It all starts with the Rocky Mountains, a range that inspires and reflects the best of the western state of Colorado.
The mountains are rugged, beautiful and the proud home of some of the most dynamic ski terrain and resorts in the USA and the world. But the area’s resorts are not all the same. We highlight five resorts that have different spirits, each with a unique take on creating memorable skiing and snowboarding experiences.
Telluride Ski Resort, Telluride
Stashed among the highest concentration of 13,000- and 14,000-foot peaks in North America, Telluride is nestled in the Rocky Mountains. In addition to the spectacular scenery, this resort features historic buildings, quaint bakeries and local watering holes as well as hotels, restaurants, shopping and spas. You don’t have to drive around the resort as the gondola takes care of transportation between downtown, Mountain Village and the slopes. Telluride Ski Resort offers a challenging and fun experience for all levels of skiers. Test your lungs and your legs on the Gold Hill Chutes and Palmyra Peak, or get your adrenaline pumping dropping into Revelation and Black Iron bowls. Telluride is in the southwest corner of Colorado, and there are nonstop flights from eight major U.S. cities to Montrose Regional Airport, which is about 110 kilometers away.
In the southwest corner of Colorado, Telluride offers experiences for all levels of skiers
Breckenridge Ski Resort, Breckenridge
Breckenridge – or “Breck,” as its known – exudes an understated charm and relaxed atmosphere. Boutique shops and museums line historic Main Street, where it is not uncommon to see a horse-drawn carriage on the street.
With an average annual snowfall of nearly 900 centimeters, Breckenridge is a powder lover’s dream. Start your visit with a ride on the six-passenger Colorado SuperChair, one of the lifts that access the resort’s 1,777 skiable hectares with 187 trails and four terrain parks.
With five distinct peaks, Breck has a lot of mountain to explore, with runs suited for every level of skier. Peak 10 offers steep runs and challenging moguls. With its wide-open avenues, Peak 9 is best for beginners. Breckenridge is 116 kilometers from the Eagle County Regional Airport and 166 kilometers from Denver International Airport.
1,776 hectares of skiable terrain at Breckenridge
Beaver Creek Ski Resort, Beaver Creek
When it comes to ski towns, Beaver Creek stands out. Built around a European-style village with an outdoor ice-skating rink, Beaver Creek Village is bustling with boutique shops, gourmet restaurants, lively bars and fine galleries. You won't get too cold strolling from one to the next, because they are linked by heated walkways and escalators.
At Beaver Creek, even the smallest details are attended to, from the stately arrival gates to the ski boot-friendly escalators that whisk you from the village to the slopes, and from the ski school ambassadors to the 24/7 concierge desk. Beaver Creek also offers a well-respected ski school with a focus on small-group programs.
Attention to detail at Beaver Creek, both on the slopes and in the village
Keystone Ski Resort, Keystone
Tucked away in the mountains of central Colorado, Keystone Resort is 150-kilometer ride from Denver International Airport.
Keystone has long been a popular skiing destination for families, with such family-friendly amenities as free lift tickets for children 12 and under and kid-approved après-ski offerings such as scavenger hunts and dog sledding. The resort has 131 runs and 20 lifts, many of which remain open at night. Enjoy the slopes after dark and under the lights, while taking in the night sky from 3,000 meters and higher.
Keystone Resort, one of the most accessible resorts in Colorado
Vail Ski Resort, Vail
There aren’t many resorts that can boast an annual average of 900 centimeters of snowfall and 300 days of sunshine, but that’s part of the magic of Vail.
Stand atop Vail Mountain and you’ll be gazing at more than 2,104 hectares of terrain and seven back bowls spanning 11 kilometers. Start by exploring Sun Up and Sun Down bowls, and work your way back to China and Tea Cup bowls. Kids will enjoy the après ski activities at Adventure Ridge, including tubing and snowmobiling, as well as ice skating at one of two rinks in the village. Vail also boasts boutique shopping, fine dining and a 10-lane bowling alley.
Vail is located 57 kilometers from Eagle County Regional Airport, or 192 kilometers from Denver International Airport.
The Front Side of Vail with its groomed terrain