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Top Ski Resorts in Colorado

by Danielle Maxey
Breckenridge, Colorado

Breckenridge, Colorado, USA town skyline in winter at dawn. Stock photo by Sean Pavone via Envato Elements.

Known for being the outdoor adventurist’s haven, visitors flock to Colorado at all times of the year to enjoy the numerous outdoor activities. And when winter comes around, Colorado is known as being the home to world-class ski and snowboard destinations—26 of them, for those who are counting.

With so many to choose from, it can be hard to narrow down. Here are the top ski resorts in Colorado for skiers and snowboarders looking to check out some of the best terrain and après-ski (after-ski) life on their next winter trip.

A Colorado favorite, Crested Butte offers some of the best in-bounds extreme terrain in the state. With great side-country, expert skiers love the ski area. There is something for everyone else on the mountain though too, so beginners and intermediates won’t feel out of place. There is plenty of lodging both in the resort and around the town.

Once you are done for the day, head over to Secret Stash in town for some of the best pizza in Colorado. Beginners check out Mineral Point, intermediates should head to Paradise Bowl, and experts get out to Teocalli Bowl.

Close to Denver, Breck, as the locals call it, is many people’s first stop when exploring the top ski resorts in Colorado. The terrain here is well spaced for the different levels. So those learning will have a hard time finding themselves on extreme terrain and those looking to ski blacks all day can ski these areas to their heart’s content.

Experts will enjoy the terrain off Imperial Express, the highest ski lift in North America. After ripping around all day on Breck’s amazing list of terrain, beginners (and everyone) should take the scenic 4 O’Clock Run down to town.

Afterward, explore the village of Breckenridge, with plenty of apres-ski spots to choose from.

Another Front Range resort, Winter Park tends to be a favorite among skiers. If you’ve seen the ‘No Pain, No Jane’ sticker, you’ll be happy to know you have found the place. Mary Jane, one of the seven areas on Winter Park, is known for its steep moguls (bumps) and trees with the occasional cliff throughout.

It also has Panorama Bowl, a great place for intermediate skiers and snowboarders to ride their first bowl. The front side offers a wide variety of terrain park levels and has some amazing beginner runs. Each area offers a different area to relax on the mountain too, so you can take a break between those leg-busting runs.

Head to Pepperoni’s at the base of Mary Jane for reasonably priced pizza slices.

Love skiing through aspen trees with tons of light, fluffy snow? Powder-hounds will love hitting Steamboat, known for plenty of ‘champagne powder’ days. It’s also known for some great terrain parks and is the home resort for many Olympic athletes.

Those who enjoy hiking and side-country will be ecstatic to know that Steamboat has opened up more terrain this year for enthusiasts with the avalanche gear and knowledge to get themselves there. Skiing down the front side at the end of the day provides an amazing view of the town and valley.

After a day on the resort, head up to the Strawberry Park Hot Springs. Just know that, after dark, clothing is optional.

There is a good reason Aspen is so famous. Those looking for the glitz and glamour of the ski towns need look no further than Aspen.

Aspen Snowmass actually has four ski areas: Aspen Mountain (or Ajax as the locals call it), Buttermilk, Highlands, and Snowmass. Each offers something different. Those looking for the local experience head to Ajax, while those who enjoy the resort experience should check out Snowmass.

Beginners and park rats head to Buttermilk, where the famous X-Games are hosted every January. Experts should head over to Highlands. Here, you can hike up to Highland Bowl where skiers and riders can find some of the steepest inbounds terrain in Colorado. The Cloud 9 Bistro is here too, which diners can enjoy the high life — if they can get a coveted reservation.

If you have skied even just one day, you have probably heard of Vail. This resort is the largest in Colorado and the second largest in the U.S., so skiers of all abilities will find something to love in the area.

Experts may find themselves back in the Blue Sky basin where they can hang over the famous “Lover’s Leap” before deciding to take the plunge. Those who favor less extreme terrain will enjoy the front sides of the mountains, which provide great views.

Afterward, check out some of the local eats down in Vail Village or check out one of the three ice rinks.

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