot of fun in a relatively small area. It’s pricey, doesn’t have large crowds, but with more than 140 slopes to choose from, Beaver Creek is proof that great things can come in small packages.

Pros

  • Top-grade groomers;
  • A fast and well-planed ski lift network;
  • It’s a tournament resort (The Birds Of Prey World Cup Downhill is held here in early season), which means great skiing conditions and amazing maintenance of the slopes;
  • New and modern.

Cons

  • Somewhat limited skiing area (no ski area above treelines);
  • Big-budget place;
  • Somewhat lacking in alpine bowl quality.

Famous for: amazing grooming tech and equipment that keep the tracks in pristine condition, luxury service.

Town Area

While small, the Beaver Creek village is packed with places to see and things to do. It’s easy to go around it and explore, which makes it perfect for families and groups that enjoy sightseeing and taking walks. 

The main attraction in the village is the Vilar Performing Arts Center which hosts theater shows and also screens some ski movie epics. If you find the Vilar is not your cup of tea, you can hit the ice rink which hosts fun American Jukebox Skate Nights where you can get your groove on. Down closer to the base of the mountain you have the lifts which connect you to the slopes.

Ski Terrain

There is a variety of green and blue tracks scattered around the mountain, and the best thing about them is definitely their pristine groomed condition. Unlike other resorts, the slopes here don’t just flow towards the main base, but have a rather twisty shape which will allow you to enjoy the scenery. If you aren’t interested in chill scenic routes, you can always hit the intermediate and pro slopes for extra excitement.

One potential downside to the ski slopes in Beaver Creek? It’s not the best place if you are a fan of alpine bowls and powder runs. They aren’t bad, but it’s fair to say that you won’t manage any hard-charging runs on this powder.

Crowd Density & Ski Lifts

Beaver Creek is a place known for not having large crowds, so if you’re looking for some alone time on the slopes and the space to practice your moves, this is definitely a place you should consider.

As for the ski-lifts, you are looking for state-of-the-art machines that will get you quickly around the mountain.

Accommodation

The lodgings here are all about swag and luxury, and they are scattered all around Beaver Creek village and the base of the slopes. Pricey, but top-class with great restaurants.

Verdict

Beaver Creek offers luxury and top-notch service, but it all comes with a price. With slopes in great condition, a small but packed village that is easy to navigate and get around, this resort is compact but amazing. It has everything you’ll need and more.

Aspen Highlands

A ski resort that doesn’t need an introduction, Aspen Highlands is considered one of the top ski resorts not only in Colorado or the US, but the whole world. It was established back in 1947 as a single resort called Aspen Mountain, but it has since grown into four separate resorts, and Aspen Highlands is one of them. 

With great tradition, an abundance of tracks and things to do on and off the slopes, Aspen has a lot to offer, and as with all things fine – there’s quite the price tag.

Pros

  • Four large ski areas to ski around;
  • Ski tracks in great condition, simple ski lift layout;
  • An abundance of places to see and things to do when off the slopes;
  • Winter X Games are held here!

Cons

  • It’s a bit harder to reach than other ski resorts;
  • Inconsistent snowfall;
  • Ski terrain above tree lines is not easy to reach;
  • High prices.

Famous for: simply for being Aspen. One of the best ski resorts in the world.

Town Area

There are literally a ton of things to do in the town, with a lot of bars, restaurants, and other attractions to see, some of them offering special shows and season programs that you’ll need a ticket to see. But be careful – tickets sell out pretty quickly, so be on the lookout for when they are available.

The main thing in Aspen HIghlands have to be the Winter X games where you’ll be able to see some of the world’s best snowboarders and skiers performing amazing tricks and flips.

We can get into details and explain everything the town has to offer, but that would take a lot, so in order to save up on time we’ll just say this – the town basically functions as a regular city, so you will be able to find anything that most towns offer.

Ski Terrain

All the tracks here are in primo condition…when there’s enough snow. Aspen Highlands’ trails don’t get as much snow as the ones in other resorts on this list, which means that early-season might not be a good time to come here. 

But, while some may consider this to be dangerous, pro skiers and adrenaline junkies will see this as an opportunity for them to get their batteries charged with excitement. Aspen Highlands is known to be the home of the most extreme trails in all of Aspen.

Crowd Density & Ski Lifts

When it comes to crowds, Aspen Highlands doesn’t have the same problem handling crowds like the other three surrounding it, partly due to it’s more extreme nature, and in part, thanks to the wide tracks.

When it comes to the lifts, there is one lift that can help you get all-around Aspen Highlands and also reach the other resorts and tracks. Easy and fast.

Accommodation

Since the four resorts are relatively close and there are direct lines to each, the towns themselves are also connected, which means that the accommodation capacities are spread out. There are many options in the towns, some close to the slopes, and of course, the high-rolling hotels that are a bit further, for that extra privacy and tranquility. 

Be it a simple room or an apartment, you need to be ready to pay top dollar for any type of accommodation in Aspen. They’re always in high demand, so there aren’t many discounts as well.

Verdict

For a resort that is considered to be among the most exquisite in the world, Aspen Highlands sure does deliver in every aspect. And considering everything this place offers, we say that the price is just right.

Telluride

Another world-beater, the Telluride ski resort is definitely one of the best ones in the USA. With more than 2,000 acres of ski area that has been blessed with spectacular views, the Telluride has around 150 groomed trails and more than 300 powder runs, all covering the full range in terms of difficulty and style. 

You can choose from kiddie trails to intense bowls and groomers.

Pros

  • Wide variety of tracks, from finely groomed to wild untouched powder;
  • Amazing scenery;
  • Town has that cute, oldish Western look;
  • Top-notch champagne powder when the snow hits hard.

Cons

  • A bit hard to reach, quite some miles away;
  • High prices, especially for accommodation;
  • The town is somewhat small for a resort of this size.

Famous for: great scenery, great cruising tracks.

Town Area

The town right at the base of the resort doesn’t offer much in terms of entertainment, but the Mountain Village also has accommodation and some bars and restaurants. 

If nightlife or off-piste activities are important to you, you should stay down lower in the main town. There are free gondolas connecting the town and the resort, but if you’re traveling with your family, the Mountain Village is definitely a better choice as there are a lot more activities for kids up there then there are in the city below.

Ski Terrain

As we already mentioned above, there is something for everyone. From high-riders to relaxed cruisers, there is a track for whatever you feel like you’re in the mood for. What makes them so good? Some of them are as long as 5 miles, which means you will have plenty of time to cruise down the groomed lines and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

For all powder-junkies, you can give the Revelation Bowl a try. It’s a section of a peak of a mountain that is covered from the wind, so there’s plenty of powder for you to dive into and slice through. Oh, and there’s a ski lift that takes you to the very top.

Crowd Density & Ski Lifts

Telluride rarely gets overrun by skiers, as most of the time you can see which slopes are free and take your pick, but it does get crazy when there’s fresh snow and the powder is all ripe for slice and dice.

When it comes to ski lift connections, Telluride has a great ski lift network that will help you get to any slope and track you want.

Accommodation

Telluride’s accommodation is always in high demand, so if you plan on spending your winter vacation here, make sure to book in advance as the rooms and apartments here go like hotcakes. 

Verdict

Telluride is right up there with some of the best ski resorts in the world. While a bit pricey, it delivers in almost every aspect. Considering all it has to offer, it’s no wonder it’s the #1 destination for many skiers and snowboarders looking to have the time of their life during their winter vacation.

You can check out more on our USA Ski Resorts page.

Article by:
Abby Ward
Senior Content Writer at Bluehouse
Last Updated August 2020