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The 5 Best Ski Resorts Near Denver

You land at Denver International Airport and pick your ski bag from the piles of oversized luggage at baggage claim. Now what?

Colorado has been one of North America’s premiere ski destinations as long as the concept has existed. But while the scenery’s still scenic and the steeps have stayed steep, resorts have exploded. With ski-town luxury, high-speed six-seaters, learning zones, and overwhelming terrain options, choosing a place to ski-cation can be an unenviable task.

Let us help. If you’re looking for the best ski resorts near Denver, all two hours or less from the DIA rental car facility, look no further.

best ski areas near denver
PHOTO: Carl Frey, Winter Park Resort

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Copper

The Skinny: Located 100 miles from Denver, Copper exists in its own small snow globe. It’s close enough to Frisco, Dillon, and Silverthorne to make a reasonable commute—but you may not have to. All of Copper’s lodging sits within walking (or bussing) distance of a chairlift. Restaurants abound. And for a mountain with so much terrain variety, it’s easy to navigate. Cat skiing off the backside, jump lines of all sizes, and fun learning terrain give the mountain family-wide appeal.

Why we love it: If the kids have any gas in the tank post-ski-day, sign them up for a session at Woodward, Copper’s barn-turned-freestyle-training ground. They learn flips on trampolines and foam pits while you sample international whiskies at High Rockies Whiskey and Wine Bar. Now that’s vacation.

Don’t miss: Did we mention restaurants? Grab buffalo mac and cheese at Mountain Melt, located near the base of the American Eagle chair.

best ski resorts near denver copper
Copper lives in its own world. | PHOTO: Courtesy of Copper Mountain

Winter Park

The Skinny: Maybe you’ve heard of the absolute nightmare that Interstate 70 can become. Booking a trip to Winter Park comes with an opportunity to avoid highway life. Ride the ski train from Union Station to the mountains. Then head straight for Mary Jane to burn your quads down some of the best mogul runs in the state.

Why we love it: Winter Park is a legitimately eclectic mountain. The main village and the terrain above it blend all the resort comforts you look for when you take a ski vacation to Colorado. Head over to the Mary Jane side, and you get a smaller-scale scene with a local vibe and more difficult terrain. That means tree shots, bowls, and far-reaching ridges that stash powder.

Don’t miss: There’s no better playground on a powder day than the Mushroom Patch.  Now go find it.

best ski resorts near denver winter park
Winter Park’s got it all. Even cute snow bunnies. | PHOTO: Courtesy of Winter Park Resort

Breckenridge

The Skinny: For a slightly longer drive, you get a full-blown Colorado ski town set against some of the best scenery in the state. Breck weighs in as Colorado’s 7th largest ski resort and one of the most popular in North America. Trails, lifts, and bowls distributed across four peaks spread skiers out, and the on-mountain vibe can be decidedly laid-back for such a buttoned-up resort.

Why we love it: If you find yourself lapping the steeeeep tree shots off E Chair on a powder day, you’ve found Colorado Valhalla. Contrast that authentic ski experience with your extensive dinner, apres, and fireside choices, and you see why Breck loyalists say their spot has it all.

Don’t miss: Drink a Vanilla Porter at Breckenridge Brewery, and sip bourbon from Breckenridge Distillery Simple as that.

best ski resorts near denver loveland
Loveland’s big recent upgrade, replacing the old Chair 1 with the Chet’s Dream high speed quad, cut ride time from eight minutes to just over three.

Loveland

The Skinny: The first ski resort up the Interstate 70 corridor west of Denver gives you plenty of reason not to keep driving. Which is what most people do.

Why we love it: Way above the cluster of the highway, Loveland’s wide open terrain gives you ample space to explore and play. The snow cat on the ridge and the steeps off Chet’s Dream mix things up. Seemingly constant wind buffs out stashes even when it hasn’t snowed in a while. Folks pile into the Rathskeller Tavern, the lone apres spot at the base. This is a skier’s mountain through and through.

Don’t miss: Traverse and hike looker’s left atop the summit ridge for rolling shots and bowls with alpine aesthetic.

best ski resorts near denver arapahoe basin
Views beyond the Arapahoe Basin East Wall give the place a rugged appeal.

Arapahoe Basin

The Skinny: “The Legend” was already plenty, well, legendary. Then Arapahoe Basin added extensive new terrain a year ago, including a bevvy of open tree runs, a new bowl, and some of the steepest, gnarliest in-bounds terrain in Colorado. Now it may just boast the best terrain mix in the state. Better yet, if you catch it on a gray, uncrowded midweek day, it feels like lift tickets still cost $5.

Why we love it: How about this itinerary? Huck the cornice off Cornice Run into fluff to get your ski legs under you before dropping into The Beavers for long tree alleys. Get skinny and hit a couple rocks down The Steep Gullies before you hike the East Wall for even bigger chute skiing. Then rip the infamous Pallavicini bumps. And that’s all before lunch.

Don’t miss: The 6th Alley Bar & Grill makes a worthy Bloody Mary. But if that’s not your scene, grab a grapefruit-happy Ruby Mule.

Hit the High Country in the summer too!

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