Colorado’s ski and snowboard areas compete for state (and in some cases national) bragging rights. With ever-evolving technology, an unquenchable drive to offer visitors the best, and a tendency to teeter on the extreme, Colorado’s ski resorts have tons of slopeside surprises up their Gortex-lined sleeves.
Here, we uncover the steepest, the deepest and who serves up the highest mountaintop latte.
Reaching 13,487 feet, rugged Silverton Mountain in the state’s southwestern region takes the top prize for Colorado resort with the highest peak elevation.
Loveland Ski Area starts you out at an impressive 10,800 feet, hugging the Continental Divide and taking the trophy for highest base elevation.
Worth the journey to 12,998 feet just for the powdery panoramic views of Summit County, Breckenridge Ski Resort’s Imperial Express is the highest chairlift in North America.
Arapahoe Basin Ski Area is the proud last man standing with a season that often extends into June. When all of Colorado’s other resorts are sprouting spring grass, “The Basin” keeps lifts going, hosting parking-lot barbecues and pond-skimming ski parties.
Largest average annual snowfall goes to Wolf Creek Ski Area. It receives more snow than any other Colorado resort, averaging 465 inches a year.
Silverton rakes in hard-core honors for the most expert terrain (100 percent nongroomed, advanced-skier-only runs) and takes the gold for steepest terrain.
Most skiable acreage goes to Vail Mountain with a monstrous 5,289 acres — 2,600 in its famous back bowls alone. Sixteen chairlifts take eager skiers to the resort’s farthest reaches, making Vail the Colorado destination with the most high-speed lifts.
With so much ground to cover, it’s no shocker that Vail also claims the state’s longest ski run: 4.5-mile Riva Ridge.
The title for most mogul runs belongs to the beloved and bumpy Mary Jane at Winter Park Resort, a training ground for the U.S. Freestyle Mogul Team and vacationers seeking a challenge.
At 11,444 feet, Keystone’s Alpenglow Stube is the country’s highest AAA Four-Diamond restaurant. Guests arrive via gondola and enjoy contemporary Bavarian-inspired cuisine. Fuzzy slippers available upon request.
Skiers and riders who need a caffeine boost atop Monarch Mountain can order a grande latte at the world’s highest Starbucks (10,850 feet).
Most cookies served? That would be Beaver Creek. Smiling bakers hand out nearly 3,000 fresh-out-of-the-oven chocolaty cookies to guests each afternoon.
Steamboat’s Howelsen Hill is the most complete natural ski-jumping complex in North America, lending to the ski town’s champion pedigree and producing more winter Olympians (79 and counting) than any other town in the U.S.
Copper Mountain Resort hosts the largest amateur snowboard and free-ski competition in North America, the United States of America Snowboard Association’s Nationals. The resort also wins the innovation crown for Woodward at Copper. The year-round, indoor ski-and-snowboard training camp dedicated to park and pipe progression is the only one of its kind in the world.
Keystone Resort maintains the largest outdoor ice-skating rink (five acres) in North America.
Crested Butte Mountain Resort has trademarked “Colorado’s Best Corduroy“ (ski runs that are groomed into smooth, ridged lines resembling corduroy) with their unique grooming process that creates an aerated snow surface that’s softer and offers more carve-ability.
At 12,050 feet, Loveland’s annual Valentine’s Day Mountaintop Matrimony is one of the world’s highest mass weddings.