[Ride Shagnasty by the Outback at Monarch Mountain.] Unlike Denver, Colorado Springs isn’t really known for its easy access to world class ski resorts. However, the 2nd most populated city in Colorado still boasts a number of ski resorts all within a two and half hour drive.
Back several decades there was even a local ski hill in Colorado Springs by the Broadmoor, called Ski Broadmoor. It was closed by Vail in 1991. Today the closest ski area to Colorado Springs is Breckenridge Ski Resort, by milage. It’s interesting to note though that the only ski resort on our list that Denver isn’t closer to is Monarch Mountain, which the Springs beats out by a cool thirty minutes.
Ski Resorts Within 2.5 Hours of Colorado Springs
Whether your live in Colorado Springs or will base your winter holiday here, you’ll find a fair number of outstanding ski resorts within a reasonable day trip. There are several ski areas that require a detour around Denver for speed’s sake, which could be advantageous to those looking to visit the Mile High City briefly on your return trip.
Several of the ski areas nearest Colorado Springs are actually faster by first going all the way up to Denver. This defeats some of the ski day charm, so we’ve noted which mountains are shorter via Denver, in case you wish to avoid Interstate 70. You can also take U.S. 120 west to U.S. 9 north to Summit County to access the county’s resorts and only add minor time, which could actually be faster on a traffic-heavy weekend.
Here are the closest ski resorts near Colorado Springs, in order of driving milage: (the ones that are fastest going north to Denver are indicated)
Breckenridge Ski Resort – 107 miles | 2 h 13 min
Aside from Breckenridge, all the Summit County resorts are slightly faster going I-25 to Denver first, then I-70 west. Whereas Breck is fastest via Highway 24 from Colorado Springs, avoiding I-70 completely. Two thumbs up. From Breckenridge you can access the rest of Summit County’s winter playgrounds this route with only minimal extra time. If you have an Epic or Epic Local Pass this resort is an outstanding place to ski.
The mountains are spread over 5 peaks, named 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10. Most ease down into the base area as groomed beginner runs, but rise high above treeline into skiing bowls, chutes and steeps to explore. There are a variety of chairlifts throughout to take you to the different points and keep you mid-mountain or higher. Because of the resorts 2K+ of skiable acres all levels of riders are well accommodated for here.
Eldora Mountain Resort – 115 miles | 2 h 15 min (north to Denver)
Tucked all the way north to the west of Boulder, you might be surprised to find this one so high up the list, in terms of distance from the Springs. As one of Denver’s closest ski areas, it’s also one of Colorado Springs closest. Eldora would be a good option from Colorado Springs if you’re looking for a smaller family mountain with reasonable pricing, while also wishing to detour by Denver.
With 680 acres there is a sizable amount of terrain to work with for all levels. Experts have some fast cruisers and steeps off some inbound gates by the summit overlook. There’s no lodging at the base but plenty of services for skiers and restaurants to relax in. Another perk about the route thru Denver to Eldora, you can still avoid I-70 traffic, because access to Eldora bypasses it.
Loveland Ski Area – 120 miles | 2 h (north to Denver)
Anyone who has skied Loveland can appreciate what the mountain offers. The above treeline scenery at Loveland is among the best in Colorado skiing. With more than 1600 acres visitors get access a huge variety of slopes and trails. You’ll find everything from tree and bowl skiing, to a completely separate learning hill at Loveland Valley. The downside people complain about (but not in lift lines because those are fast), are the slow chairlifts and cold weather. The trip from the Springs is definitely fastest via Denver due to Loveland’s location on the east side of the Continental Divide.
With an elevation base of 10,800 feet, yes base, Loveland does get its fair share of windy, cold days. But it’s also blessed with the same sunny weather Colorado touts and more than 400 inches of snow on average. The top chairlift serves 12,700 feet and there’s some traversing, hiking or a resort-run snowcat to take you higher to a summit of 13,010 feet. As noted earlier, Loveland lacks express lifts, so everything takes a bit longer to reach your destination, enjoy your ride.
Keystone – 120 miles | 2 h 33 min (north to Denver)
Breck’s closest neighboring resort, Keystone boasts a world class winter playground on its different mountains. It can be accessed almost evenly, but slightly faster, traffic pending via Denver, from Colorado Springs. It also means you can do a nice loop involving many colorful highways, U.S. 24, U.S. 9, I-70, I-25.
Fun on the mountain can be had in a variety of ways over 3,148 acres. Keystone Resort also showcases the largest night skiing in the state, available on select nights throughout the winter. There’s also a tubing hill on mountain, and a couple of ice skating lakes, one of them being massive.
Monarch Mountain Ski Resort – 123 miles | 2 h 27 min
Like the rest of southern Colorado’s ski resorts, Monarch Mountain is also a shorter drive from Colorado Springs than from Denver. Note that driving from Denver only adds about 30 minutes to the drive times of the southern resorts in Colorado, so it’s negligible for overnight trips. Still, the locals’ mountain for Colorado Springs and Southern Front Rangers love the uncrowded slopes, consistent snow, and chill pricing.
800 acres might not sound like a lot compared to others on the list, but it’s sufficient enough to burn your legs out on new trails all day long. Monarch has a healthy vertical of 1,652 feet and a hikable summit for the expert powder stashes. There are amenities at the base, but no lodging. The closest downtown is Salida, which you can hit in under 30 minutes driving east from the resort’s free parking lots.
Arapahoe Basin Ski Resort – 130 miles | 2 h 12 min (north to Denver)
Situated in Summit County, this locals’ favorite is loved for its epically long season and totally chill vibes. From the Spring you’ll probably be best off going thru Denver first, but you do have the option of driving first to Breck to Keystone to neighbor A Basin. Either way, intermediate and expert skiers will be reward with a challenging mountain, stunning views and reasonable pricing. Montezuma Bowl adds hundreds of acres of bowl terrain to explore.
Arapahoe Basin has bounced around a bit with regards to which season pass its on, now the IKON pass, along with Copper Mountain, Winter Park, Eldora, Steamboat Springs and Aspen/Snowmass. The base area has a restaurant, bar, gift shop and rentals. There’s no lodging at A Basin, but nearby Keystone, Dillon, Silverthorne and Frisco are loaded up.
Winter Park Ski Resort – 132 miles | 2 h 18 min (north to Denver)
Another northern non-Summit County resort, Winter Park, isn’t terribly far but you’re destined for a Denver detour and stretch of I-70. Luckily, the I-70 stint is short, as you head up Berthoud Pass a little past Idaho Springs. Winter Park Resort has two interconnected mountains, Winter Park and Mary Jane. The former is amazing for families and those learning the ropes, while Mary Janes boasts bowl skiing and glorious glades.
3,000+ acres and a Mary Jane high of 12,060 feet means you’ll be in for a treat in terms of skiable terrain. Ride a considerable vertical drop of 2,610 feet from the top of Mary Jane to the bottom. Or ski your way to Winter Park Village, a charming modern mountain village geared towards families. There’s plenty of lodging here if you to choose to spend the night.
Ski Cooper – 137 miles | 2 h 40 min
Often missed, but never forgotten, scenic Ski Cooper is the smallest in terms of skiable acres on our list, at little over 400. Although the 2019-20 expects a new expansion for 3 additional expert trails, adding some needed challenge to Leadville’s local resort. It’s still a favorite for other reasons: uncrowded slopes, affordable lift tickets, massive mountain views (pun intended), and an authentic vibe.
The slopes are easy and geared towards beginners and intermediates. There’s a great ski school and perfect learning hills, but also a sizable vertical rise of 1,200 feet. Access to Ski Cooper is one of the more unique routes, taking Highway 24 all the west and north from Colorado Springs. The drive is fantastic and although base amenities are slim at the resort, historic downtown Leadville is a pleasure to explore.
Copper Mountain 143 miles | 2 h 20 min (north to Denver)
Despite it being the last on our list, it normally isn’t the longest drive from Colorado Springs, that is unless Interstate 70 fails you. Copper Mountain is one of the largest resorts in Summit County at 2,465 acres (Keystone takes the cake!). It provides something for everyone, spread efficiently over the mountain from easy to hard, east to west. The backside has steep bowls and snowcat skiing.
Copper has a few base villages that its trails wind down to, East, Central and West. The main one, Central Village, has all the restaurants, shops and lodging you’d expect at a big resort, just lacks the historic downtown and real city feel of some others like Breckenridge. The skiing here is fantastic and as an IKON pass resort, it tends to be less crowded than its EPIC pass neighbors of Breckenridge and Keystone.
Thanks for checking out the top ski resorts closest to Colorado Springs! Enjoy your day on the slopes and here’s to a safe ride home.