Looking for the best ski resorts in Colorado? An local Coloradans we’ve picked the top three ski resorts that belong on your bucket list.
Colorado is the first state most people think of when planning a ski holiday in the U.S. Its long, sunny winters are combined with insane powder days and plenty of iconic resorts.
But there are over 30 official ski resorts in Colorado, so how do you know which ones are worth putting on your bucket list?
Mike and I have been skiing and snowboarding together for years. We actually met in the ski town of Steamboat Springs and Colorado is home to us, so we have all the local tips!
Over the years, we’ve visited nearly all the noteworthy ski resorts throughout Colorado and are happy to share our top picks.
These three Colorado ski resorts should be on every skier’s bucket list, and we’ll tell you why they should be on yours, too!
Top 3 Colorado Ski Resorts For Avid Skiers 2024
Before we get into the list, I should mention that these resorts aren’t the ones with the most trails, best prices, the most accessible, or other metrics you’d find on most lists of the best ski resorts in Colorado.
Instead, we’ve picked the three Colorado ski resorts that are the most iconic and memorable.
These resorts have a long history of being fan favorites in Colorado both locally and across the United States.
1. Steamboat Springs
Annual Snowfall: 267 inches
Trails: 170+ named trails
Difficulty: 12% beginner, 38% intermediate, and 47% advanced
Steamboat Springs Ski Resort in Colorado is our personal favorite, and it’s the #1 ski resort you should add to your bucket list.
The village is incredibly charming, especially in during the holidays and you’ll notice that despite the tourists, it somehow retains the feeling of a hidden gem.
Many Colorado ski towns have become all about catering to tourists and visitors. However, there are still a lot of small local restaurants in Steamboat and a tight-knit community that we love being a part of!
Steamboat’s ski resort is spread across a complete mountain range, from Mt. Werner to Sunshine Peak, Storm Peak, and Thunderhead Peak and is one of the snowiest resorts in Colorado.
It’s known for its Champagne Powder, which has a much lower water content than regular snow, leading to virtually unmatched powder days in Steamboat!
This unique powder creates a one-of-a-kind skiing experience and is one of the main reasons why skiing here feels different than anywhere else in Colorado.
There is also a second ski resort just 5-10 minutes away called Howelsen Hill which is free on Sundays and is the oldest continuously operating ski area in the US. It has more of a ‘local vibe,’ but experts also frequent this ski hill because it has North America’s largest natural ski jumping complex!
The final reason Steamboat is a bucket list ski resort is because there are so many things to do outside of skiing. You can go snowshoe hiking, snow tubing, shopping, and even visit the local hot springs!
Annual Snowfall: 300 inches
Trails: 187 named trails
Difficulty: 13% beginner, 23% intermediate, and 64% advanced
Another one of the most coveted ski resorts in Colorado is Breckenridge, or to us locals, it’s simply called ‘Breck.’
People love to book their holiday in Breckenridge mainly because of the epic combination of world-class skiing and a cozy mountain village. It’s one of the most charming ski towns, especially at Christmas, with many shops, restaurants, and breweries around every corner.
The town is lively and full of history. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time while walking down Main Street due to the 19th-century buildings from the Gold Rush era.
Breckenridge is also one of the snowiest resorts in the state and has received a whopping 254.25 feet of snow over the past decade, with roughly 76 powder days each year.
You’ll find over 180 unique trails across five different peaks making it one of the best spots in Colorado for winter fun. Even if you spend a week here, you’ll never get bored!
The mountain also caters to all levels of skiers, whether you’re a newbie to the slopes or a seasoned pro looking to carve up black diamonds!
Plus, Breckenridge is far enough from Denver (roughly 2 hours) that it rarely gets crowded with day trippers.
Outside of skiing, the town is a huge part of what makes Breckenridge a bucket list destination!
In the winter, the village hosts a number of fun events. A couple of the most popular are Ullr Fest and the International Snow Sculpture Championships, but something is happening almost every weekend.
As a frequent visitor to Breckenridge, I can say without a doubt that the ski town and slopes are exceptional. When Mike and I want to get out of Steamboat, this is the first place that comes to mind.
Annual Snowfall: 276 inches
Trails: 147 named trails
Difficulty: 16% beginner, 30% intermediate, and 55% advanced
Colorado’s final bucket list ski destination is Telluride, which is on the opposite end of the state, in the San Juan Mountains.
The ski town is tucked into a box canyon, and the view from anywhere in town is awe-inspiring. It feels like the mountains are literally on top of you.
Telluride has its own airport, but most people fly into Grand Junction, which is a little over 2 hours north. To some, this remote location is a downside, but it does keep it from getting overcrowded and adds to the ‘exclusive’ vibe of the ski resort!
The slopes of Telluride are a skier’s dream.
The resort spans over 2,000 skiable acres, with many long, groomed runs, deep powder, and some of North America’s most dramatic and exhilarating in-bounds skiing.
There is also a nice variety of easy-to-advanced trails, making it great for all skiers/snowboarders.
Another super cool aspect is that the town and slopes are basically one. Visitors can ride right off their last run and unstrap their boots right in town.
That means you can easily take a lunch break or grab a drink at one of the many bars at Après Ski without any extra planning or transportation!
As for the town of Telluride, it truly feels like the Old West. Like nearby towns like Silverton and Ouray, the history here is directly tied to the Gold Rush and Silver Mining Era.
While exploring Main Street, you’ll be treated to an array of boutiques, art galleries, and delicious eateries with indoor/outdoor seating. Although expensive and definitely upscale, the town still eludes a laid-back vibe that we live in a ski village.
Telluride is also well known for its cultural scene. The town is home to a vibrant arts community and hosts numerous festivals throughout the year, including the famous Telluride Film Festival. It’s also one of the dreamiest towns in the Rockies around Christmastime.
Telluride Ski Resort is such a beautiful place to visit, and it’s one of Colorado’s ski resorts we believe everyone should see at least once!
What ski resort has the best snow in Colorado?
Breckenridge has the best snow in Colorado, with an average of 25 feet each year and a unique fluffy powder known as “Champagne Powder.”
What is the best month to ski in Colorado?
Usually, the best month to ski in Colorado is February. This is when the base depth of the snow is deepest, and there are still plenty of powder days putting fresh snow on the trails.
Where in Colorado does it snow the most?
Colorado gets the most snow in the snow haven of Crested Butte, which is difficult to reach from Denver, but it does have an excellent ski resort and charming village. A great alternative is the Aspen-Snowmass ski area.
The Wrap-Up: Bucket-List Ski Resorts In Colorado
You really can’t go wrong skiing in Colorado. There are a bunch of incredible ski resorts, but these three should be at the top of your bucket list.
Of the three we talked about, Telluride and Breckenridge are slightly more expensive than Steamboat, so if you’re looking for the most affordable vacation this winter, we would recommend visiting Steamboat Springs.
However, we’re probably a bit biased, having created so many lifelong memories together there!