The coldest season in Colorado is almost upon us, which means one thing – it’s ski season! The snowflake-covered mountains will be dazzling shades of green as ski resorts around the state reel in visitors from near and far.
It’s a glorious time of the year, and one that’s rich in adventure and activity. Stunning powder snow, perfect skiable terrain, and rustic mountain charm await those who dare to venture outdoors. The next best season to visit is between April and June to get the most out of the skiing experience.
Although the air may be balmy at night, the daytime temperature can feel a lot different, especially if you are coming from a cold climate. You’ll want to be prepared for the cold, which means either bringing along all your winter clothes or swapping them for summer ones. The good news is you can take a few smart measures to minimize the discomfort caused by the temperatures. We’ve compiled a list of the cheapest and most frugal ski resorts in Colorado, which you should know and consider before going on any ski adventures this winter holiday:
Aspen is a bustling hub for adventure and action-seeking skiers and snowboarders. The elevation is perfect, reaching 10,000 feet, and the snow stays on for several weeks, meaning there’s always the opportunity for some outdoor recreation. The nightlife in Aspen is legendary, drawing visitors from near and far.
The town is full of energy and buzz, with numerous bars and restaurants serving international food as well as Colorado specialties like craft beer and whiskey. There’s also a farmers market and various festivals throughout the year, adding to the allure. Some of the best cheap resorts for skiing and boarding are:
- Silverthorne – Less than an hour away from Aspen
- Wolf Creek – One of the most stunning mountain ranges in North America
- Red Rocks – Similar to Aspen but on the outskirts of the city
- Arapahoe Basin – Near Denver International Airport
Jackson Hole is a chic ski resort in Wyoming, drawing visitors with its luxurious accommodation and gourmet restaurants. The town is picturesque, with a relaxing pace of life and stunning scenery. If you are looking for a quiet and scenic retreat, Jackson Hole is for you.
The Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is in the center of town, providing amazing panoramic views and the opportunity to practice your skiing or boarding skills. The ski village is small but offers a real European vibe, with some top-notch restaurants and bars. The main drag is filled with shops, galleries, and local cafes offering diners food and drinks, while live music is often on offer across the street. Jackson Hole is home to some fabulous restaurants, offering unique American and European fare, so there’s something for everyone. Some of its best known restaurants include:
- Sage Bistro – Bringing Colorado cuisine to Wyoming
- Beaver Creek – Classic American bar and grill
- Sunrise Lodge & Café – Famous for its spectacular breakfast and live music scene
- Muddy Creek Bar & Grill – An old-school American bar and grill that serves up some pretty mean fried chicken
- Buffalo Billiards – One of the oldest bars in Jackson Hole, this place serves up massive steaks and lots of beer
- Red’s Cocktail Lounge – An old-school bar and grill that’s been serving up some seriously mouth watering eats since 1921
Vail is best known for its skiing and nightlife. The mountain is actually a peninsula, with chairlift #1 bringing you up there in a few minutes. Once you’re at the top station, you’ll be greeted by stunning views of the town and its lights. The snow stays on for several weeks, meaning there’s always the opportunity for some outdoor recreation.
The vibe in Vail is truly unique. Instead of you feeling like a tourist, the feeling is more of being at home in a beautiful mountain town. The historic village is picturesque, with cobbled streets, stone buildings, and lots of boutiques and cafés. There’s also a vibrant nightlife, with various bars and restaurants offering live music and entertainment. You may well find yourself joining in with the locals as they socialize before and after dinner.
One of the best things about Vail is how accessible it makes the resorts further south. You can easily reach any of the other Colorado ski resorts from Vail – Buena Vista, Beaver Creek, and Breckenridge. That’s a lot of skiing and boarding for the low price of one lift ticket! Some of the best resorts for skiing and boarding are:
- Ski Apache – For beginners only, this one-run hill is one of the longest in North America, providing outstanding panoramic views
- Ski Cooper – A good choice for families, this one-run hill has a nice mix of blues and greens on offer
- Breckenridge Ski Resort – For fans of Dick Brewer, this is the place to be – the American master of waffle making, who pioneered the idea of the ice cream sandwich in the 20s
- BV Station – Another great ski town with plenty of beginner and intermediate runs as well as some amazing nightlife
- Canyoneers – One of the cheapest resorts in Colorado, located in a majestic canyon, offering some fantastic panoramic views
- Telluride – One of the most famous ski resorts in America, known for its challenging backcountry terrain and awesome nightlife
- Lake Granada – On the border of Colorado and Wyoming, this quiet resort caters to snowboarders and fans of the X-Games, with the additional bonus of some great fishing spots nearby
Located on the banks of the mighty Colorado River, Steamboat Springs is a year-round getaway for anyone looking for a relaxing vacation. The village is picturesque, with old-fashioned log cabins next to newly constructed condominiums. The setting is breathtaking, with panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and the river.
The mountain is actually a large series of connected lakes, offering magnificent backcountry terrain for experienced skiers. The skiing isn’t amazing, but it’s enough to keep the adventure enthusiasts coming back for more. In addition to the skiing and lakes, Steamboat Springs is known for its hiking, fishing, and wildlife-watching opportunities. If you like fishing, the Colorado River is teeming with fish and provides some of the best fishing in North America. Some of the best resorts for fishing are:
- Marble Mountain – Huge crowds and fabulous chairlift access make this an excellent choice for families
- Hangman’s Park – A great place to hook a trout, with loads of parking and easy access
- Cherry Creek State Park – One of the biggest and best state parks in Colorado, offering an incredible number of hiking and fishing trails
Wolf Creek is located in the majestic Colorado Rocky Mountains, near the Wyoming state line. The whole resort is composed of four lakes held in the cupped hands of the majestic snow-capped Rocky Mountains. Although the setting may be grand, the skiing isn’t, with mostly intermediate and advanced terrain, expert terrains, and lots of off-piste terrain. There’s also a Turoy (a type of mountain pasture), which is a great place for kids to play in the snow.
The nightlife in Wolf Creek is pretty good too, with several bars and restaurants, as well as a nightclub with live music. There’s also a small shopping center with a movie theater where you can spend the evening, forgetting that you’re even in a town.
One of the best things about Wolf Creek is how accessible it makes the other resorts in the area. It’s only an hour or so away by car, and the skiing is good enough that it doesn’t require a skilled ski instructor to enjoy some magic flurries. Some of the best resorts for skiing and boarding are: