Colorado Ski Vacations and Resorts

South Colorado

Purgatory (Durango)

Hidden in the central mountains of Colorado, and accessed through mining keepsake, Durango, Purgatory is a family-friendly resort best tailored to the semi-competent skier, with dozens of neatly sequestered runs to tour. Although a $100 million village development plan is in the works at the base of the resort, you didn't come this far to envelop yourself in Disneyland pedestrian boulevards, so check out Durango for lodging and entertainment; very much an unspoiled gem in the Colorado wilderness.


Wolf Creek

A no-frills offering out of Pagosa Springs in Colorado's south, Wolf Creek is a ski hill in the old-fashioned sense. Those residing up north regularly curse the selective snowfall which Wolf Creek boasts - god seems a little biased, with about 465 natural inches descending on this pristine family destination each year.


The purest skiing experience available under the guise of 'ski resort', guided days are spent exploring endless black terrain au natural via a chairlift or snowcat. Silverton is on the wish-list of every half-decent skier, revelled for its lack of crowds and endless lines to drop in this backcountry mecca, where you go 'into the wild.' Avalanche and backcountry awareness courses are available and avi gear is a must. Hard men and hard women find their nirvana at Silverton.

Monarch Mountain

Clinging to the Continental Divide, isolation is part of the package at Monarch Mountain, where legit open runs and back-bowls offer a pleasant ski experience. Offering the on-mountain musts: ski school, terrain parks, dining, Monarch also sports an enviable cat-skiing package, accessing otherwise out of bounds terrain. Poke around the area, there are plenty of quaint, romantic and luxurious lodging options.

Central Colorado

Crested Butte

Telluride's virtual cousin, Crested Butte, instantly recognizable from its famous crags, is a Colorado wonderland of steep skiing, heart-stopping scenery, and raucous nightlife. Towns like this breed die-hards, so be warned, you could get hooked. A latter-day dining destination and mountain get-away that gets you away from the typical bustle of poseurs and commercialization of ski towns, Crested Butte is loved by all who visit.

Aspen Highlands

One of Aspen's four home mountains, the Highlands is the toughest of the bunch, newly expanded to include more hike-to terrain and cat-skiing - check Highlands Bowl for the goods. Engorged acreage ensures the requisite variety of terrain to keep locals interested year after year, before touring the original ski town; playground of the rich, the famous, the ski-bums, the families, the believers.


Home of the Aspen X Games, Buttermilk isn't just for jibbers. A family resort with plenty of groomed runs, this is a must-visit - the Magical Kingdom of Disneyworld, if you will. Carving out the biggest Super-pipe in North America, Buttermilk also encourages guests to slice up artisan cheeses, ensuring you get the full alpine experience.


Snowmass has sheer size on its side when competing with its nearby siblings. A new on-mountain smokehouse and in-the-works village upgrade will keep punters happy, while offering the original diversity of ski terrain for busy families.

Aspen Mountain

Ajax Mountain lives here. Shooting out of the streets of Aspen are the ridges of namesake Aspen Mountain, rising 3,267 feet out of downtown, and concealing epic glades and bump runs over the vista of that small-town enigma - Aspen. Guests will find numerous lodging and dining options, unlike many of the staff who work the mountain, so enjoy!


You either need to hike all the way west toward Grand Junction for this underdog, or sneak in from the Utah border. An isolated treat for skiers capable of keeping their mouths shut, Powderhorn is uncrowded and offers a mix of piste and off-piste runs for anyone who can find the place. Just because you don't hear the snow report so far west doesn't mean it isn't epic.


Ski Cooper

Just 10 miles out of 'so hot right now' mining town Leadville, Ski Cooper is one of Colorado's fifth oldest resorts. Whilst a mellow offering, appreciate that great skiers come out of hills like this. Beautiful, unpretentious Colorado ambience on offer, this minor-leaguer is family friendly.

Copper Mountain

For those sick of the Vail-ticket rotisserie, Copper Mountain is something of a salvation. Intuitively segregating its beginner, intermediate and expert terrain to separate mountains, this stunner takes in views of the mighty 10 Mile Range and Vail Pass rolling grounds. Admired by park rats and adored by those for whom the Intrawest village experience delights, Copper is a big name to sample.


The name heard the world over - Vail. Colorado's Big One is true to its word with endless back bowls to sift the newest powder and treat punters to flattering powder descents - this is a good place to learn. Easy blue bowls of endless powder lull punters into a false sense of confidence. More placid than advertisers would have you believe, Vail is a place can take all day to traverse, so make sure you save time for the ritzy village opportunities below - and bring some greenbacks to fritter.

Beaver Creek

The rich ski here. With unparalleled grooming and some of Colorado's best bump skiing, Vail's sister resort is rarely too crowded, and the everyman can get by quite well enough by packing a lunch and waiting out for the free cookies at 3 o'clock each day. If you like luxury on-hill dining, fur, private ski lessons, the Ritz-Carlton, this is your home.


Known affectionately as 'Brecken-fridge', this quaint mining town sure is chilly, but the snow is resultantly that much better than lower cousins Vail and Keystone thanks to the temps, saving powder stashes for longer - if the crowds didn't already get to them. Boasting the easiest beginner terrain in North America, as well as its highest chairlift, Breckenridge ski resort is king for those who don't like synthetic towns, those with modest budgets, those who like wacky celebrations like Ullr Fest and the Bumps Buffet, and those on big band tour come April.


Vail's answer to night-skiing, the slick hard-baked runs are better passed up for North America's largest outdoor ice-skating rink, or maybe a stroll through some of the inexplicable dive bars built into the fashionable 'village' at base. Keystone has upped the ante with new cat skiing in recent years, but is still best suited to the blue family who like to cruise. Arapahoe Basin

It's the anti-resort. Famous for its 'beach' come spring - a parking lot full of Webbers and huskies - A-Basin is like mini-Alta for Coloradoans, who get a rare dose of challenging terrain, and European chutes come spring when East Wall opens. Novelty, beards, telemarkers, management also just opened up Montezuma Bowl out the back for mom and dad.


Competing with A-Basin each year to win title of first resort to open/ last resort to close, Loveland is the 'little mountain that could.' Once home to the highest chairlift in the U.S., Loveland now contents itself on faithful fans (“I Heart Loveland”), and celebrates a mass wedding every Valentine's Day. Charming.

Northern Colorado


“Did you know they have terrain parks?” Whisper billboards off of I-70. And frankly, if you are planning on joining the weekend crawl up the interstate just so you can slide boxes and crash off rails, you might just be better off doing it somewhere closer, without the attitude. Humble and close to Denver, it's a best-kept secret.


A ski resort in the traditional sense, Winterpark gets you out and away, for the famous Maryjane bumps, World Cup competitions, good snowfall and stunning vistas. This isn't a truckstop, this is a legitimate fantasyland north of the interstate, and a fabulous place to take the family and ski, ski, ski.

SolVista Basin

The lesser known of the northern resorts, SolVista is nevertheless a four-season resort and proponent of the more activities available, the better. Family friendly and affordable with easy terrain, this is a great place to get comfortable on those parabolic skis.

Steamboat Springs

Posterboy for skiing in the west, the saloon doors should be looking tempting after a hard days skiing through enviable glade skiing and decent bump runs. With a bonafide 'western' town at the base, there is a mix of affordable and luxury lodging at Steamboat Springs, making this a great destination for groups. Overdo it? There really are hot springs here, take a dip.