Skiing and snowboarding in Colorado is a special experience, thanks to the impressive Rocky Mountains and plentiful snowfall. While each resort has something unique to offer (like tours of old mining shafts in Breckenridge, for example), the best ski resorts in Colorado have two major things in common: great winter weather (allowing a longer ski season) and tough-yet-exciting terrain that makes for an unmatched skiing experience.
And one of the best parts about skiing in Colorado is that so many resorts are included in the Epic Pass, which lets you buy one lift ticket or season pass for 37 different resorts around the world (and several on this list).
At these Colorado ski resorts, you can test your skills, learn the slopes, and even enjoy some charming non-skiing activities that are perfect for every member of your family.
Vail Ski Resort
Just a few hours from Denver, Vail is a winter sports paradise that promises non-skiers just as much to do. Up on the mountain, more than 5,300 skiable acres welcome adrenaline junkies, with the longest run clocking in at a whopping four miles. At the base, enjoy a picturesque stroll through the town of Vail, where you’ll find heated cobblestone streets and chalets that look like they belong in the European Alps. In December, head to the town for Vail Snow Days, a free, four-day music festival.
Find it: Vail
Steamboat Ski Resort
When you ski at this northwest Colorado resort, you’re actually skiing on a complete mountain range with several peaks over more than 2,900 acres. The resort prides itself on being family-friendly with free lift tickets for kids 12 and under with the purchase a 5-or-more day adult lift ticket. When you're not on the slopes, warm up those muscles at one of the area hot springs. Plan to visit in February for the annual Steamboat Winter Carnival, where you’ll see kids on skis being pulled behind horses down the main street.
Find it: Steamboat
For skiers and snowboarders looking to extend their riding experience, this resort is the place to be. It opened in early October this year, its earliest opening in more than 20 years. When you’re not skiing the more than 3,000 acres of terrain, hop on a scenic sleigh ride for some festive Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer vibes, or get your cardio in with snow biking, which is something like a cross between skiing and downhill mountain biking. Kids (and kids at heart) will appreciate the daily cookie time and events like the Ripperoo’s Village Parade.
Find it: Keystone Resort
Telluride Ski Resort
With varied mountain terrain (with nearly 60 percent dedicated to beginners and intermediates), this resort has something for everyone. When you’re not hurtling down the mountain on skis or a snowboard, you can still enjoy the mountain views with a guided snowmobile or snowshoeing tour. Looking to combine your adrenaline fix with some history? Head to the Telluride Historical Museum where you can participate in a Ski into History Tour for a unique perspective on the mountain.
Find it: Telluride Ski Resort
This large and versatile resort has 2,908 skiable acres spread over five peaks with 187 different trails, ensuring there is a way to get down the mountain for everyone, from beginners to experts. Down below, the charming town, which started as a base camp for the gold rush in the 1850s, welcomes visitors with architecture that harkens back to the old west and historical tours that explore its gold panning and mining past.
Find it: Breckenridge
Crested Butte Mountain Resort
This is one of the best ski resorts in Colorado for advanced skiers or snowboarders in search of a challenge: 53 percent of its 121 runs are considered advanced or expert level. Take a guided lesson to explore the mountain’s extreme terrain, or sign up to ski with an Olympian to really test your skills. Later, head out on a winter zip-line tour to see the mountain from a different perspective or relax with a stroll down Elk Avenue, where Victorian architecture welcomes you to explore the small shops.
Find it: Crested Butte
Beaver Creek Resort
After a long day exploring the mountain’s 1,800 skiable acres and 150 trails, reward yourself with some candy — the Candy Cabin is located 9,840 feet up at the top of a pair of lifts. Dedicated skiers will want to sign up for First Tracks, where they’ll get access to untouched runs starting at 7:15 a.m. Later, lace up your skates and hit the ice skating rink in the middle of the village, or head out on a Winter Wine Excursion — a guided snowshoe tour with a wine pairing — for a festive afternoon.
Find it: Beaver Creek
This chic and celebrity-favorite Colorado ski resort area is actually four different resorts that combine to form one of the most varied ski and snowboard experiences in the country. Check out Buttermilk, where you’ll find the home of the Winter X Games as well as a learning area for younger skiers, or head to Snowmass for more than 3,000 acres of skiable terrain and a 5.3-mile-long run. After a long day on the slopes, hit some of the area’s high-end après ski options or indulge in a little luxury shopping on the quaint village streets.
Find it: Aspen Snowmass
Copper Mountain Resort
Get to know this resort’s terrain with a free mountain tour or a free snowshoe tour — there’s 2,490 skiable acres and more than 140 trails at Copper Mountain Resort, so there’s certainly a lot to explore. The Snow Playground is perfect for kids, and bigger kids will love the Rocky Mountain Coaster, featuring 5,800 feet of track for an adrenaline-pumping winter ride.
Find it: Copper Mountain Resort