7 Colorado Ski Resorts You Might Not Know About
Submitted by alison on Sat, 11/15/2014 - 3:17pm
We know that you’re familiar with Steamboat and Breckenridge. You’ve skied Vail dozens of times. You made opening day at Arapahoe Basin or Loveland a couple different years. Maybe you fantasize about those waist-deep days at Wolf Creek or heli-skiing at Silverton. You’re an expert on Colorado’s top ski destinations. If you’re looking for a new experience, there are still plenty of ski areas just a little ways off the beaten path. And while you may not have spas and 5 star restaurants dotting the slopes, you’ll make up for the no-frills style with minimal crowds, great prices, a laid back environment, and easy access to the best terrain. Here are our 7 favorite Colorado resorts that you may not know about.
Sunlight Mountain Resort
Located just outside of Glenwood Springs, Sunlight prides itself on its bargain-prices and non-existent lift lines. With 3 lifts and 67 trails on 680 skiable acres, the mountain offers predominantly beginner and intermediate terrain with 25% of terrain listed as advanced or expert. A day pass averages around $45 (compared to over $100 at resorts like Aspen and Vail) and parking in the base area is free. A couple of lodging options are available at the mountain with additional lodging in nearby Glenwood Springs.
Eldora Mountain Resort
Just 20 miles from Boulder, Eldora offers some of the most convenient skiing and riding for the Front Range. 11 lifts service 680 acres of skiing, including 2 terrain parks. The mountain also hosts a Nordic center, as well as ski and snowboard lessons, rentals, group packages and more in a laid-back, unpretentious environment.
Monarch is the hidden gem of powderhounds. Located in central Colorado just a short drive west of Salida, Monarch’s 800 acres seem to be perfectly positioned to catch storms headed for both the northern and southern parts of Colorado. The hike-to terrain of Mirkwood Basin and the onsite cat skiing tours (not to mention the minimal crowds) offer still more opportunities to get fresh turns.
Ski Granby Ranch
Formerly known as SolVista Basin, Ski Granby Ranch takes pride in its superior level of service and top notch ski school, perfect for first timers and families. In addition to its 406 skiable acres, the mountain offers a variety of lesson packages, including the “Get on the Snow!” package, which includes 2 full day lessons and a free season pass. More experienced skiers and riders can take advantage of Granby Ranch’s night skiing on weekends.
Powderhorn Mountain Resort
Perched on the Grand Mesa of Colorado’s Western Slope, Powderhorn enjoys soft powder and some of the best tree skiing in the state with glades ranging from intermediate to expert in addition to groomed trails. 1600 acres of terrain means you’ll have plenty to explore without worrying about long lift lines or crowded slopes. On mountain dining and lodging are available as well as options in nearby Grand Junction.
Tucked in the center of Colorado, just north of Leadville, Ski Copper offers incredible value for all ages and ability levels. Powder skiers will love the 2400 acres of cat skiing on Chicago Ridge while beginners can take advantage of a variety of lesson packages and a large learning area. Just want to spend a few days? Check out the 4-day XP Pass for $99.
Opened in 1915, Howelsen’s top claim to fame is that it is the oldest ski area in Colorado. Located in the heart of Steamboat Springs and owned by the city, it also a top training ground for some of the world’s top international skiers and home to a renowned ski jumping complex. For recreational skiers, Howelsen has 4 lifts and 17 alpine trails in addition to 13 miles of Nordic ski trails. Lift tickets top out at just $25 for a day.
Whether you’re a first time skier looking to get a great deal on a lesson package, a family on a tight budget, or a veteran of the slopes hoping to try something new, Colorado’s lesser known ski areas have plenty to offer.