The best ski resorts in Colorado

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

Colorado is known for its mountain ski slopes, offering fresh powder for beginners and expert skiers alike. Here’s our take on the best Colorado ski resorts to visit on your next vacation.

Hit the slopes across Colorado. Image credit: ViewApart/iStock
Hit the slopes across Colorado. Image credit: ViewApart/iStock

Home to the famed Rocky Mountains, Colorado is a ski lover’s dream. Known as one of the top skiing destinations in the U.S., millions of visitors each year visit the region for fun in the snow. If a winter wonderland is on your must-see list, these are the best Colorado ski resorts to consider during your trip.

Copper Mountain Resort – Hit the slopes early

Located in Summit County Colorado, Copper Mountain is one of the state’s top ski resorts. Known for opening weeks ahead of other area resorts, this spot is a fan favorite for those who want to hit the slopes as soon as possible. The U.S. Ski Team calls Copper Mountain home early in the season – a testament to this charming Denver Colorado ski resort village.

Copper Mountain is a top destination for its stunning views, a peak height of 2,601 feet, and 2,465 acres of terrain, but its charm lies in its convenient breakout by ski level. The mountain’s geography perfectly divides the resort into three villages – East Village, Center Village, and West Village. The black diamond advanced trails are primarily located to the east and along the back of the mountain, while the smooth yet steep slopes in Center Village are best for intermediate skiers. To the west, beginners will find plenty of easy trails on which to improve their abilities. Individual lifts service each area, avoiding traffic jams at the top of the mountain.

While the resort does get less snow than the surrounding areas, a large and efficient snow-making process via snow-machine more than makes up for it. As long as the temperatures are cold enough, the mountains will be covered.

Visitors to Copper Mountain can choose from a variety of accommodations, from small studios to stand-alone luxury housing, but most guests choose Timber Creek Condominiums in the Center Village for its ideal location for ski-in, ski-out lodging. Center Mountain has the most to offer, but each area of the resort offers lodging, dining, and shopping for an inclusive experience.

Breckenridge Resort – Experience the highest summit in the country

If tall mountains are a thrill, there’s no better place than Breckenridge. One of the best-known resorts in Colorado, this gorgeous ski destination offers big thrills for skiers at all levels. With more visitors over the last several seasons than any other resort, this Colorado ski resort is very well known, and for good reason.

Breckenridge has many perks for visitors, but its expansive slopes top the list. With courses set over five peaks, there’s a little something for everyone – and plenty of room to accommodate all visitors. The resort is known for its high alpine slopes, wide-open bowls, and no-fall chute zones, making it a great choice for adrenaline junkies.

Due to the crowds at Breckenridge, the resort has made its mission to accommodate as many guests as possible in a comfortable way. The Imperial Express SuperChair, one of the largest chair lifts in the world and the tallest in North America, alleviates the pressure, carrying skiers and snowboarders up to a height of 12,840 feet in a matter of minutes. With the ability to accommodate 600 skiers an hour, guests no longer have to take a 45-minute track to reach the summit.

Make use of the ski lifts available across multiple Colorado resorts. Image credit: ViewApart/iStock
Make use of the ski lifts available across multiple Colorado resorts. Image credit: ViewApart/iStock

Those who want an authentic historic resort experience will also appreciate Breckenridge. Unlike newer resorts that favor modern hotels and condo complexes, this resort was built in the shell of an old mining village, creating a quaint and comfortable place visitors can enjoy. The atmosphere is relaxed and casual, with plenty of lodging options and hearty dining destinations.

Keystone Resort – Maximize your time on the slopes

If you’re the kind of person who wants to spend all day and all night on the slopes, Keystone Resort is the place for you. With the longest ski day available in Colorado, you can start your adventure early in the morning and enjoy the mountain until well into the night. Keystone is also known for being one of the best family ski resorts in Colorado, making it a good choice for a ski trip with the kids. From more affordable lift tickets to plenty of classes for new skiers, Keystone is a fun holiday for the whole family.

With a huge park spanning over 3,000 acres and a vertical drop of 3,128 feet, Keystone is a member of what is known as the 3×3 club. All of the available space yields extensive terrain to explore that is ideal for beginning, intermediate, and advanced skiers. Those who are truly experts may not find the adrenaline-inspired adventures here that are present at other resorts, like nearby Arapahoe Basin, but the crisp, clean powder and long days more than makes up for this. Few other resorts in the area offer night skiing, but Keystone’s trails are impeccably lit, resulting in availability until 8 p.m. on select nights – hours later than other resorts.

While Keystone’s spacious landscape is a good reason to visit, the A51 Terrain Park is arguably the best terrain park in the country. Featuring more than 60 acres of creative terrain over six unique areas, snowboarders and skiers will love the jumps, tunnels, stairs, and pipes that make up this impressive array of freestyle opportunities.

The prices at Keystone are lower than those at some of the bigger names, making this a budget-friendly spot for a visit. For those who want comfortable accommodations close to the slopes, Alpine Slopes Lodge is a great choice.

Winter Park Resort – Enjoy diverse terrain on the slopes

If you’re the kind of winter sports enthusiast who loves varied terrain and big mountains, Winter Park is a great choice. This resort is known for mogul runs (slopes dominated by mounds of snow), some of the state’s best snowfall, and stunning slopes in various difficulty levels. With a prime location in Grand County, this is one of the best ski resorts in Colorado for any skier or snowboarder.

Winter Park has more than 75 years of history in the Colorado ski scene. Its long-lasting tenure has resulted in something virtually no other resort can offer: direct access via Amtrak, making it easy to plan an impromptu ski weekend, even when traveling by car is tough due to weather.

The ski terrain at the resort is split into seven categories, each with its own unique focus. This includes open bowls, alpine chutes, mild groomers, and terrain parks, giving all visitors a little something to love. The resort’s specialty, however, is moguls. Colorado is full of ski slopes, but nowhere is better known for challenging mogul runs than Winter Park. With some of the trickiest courses in the country, the Mary Jane Territory trail is a prime location for those who appreciate a challenge.

The resort town doesn’t go above and beyond, like some in the area, which is appealing for hardcore skiers who don’t see a need for trendy bars and clubs. With comfortable luxury amenities, a nice array of dining options ranging from homestyle to high end, and easy access to the slopes, Winter Park is a wonderful place to spend a ski trip.

Skiers and snowboarders are welcome. Image credit: ViewApart/iStock
Skiers and snowboarders are welcome. Image credit: ViewApart/iStock

Beaver Creek Resort – Impeccably groomed mountains in Colorado

When properly-groomed snow is a must, Beaver Creek Resort is the perfect location. This resort prides itself on a modern experience for all skiers, from perfectly groomed snow to fast lifts without lines. As the newest major Colorado ski resort, upscale experiences and overall efficiency are the name of the game at Beaver Creek. As home to the Birds of Prey World Cup Downhill, the resort is consistently dedicated to maintaining world-class slopes throughout the property.

Beaver Creek may not match the size and scale of some of its older competitors, but this resort is dedicated to a luxurious experience as well as top-of-the-line skiing. Its 150 trails provide a great experience regardless of ability, with plenty of steep peaks to attract even seasoned alpine skiers. Most of the terrain is smooth and easy to navigate, with blue and green hills dominating the resort. However, instead of a straight shot down the mountain, skiers here have a chance to enjoy the view as trails wind back and curve all the way to the bottom.

The lift system here is well worth the acclaim; the impressive network of ski lifts can take any skier across the mountain in minutes. The peak of Beaver Creek Mountain is an impressive 11,440 feet, with both the Drink Of Water Lift and the Cinch Express Lift helping visitors enjoy the view. Those hungry for a snack can stop for fresh chocolate chip cookies served daily at 3 p.m. at the base of the Centennial Express Lift.

In addition to a luxurious experience on the mountain, Beaver Creek guarantees pampering when not hitting the slopes. The Osprey Lodge and nearby Beaver Creek Landing offer luxury accommodations with pools, hot tubs, and on-site fitness facilities. For a five-star meal, guests are encouraged to try the renowned Allies Cabin.

Arapahoe Basin Resort – A perfect fit for adrenaline junkies

In many ways, skiing is about adrenaline. The thrill of soaring through the snow and down a mountain is beyond exhilarating – and if this sounds fun to you, you’ll love Arapahoe Basin. Known as one of the most challenging skiing destinations in the U.S., this laid-back resort is where you need to be. Nicknamed The Legend, this resort boasts one of the longest ski seasons in the Rockies, with availability from October to as late as July.

Instead of focusing on amenities and experiences off the slopes, Arapahoe Basin has one mission: an intense array of steep hills, varied terrain, and aggressive slopes perfect for putting skills to the test. The resort is best known for extreme chutes that take true mastery to navigate with ease. The intimidating East Wall serves as a backdrop to the entire resort, offering stunning views that get the blood pumping while waiting in lift lines. Off-piste skiing is fantastic here, too, with skiers carving their own custom paths down the mountainside.

There’s a reason this resort is considered the best of the best for those who love a real challenge. While there are some beginner and intermediate courses, most of Arapahoe Basin is aimed at those who see skiing as a sport, not a recreational activity. This makes it a competitive destination, and simply dropping the name is a bragging right.

Unlike other resorts, Arapahoe Basin is a little sparse on places to stay at the foot of the mountain. Most visitors choose the lodges and luxury chalets in nearby Keystone, just minutes away, creating a two-in-one ski weekend or week-long vacation perfect for lazy days on the slopes and intense feats of athleticism alike.

Vail – Visit the crown jewel of Colorado skiing

Every skier, from those new to the sport to seasoned experts, would be familiar with Vail, one of the best-known ski resorts in the world. Considered the biggest ski resort in Colorado and known for its variety, grooming, and charming accommodations, Vail is a must-visit for skiers.

With a massive terrain spanning over 5,000 acres, Vail has plenty of slopes, appealing to skiers at all experience levels. A mega-resort in a world of smaller destinations, this spacious property pleases experts seeking extreme chutes to small groomers for those just getting their bearings.

The resort spans two sides of the mountain – the frontside is comprised of smooth, well-maintained slopes while the rear is dominated by fresh powder at an incredible height of 11,570 feet. The terrain varies greatly as well, with steeps, glades, and bumps along many of the more advanced runs. This combination makes Vail a great family ski resort in Colorado, offering a diverse approach to the skiing experience.

The resort village is spread across three primary areas: Golden Peak, Vail Village, and Lionshead. With a decidedly European feel, these neighborhoods are dotted with luxury chalets, hotels, cozy eateries, and delectable restaurants, giving visitors everything necessary to enjoy the trip of a lifetime. It’s also within an hour of the Denver airport, making travel fast and easy.

Colorado is a beautiful state all year round, but its skiing is second to none. If you plan to take on the slopes of the Rocky Mountains, there’s no better way to visit than staying in a top Colorado ski resort. Be sure to book a professional Blacklane car service to and from your luxury Colorado ski resort.