For winter sports enthusiasts and slope newbies alike, few states boast a wealth of ski resorts quite like Colorado. At the best resorts in this Rocky Mountain region, you'll find powdery snow, winding trails, and varied terrain to suit every skier. When it comes to après-ski, however, every location brings something new to the table. From foodies looking for fine dining to workaholics in search of relaxation, every snow-seeking traveler can find their dream trip in Colorado.
One of the world's largest ski resorts, Vail is home to over 30 lifts, almost 200 runs for all skill levels, and over 5,000 acres of pure skiing bliss. For pillowy powder slopes, unlike anywhere else in Colorado, you have to check out Vail's Blue Sky Basin. This resort is also a culinary hotspot filled with delectable dining establishments where you can refuel after a long day of skiing. Vail Village is the place to be for world foods like sushi and tacos. Alternatively, try restaurants in Lionshead for the best grills and BBQs.
For a luxury skiing experience in Colorado, you can't get much better than Telluride. Popular with celebrities like Ralph Lauren and Oprah Winfrey, this resort offers several upscale four and five-star boutique hotels where you can rest your head. After a free gondola ride 10,000 feet up, find your thrills on one of Telluride's challenging double black diamond trails or learn the ropes at a beginner run. Once you're done skiing, relax your mind and body at Peaks Resort — the largest spa in the entire state.
Another world-famous ski resort, Aspen Snowmass, comprises four mountains, each with its own quirks to suit skiers of all ages and abilities. Casual travelers staying downtown can hit the slopes at Aspen Mountain between activities. Aspen Highlands is known for its legendary bowl, filled with turns to challenge any expert. Beginners, on the other hand, will feel at home on Buttermilk's gentle terrain amidst gorgeous glades. Finally, for a catch-all experience that the whole group will enjoy, there's always Snowmass Mountain itself.
Every ski season, families flock to the fun slopes of Breckenridge, where most of the trails are suitable for young and fledgling skiers. That said, venture out a little further, and you'll find a sprawling, high-alpine area that only the most avid enthusiasts discover. Of course, the charming Victorian town is what really makes Breckenridge shine. On your down days, head to the unique arts district to take a pottery class or catch a theater performance.
If there's one thing Steamboat is known for, it’s the resort's trademarked Champagne Powder snow — so crisp and airy, it feels like champagne bubbles under your skis. Alongside the distinctively fluffy snow, another of Steamboat's highlights is its ski school. The town has trained more winter Olympians than any other in the country, so excellent year-round teaching has become a specialty. Even the most expert skiers can learn something on a trip to this resort.
At Beaver Creek, the slopes have been groomed to sun-soaked perfection. The winding trails here — from beginner cruisers to steep, downhill courses — leave little to be desired. However, the icing on the Beaver Creek cake has to be the impeccable service. Lines are kept short at every lift, and staff are speckled across the terrain to help you out at a moment's notice. Attention to detail and premium amenities abound, giving travelers at this resort a truly first-class experience.
Without a doubt, Winter Park is one of the most diverse ski resorts in Colorado. This town is split into the Seven Territories, and each one is a must-visit. The views at Vasquez Ridge on a bluebird day are unbeatable, and the panoramic scenes of Parsenn Bowl will score likes on any Instagram feed. Likewise, Terrain Park features jumps and trails suitable for all skill levels, while Mary Jane is best for a more laid-back experience.
Travel to Keystone, and you won't ever have to leave the resort. This ski destination is a top choice for convenience, with world-class trails, fine dining, and down day activities all in one location. It's a popular pick for family vacations, made even more suitable thanks to the numerous Kidventure Zones: fun themed trails and camps that any young skier will love. Adults who want to get away from all the buzz, on the other hand, should ski over to the River Run Gondola.
For a ski experience off the beaten path, try Colorado's Copper Mountain resort. The atmosphere here is decidedly more laid-back — even on the diamond trails — and the down-to-earth vibes extend to après-ski too. At Copper Mountain, nightlife is exchanged for vibrant afternoon-life, with several live music venues throughout the week and a quirky build-your-own Bloody Mary bar on weekends.
Arapahoe Basin is best known for its remarkably long ski season, serving early birds and late bloomers from October all the way through to June. Known as A-Basin to the regulars, this resort is home to some of the best trails for intermediate skiers in search of thrilling terrain and stunning mountain views. When you're all skied out, the on-mountain dining options are the perfect end to the day. The resort's European bistro, Il Rifugio, is the highest restaurant in North America, and the food is just as incredible as the location.