A Match Made in Snow’s Perfect State

From posh ski resorts to no-frills terrain, Colorado has a snowy retreat to suit every style. (And even if you’ve been to a few, you’re bound to find a new favorite.) So, if you like “this” ski spot, then here’s another with similarly cool offerings. Spice up your ski vacation by trying somewhere new! PRO TIP: This also works in reverse.

By: Colorado.com Staff Writer
Updated: March 11, 2024

If You Like Telluride ...

With its historical brick buildings set against dramatic mountain peaks, Telluride is a picturesque escape offering pure mountain-town pleasure. Formerly an 1870s silver-mining camp and railroad town, this National Historic Landmark District is now home to rustic eateries, artsy shops and mountain-apparel stores — not to mention Telluride Ski Resort, continually ranked the No. 1 Ski Resort in North America by readers of Condé Nast Traveler for its 2,000 skiable acres and crowd-free runs. (Adaptive program offered)

Try Crested Butte ...

Nary a traffic light or chain store can be found in the historic town of Crested Butte, known as Colorado’s Last Great Ski Town, which got its start in the 1880s as a coal-mining town. Stroll through the heart of this National Historic Landmark District on Elk Avenue, lined with rustic saloons, mining-era homes and colorful clapboard storefronts. Then, ride the free Mountain Express Town Shuttle up to Crested Butte Mountain Resort, beloved for its exceptional intermediate to advanced terrain. (Adaptive program offered)

If You Like Steamboat ...

Steamboat Springs may be known as Ski Town, U.S.A., but it’s also the epicenter of family winter vacations. Here, little ones as young as 2 can take lessons at Steamboat Ski Resort’s SnowSports School, and kids 12 and under ski free with the purchase of a five-day-or-more adult lift ticket. Pick up an iconic little red wagon to easily cart around everyone’s ski gear, or get into the wheelchair-accessible gondola for a ride up the mountain. Then, zoom down the waterslide at Old Town Hot Springs, snow tube at Saddleback Ranch or try bumper cars on ice at Howelsen Ice Complex(Adaptive program offered)

Try Winter Park ...

A locals’ favorite for generations, Winter Park Resort delivers plenty of perks for the kiddos. Choose an activity for your little ripper, such as one-on-one ski lessons (ages 3 and up), multi-week kids’ programs or the 3rd–6th Grade Passports for discounted days. Then, grab an inner tube to fly downhill at Coca-Cola Tube Park, or make a few twirls at Winter Park's outdoor Village Ice Rink. In the evening, load up the fam in a snowcat for a private ride to Vasquez Ridge for panoramic sunset views and s’mores. (Adaptive program offered)

If You Like Silverton ...

With 400-plus inches of snowfall, advanced and expert-only riding, and one chairlift that takes you to the top of the mountain with no clear-cut runs, Silverton Mountain is a true no-frills experience that leaves the adventure up to you. (A heli-skiing option adds an extra element of insanity.) After a day of powder-fueled adrenaline rushes, rest up in the Gold Rush-era town, where historical brothels are living new lives as Victorian-style hotels and old-fashioned saloons serve up craft beer and pub grub.

Try A-Basin ...

Located near Dillon, Arapahoe Basin Ski Area (A-Basin per local speak) was founded in 1946 by WWII veterans and Olympic skiers, originally opening with one tow rope. Today, the no-fuss ski area has nine lifts that give you access to 1,400 adventurous acres and some of the highest ski terrain in North America. This welcoming, come-as-you-are vibe extends to the reasonably priced dining options and free parking. Bonus: A-Basin also boasts Colorado’s longest ski-and-ride season. So as long as there’s snow, come on up.

If You Like Vail ...

With seven back bowls, nearly 5,300 skiable acres and legendary powder, it’s no wonder Vail Ski Resort is a world-renowned snow-sports destination — but its other draw is the luxury experience. After a day on the slopes, stroll the heated cobblestone walkways through a quaint alpine village to take your pick from high-end restaurants (from steakhouses to sushi bars) or to shop for glittering jewelry, sumptuous furs and eclectic fine art. Then, unwind in a hot tub and rest up at one of the many elegant hotels. (Adaptive program offered)

Try Snowmass

Set against an eyepopping alpine backdrop, Snowmass Mountain delivers more than 3,000 uncrowded acres — from beginners’ slopes to prime expert terrain. Plus, the Snowmass base village boasts all manner of delightful eateries, boutiques and chill gathering spaces. Come nightfall, retreat to Limelight Hotel for uber-posh, ski-in/ski-out lodgings that’ll feel like they’re right on the mountain. In the mood for some high-end brand names? Pop over to Aspen, just 9 miles away, for shopping along Galena Street (think Prada and Gucci). You’ll also have quick access to neighboring ski spots like Buttermilk, Aspen Highlands and Aspen Mountain. (Adaptive program offered)

If You Like Sunlight

Prefer to skip the mega-resorts for a smaller, more homegrown experience? Sunlight Mountain Resort in Glenwood Springs is beloved by locals for its crowd-free experience, free parking and significantly less-expensive lift tickets. (Ski newbies will also love this mountain resort, as nearly half of the 730 acres of terrain is rated beginner or intermediate.) For après ski, unwind amid gorgeous scenery when you soak in a natural hot-spring pool at Glenwood Hot Springs Resort or Iron Mountain Hot Springs, which provides wheelchair-users with a water wheelchair and ramp.

Try Powderhorn

For an ultra-approachable ski and snowboard experience, drive about an hour outside Grand Junction to Powderhorn Mountain Resort in Mesa. Here, 70 percent of runs are beginner or intermediate, and the affordable passes are hard to pass up. In years past, absolute beginners were able to participate in the Bob Beverly Learn to Ski or Ride Program, which offers free (yes, as in zero dollars) ski and snowboard lessons, including lift tickets and rentals. (Adaptive program offered)

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