Snow's Perfect State: Colorado Ski & Snowboard Bragging Rights

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.

A bluebird powder day at a Colorado ski resort

Here, we uncover the steepest, the deepest and who serves up the highest mountaintop latte.

Thin-Air Kings

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.

Watch Stoppers

Keystone Resort boasts Colorado’s longest ski day, staying open from 8:30am until 8pm on designated night-skiing dates — that’s 11.5 hours of leg-jellying schussing. Echo Mountain keeps the lights on til 9 Wednesday through Saturday. (Read more about night skiing and biking)

Arapahoe Basin Ski Area proudly boasts the last slopes 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.

Unbelievably Deep

Largest average annual snowfall goes to Wolf Creek Ski Area. It receives more snow than any other Colorado resort, averaging 430 inches a year.

Terrain Reign

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.

Granby Ranch in the gentle hills of Granby offers the most novice terrain, with around half the resort’s runs rated as beginner.

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.

Snowmass holds the bragging rights for the claims the state’s longest ski run: the 5.3-mile Longshot.

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.

Tastefully Done

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 highest Starbucks (10,850 feet) in the U.S.

Alpino Vino at Telluride Ski Resort is the nation’s highest wine bar. A heated snowcat takes 12 diners at a time to sip pinot at 11,966 feet.

Most cookies served? That would be Beaver Creek. Smiling bakers hand out nearly 3,000 fresh-out-of-the-oven chocolate-chip cookies to guests at the bottom of select lifts each afternoon at 3pm.

Tricked Out

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.

The largest snowcat skiing operation in the nation is Purgatory’s (formerly Durango Mountain Resort) San Juan Untracked, accessing more than 35,000 acres of high-alpine terrain.

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 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.

Honorable Mentions

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.

Want more? 

Find fun après ski spots around the state
Check out awesome adaptive winter sports in Colorado
Stay up past your bedtime with night activities at our ski resorts