With over thirty ski areas, there’s no shortage of great skiing in Colorado. All levels of riders will find terrain they like. Some ski areas are tiny local hills, and some are world class resorts. Read our skiing blog.
Snowcat Ski Tours
Maybe you are looking for fresh powder all day long. Colorado cat skiing is a sure way to find it. Tours are located throughout the Rockies.
- Address: 23715 W Hwy 50, Monarch
- About: Thousand plus acres of expert trees, cliffs, bowls and steeps.
- Address: 115 Parry Peak Way, Winter Park
- About: 2600 acres of terrain with chutes, bowls, meadows and gullies. Read our feature on them.
- Address: Durango
- About: Largest snowcat skiing in Colorado, with 3 times more acreage than the second biggest. Read our feature on them.
- Address: 1 Kendall Place, Silverton
- About: Heli skiing through Silverton Mountain, you can pay per flight. Read our feature on them.
- Address: Highway 550 at the 65 Mile Marker, Silverton
- About: Guided snow cat trips on Molas Pass. Read our feature on them.
- Address: 259 County Road 29, Leadville
- About: Ski the Continental Divide with 2,640 acres of backcountry terrain.
- Address: Steamboat Springs
- About: Steamboat Powdercats has 30 years experience running snow cat skiing on Buff Pass. Read our feature on them.
Guide to Skiing & Snowboarding in Colorado
In 2500 B.C. skiing was a form of transportation. Today skiing is a form of recreation and sport. When visiting the Centennial State you will see that skiing is sacred among those who live here. It’s a way of life. Ski areas are all over the place and people from all over take advantage of these resorts for vacations.
Colorado has some of the best skiing in the world! You can find every level and terrain option under these vast blue skies. There is a mountain to fit every skill level. If you’re looking to hit the slopes soon and escape your daily stresses rest assure skiing and snowboarding is the way to get away and have the time of your life. Both are exhilarating!
Once you feel the high, you will be hooked. You can see the best mountain scenery that gives you the ultimate feeling of being free. And because Colorado has some of the largest mountains in the U.S., it also holds many of the best ski resorts available.
Everything you need to know about skiing and snowboarding in Colorado is at your fingertips to ensure you will have an amazing vacation. You cannot beat over 300 days of sunshine available at your leisure! Not to mention, the dry climates produces better snow than you probably have ever experienced. This means anytime is a good time to go skiing and snowboarding in Colorado. If the stresses of daily life are getting to you and you are ready for an unforgettable vacation, Colorado is waiting.
The race to open first usually kicks off early in October. It’s generally a race between A Basin and Loveland. Thanks to the most snow in Colorado, Wolf Creek is another early opener. While Loveland’s season can regularly go into May, sometimes June, A Basin has even made July in the past. It’s definitely the spot to go if you’re looking to tailgate and have fun in the warm weather.
Looking for big bowl skiing? Try Vail. It’s 5,289 skiable acres, the largest in the state, has the largest collection of bowl skiing in the state. Another option for back bowls a bit closer to Denver is Copper. It’s diverse terrain expands naturally from easy to expert, as you go west to east.
Tree-huggers flock to Steamboat Ski Resort. It easily has the best tree skiing in the state, thanks to runs like Shadows & Closets and deep champagne powder that sticks around for days in the trees. Mary Jane, Winter Park’s other half, is another solid place to enjoy the woods. Out west, head to secluded Powderhorn, for dry snow and well-spaced out trees.
The southwest is home to a number of awesome ski areas, including its most known Telluride. This San Juan resort features over 4,400 skiable acres and a wide variety of terrain. Adventure seeking experts shouldn’t pass up Silverton, which is probably the most unique around. It only has one chairlift to the top that accesses nothing but expert only trails. All riders must have backcountry gear, including a beacon, shovel and probe. Durango’s Purgatory is a fun-filled mountain full of rolling, groomed trails.
Seemingly every year, lift tickets rise in price. The best route for this if you’re a local is to buy a season pass. However, there are still a few gems out there that offer affordable day rates and great terrain. Howelsen Hill is the oldest continuously running ski resort in Colorado, opening its doors in 1914. With only 400 acres, Ski Cooper may not be ginormous, but it’s got wonderful runs and huge mountain views. Eldora is a locals’ favorite on the front range with cheaper tickets and ample bumps, cruisers and steeps.
Those who are looking for great apres-ski towns, could try the skiing at Aspen Mountain, Breckenridge or Crested Butte. Each of these western towns has a slew of walkable restaurants and shops. Telluride and Steamboat Springs are another two historic towns that visitors love.
Just like ghost towns, Colorado is full of former ski areas. Some sit vacant and others were never finished. Squaw Mountain became Echo Mountain, which then changed to a private ski facility for the Front Range Ski Club. Then in the 2016-17 season it reopened to the public as Echo again.
If you do not know how to ski or snowboard this is not a problem. Most resorts offer skiing and snowboarding classes with trained professionals to show you the ropes. With their help, you will be a pro in no time!
Colorado ski instructors: (see all)
- Cindy Leuchtenburg, Aspen
- Kim Richhelm, Aspen, CB, Vail
- Matt Feeney, Winter Park
- Seth Masia, Vail
- Jill Sickels Matlock, Int’l Mountain Adventures in CB
- Kate Howe, Aspen
- Weems Westfeldt, Aspen
- Leon Joseph Littlebird, Arapahoe Basin
- Andrew Halls, Beaver Creek
Ski Day Tips
There aren’t many better ways to spend a Colorado day than on than on the slopes. As you long you’re comfortable, you’re going to have a good time. Some tips:
- Dress warmly and in layers.
- Wear wool or wicking socks.
- Boots are the most important item, make sure they fit nice.
- Wear a helmet.
- Turn down your music and keep your head on a swivel.
- Sunscreen is necessary at these altitudes, especially with the snow reflecting.
- Drink lots of water throughout the day.
- Your cell phone could come if handy if you get stuck or separated.
- Make sure your gear is ready to roll.
Driving I-70 from Denver, to and from the mountains can be a feat on its own. Road closures, delays and construction are common. Follow CO Trip for the up-date highway conditions and cameras throughout the state. They even have a mobile app.
If skiing and snowboarding is still not your thing, there are still plenty of other activities available to make it the best vacation ever. The scenery is breath taking, the air is crisp and clean, the atmosphere is warming, and the hot cocoa is to die for. It does not get any better than Colorado.
Backcountry skiing is popular at places like Loveland Pass and Berthoud Pass. Always ski safe and with a friend. Appropriate backcountry gear includes a beacon, helmet, shovel, probe and cell phone. Follow our best practices for backcountry.
Some related activities
A perfect compliment to the slopes, hot springs will relieve your tension. During winter outdoor ice rinks are easily found in the Rockies. Cross country skiing, dog sledding and snow tubing are fun too.