Colorado Ski Resorts

Colorado Ski Resorts
Given its long ski season and ample snowfall, there are many ski resorts in Colorado. Skiing is actually an important part of the state's heritage. Back in the 1800s, during the Colorado mining era, skiing was a form of transportation. During World War II, soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division trained at Camp Hale, which was located near Vail. When they returned from the war, many of the veterans opened ski areas throughout the state, which remain some of the most popular Colorado ski resorts today.

Resorts Near Denver and Boulder

Winter Park, Eldora, Echo Mountain, Berthoud Pass and Loveland are the five ski areas that are less than two hours from the Denver/Boulder Area. Winter Park is the largest of the five. Since it is operated by Intrawest, it is also the most commercial and therefore offers the most modern lift system as well the most amenities.

In contrast, Berthoud Pass offers lift-serviced backcountry skiing. This is a die-hard ski area, so don't expect any fancy amenities.

The terrain parks and half pipes are are the primary focus at Echo Mountain. As such, it is a popular venue for snowboarders.

Due to its proximity to Boulder, Eldora is a popular resort for Boulder residents, who would rather not deal with the traffic into Summit County.

Since traffic tends to be heavy on the way to the Summit County resorts, many people choose Loveland, an independently owned ski area with free parking close to the lifts. Loveland is famous for its Mountain Matrimony, a group wedding celebration that takes place on Valentine's Day.

The Summit County Resorts

The Summit County resorts are the most popular in Colorado. They are located southwest of Denver, within a two-hour drive. Keystone, Breckenridge and Arapahoe Basin are owned by Vail Resorts, and have reciprocal lift tickets. Nearby Copper Mountain is owned by Intrawest. The Summit County ski resorts are all served by the free, Summit Stage Bus system. Since they are relatively close to each other, many people plan multi-resort vacations in this area.

Upscale Resorts

Vail, Beaver Creek and Aspen are Colorado's luxury resorts, offering high-end amenities, first-class accommodations and expensive lift tickets. Vail and Beaver Creek are located within 10 miles of each other, both owned by Vail Resorts. Lift tickets for the two ski areas are interchangeable.

Aspen is about a two-hour drive southwest of Vail and Beaver Creek. It actually consists of four mountains: Aspen, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk and Snowmass. Lift tickets for these mountains are interchangeable.

Southern Colorado Resorts

Telluride, Durango, Silverton, Kendall Mountain, Crested Butte and Wolf Creek Pass are located in Southwestern Colorado. Since they are not located within close proximity to any airport, they are usually less crowded. These resorts, especially Wolf Creek, get excellent snow conditions.

Northern Colorado Resorts

SolVista and Steamboat are the only two Northern Colorado resorts. SolVista is a small area, which has mostly beginner and intermediate terrain. Steamboat is another Intrawest resort, and has terrain for all levels.

Article Written By Lisa Mercer

In 1999, Lisa Mercer’s fitness, travel and skiing expertise inspired a writing career. Her books include "Open Your Heart with Winter Fitness" and "101 Women's Fitness Tips." Her articles have appeared in "Aspen Magazine," "HerSports," "32 Degrees," "Pregnancy Magazine" and "Wired." Mercer has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the City College of New York.

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