The Best Ski Resorts in Colorado

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By David Em
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Colorado is known for having some of the best ski resorts in the United States. Learn what the top ski resorts are.

1. Vail Ski Resort

Aerial view of Vail covered in snow.
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Vail Ski Resort is less than 2 hours west of Denver. It has the largest ski area in Colorado and one of the largest in the world. While the peak elevation of 11,570 feet isn’t as high as other resorts, it still gets 354 inches of snow.

Related: 10 must-visit places in Colorado

There are 195 trails and 31 lifts across the 5,317 acres of skiable terrain. The longest run is Riva Ridge, which is 4 miles. Whether you’re a beginner or expert, you’ll have a spot on the mountain.

Aside from skiing, the town of Vail offers charming and pedestrian-friendly villages. It’s filled with shops and restaurants. Plus, it’s beautiful to walk through.

Looking for a place to stay? The following are the best hotels and resorts in Vail:

2. Aspen Snowmass Ski Resort

Mountains and town in Aspen.
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Aspen Snowmass is an upscale and chic area that’s a combination of four ski resorts. The four mountains are Snowmass, Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, and Buttermilk. From Denver, it’s a three-and-a-half-hour drive west.

At Snowmass, you’ll have 3,339 acres of skiable terrain and 150 miles of trails. Its longest run is 5.3 miles. Aspen Mountain has 675 acres of skiable terrain and 64 miles of trails with the longest run of 3 miles.

Aspen Highlands offers 1,040 acres and 84 miles of trails, with 3.5 miles being the longest run. Buttermilk has 470 acres and 21 miles of trails. Its longest run is 3 miles.

If you’re new to skiing, Buttermilk is a great place to start. For pros, go to Aspen Highlands.

While Aspen is more expensive than other ski resorts, it’s less crowded, and you’ll leave with a memorable experience. There are plenty of restaurants, shops, and Aspen is a great destination for art and culture.

If you’re looking for a hotel or resort in Aspen, the following are the best options:

3. Telluride Ski Resort

Snow on buildings and mountains in Telluride.
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Telluride Ski Resort is six-and-a-half hours southwest of Denver, and it’s one of the most beautiful ski resorts in the United States. It’s commonly referred to as a must-visit ski destination because it’s a majestic area in the San Juan Mountains and far away from Denver, which means it’s less touristy.

At Telluride, you’ll have access to more than 2,000 acres of skiable terrain, a base elevation of 8,725 feet, and a maximum elevation of 13,150 feet. It has a total of 148 trails. The longest run is Galloping Goose, which is 4.6 miles.

Whether you’re new to skiing or an expert, Telluride has a trail for you. 23% of the trails are beginner-friendly, and 41% of them are geared towards experts.

When you’re not skiing, enjoy the town of Telluride, as it’s an enjoyable place. You can check out the shops, dine at restaurants, grab a coffee, and walk around the scenic town.

Need a place to stay? The top hotels and resorts near Telluride Ski Resort are as follows:

4. Steamboat Ski Resort

Steamboat ski resort with the mountain in the background.
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If you’re looking for a family-friendly ski resort, Steamboat is an excellent choice. It’s three hours northwest of Denver and offers 2,965 skiable acres. It gets a good amount of snow, as the 10-year average is 314 inches.

At Steamboat, 18 lifts give you access to 169 trails. The longest run is Why Not, which is 3 miles. The base elevation is 6,900 feet, and the peak elevation on Mount Werner is 10,568 feet.

Steamboat has changed a lot and has grown over the years. However, it’s still a great ski town with delicious food. Being a small Western town and further out from Denver, you won’t see big crowds.

If you’re looking for a hotel or resort at Steamboat, the following are excellent choices:

5. Breckenridge Ski Resort

Mountains and trees covered in snow at Breckenridge.
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Breckenridge is also known as Breck. It’s a stunning and large ski resort that’s an hour and a half west of Denver. It gets a lot of snow, as the average annual snowfall is 366 inches.

Breck features five mountain peaks, 2,908 skiable acres, a base elevation of 9,600 feet, and a summit elevation of 12,998 feet.

There are 187 trails, and the longest is 4 O’Clock, which is 3.5 miles. Whether you’re a beginner or expert, you’ll be able to confidently go down the mountain.

While you’re there, take a stroll through the arts district and downtown Breckenridge. It’s the largest historic district in Colorado. It was the gold-rush base camp in the 1850s. You’ll also find many shops and restaurants.

Need a place to stay? There are plenty of accommodations. The top hotels and resorts in Breckenridge are as follows:

6. Keystone Resort

Ski lift and mountains at Keystone Resort.
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If all you want to do is go skiing or snowboarding and don’t plan on doing anything else, Keystone is the best place for you. It’s also a family-friendly ski resort because of the many programs for kids.

It’s an hour and a half west of Denver and consists of three main peaks. Dercum Mountain sits at 11,640 feet, North Peak rises to 11,660 feet, and at 11,980 feet, The Outback is the tallest peak.

Keystone offers a total of 3,148 skiable acres and 128 trails. Schoolmarm is the longest run, and it’s 3.5 miles. The majority of the trails are geared towards intermediate and advanced skiers. However, 12% of the terrain is for beginners or those who want to take it easy.

Going to Keystone Resort? The following are the best hotels and resorts to stay in:

7. Beaver Creek Resort

Snow covering Beaver Creek Resort.
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Beaver Creek Resort is two hours west of Denver and offers 1,832 skiable acres. It’s an excellent place for people of all ages and skills. Beaver Creek is a top-notch ski resort and is less crowded than Vail, which is just up the road.

It gets an average of 325 inches of snow per year. The base elevation is 8,100 feet, and the peak is 11,440 feet. There are 150 trails, and the longest run is Centennial, which is 2.75 miles.

Aside from skiing or snowboarding, you can relax at Beaver Creek Village, which is at the base of the resort. You can check out the shops, enjoy a meal at the restaurants, go ice skating, and admire Beaver Creek Wonder’s sculptures.

Overall, it’s a high-end and luxurious ski resort. Things are pricier here than many other resorts. So, be aware of that before you book your trip.

For hotels and resorts, the following are the top choices near Beaver Creek:

8. Arapahoe Basin Ski Area

Arapahoe Basin ski area covered with snow and trees.
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Arapahoe Basin Ski Area is also known as A-Basin. It’s an hour west of Denver, and it has a high base elevation of 10,520 feet. The highest point is at 13,050 feet.

Due to the high altitude, A-Basin isn’t for everyone. However, it’s also what makes it a legendary ski resort. A-Basin is known for having the longest ski seasons, as the resort can stay open through the summer. The latest closing date was in August 1995.

There are 147 trails across 1,428 acres. It has an excellent advanced terrain, as A-Basin is geared towards intermediate and advanced skiers and snowboarders. If you’re a beginner, you can still go because there are a few easier hills.

During your visit to A-Basin, there are four restaurants and cafes where you can grab a bite to eat. For lodging, there aren’t any hotels or resorts at the base. The hotels near Keystone Resort are the closest.

9. Copper Mountain

Copper Mountain filled with trees and snow.
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Copper Mountain is a large ski resort that’s popular among families. It’s an hour and a half west of Denver and has a good mix of runs of various difficulties. About half of the trails are rated as beginner or intermediate. 18% are rated for experts.

The base elevation is 9,712 feet, and the peak is 12,441 feet. Copper Mountain has 2,490 acres of skiable terrain and more than 140 trails. Its longest run is Collage, which is 1.7 miles. It also gets an average of 305 inches of snow.

Copper Mountain has much more activities than skiing and snowboarding. You can go ice skating, snow tubing, ride The Rocky Mountain Coaster with your kids, take them to play at The Woodward Barn, or to the small ice slide. There are also many shops and restaurants, which makes it an excellent and well-rounded ski resort.

For lodging, it’s low-key, and there aren’t many places to stay. You can book a condo at Tucker Mountain Lodge via Expedia. You can also book a hotel or resort at Breckenridge, which is close by.

10. Purgatory Resort

Snow covering mountains and trees at Purgatory Ski Resort.
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Purgatory Resort is located off of Highway 50 in Durango, Colorado. It was formerly known as Durango Mountain Resort. Purgatory is in the San Juan Mountains and is just under 7 hours southwest of Denver.

At Purgatory, there are more than 1,600 skiable acres and 105 trails. Also, it gets an average of 260 inches of snow per year, which is much less than many other ski resorts. Overall, it’s geared towards beginner and intermediate skiers and snowboarders.

The Village Plaza base area has several lodging options, shops, restaurants, and bars. There are also plenty of family-friendly activities that you can do. The people are friendly, and you’ll find a lot of locals there.

If you need a place to spend the night, there are a few condo hotels at the resort, and you can also stay in Durango. The following are the best hotels and resorts:

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Portrait of David Em.

About David Em

David Em is the founder of Nola & Luna Travel, the destination for travel advice and inspiration. He launched Nola & Luna Travel to share expert advice, useful tips, unbiased reviews, and inspiration about destinations across the globe.