Colorado is known for its crisp mountain air and dry, powdery snow. And with 55 peaks higher than 14,000 ft. (4267 m), the views can’t be beat. Along with all the beauty provided by Mother Nature, Colorado also provides ski visitors with plenty of other entertainment including shopping and dining and film festivals.
Aspen – Aspen has long been the favorite ski destination of the rich and famous and now boasts some of the most expensive real estate in the United States. The main resorts of Snowmass and Aspen Mountain dominate the town and its history. Aspen Mountain was founded as part of a Utopian social experiment in the 1940s and today retains a unique atmosphere reflecting its idealist beginnings.
Aspen today has a cosmopolitan vibe. The town’s rich cultural spirit includes lectures at the Aspen Institute, author readings at the Aspen Writers Foundation and live theater at Theatre Aspen.
Telluride – You get two for one when you make a trip to Telluride and its uniquely connected neighbor of Mountain Village. Telluride is the original mining and ski town founded in the 1800s while Mountain Village is its extreme opposite. Connected to Telluride by a free, breathtaking Gondola ride, Mountain Village is a planned residential and tourism community built in 1995. The theme is that of a European mountain town. Visitors to the area often stay in one town and take advantage of the free ride for dinner in the other.
The Telluride Ski Resort has 127 runs with an even mix of beginner, intermediate and expert slopes. The longest run is Galloping Goose at 4.6 miles (7.4 km).
Vail – Thetown ofwas actually developed around the ski resort of Vail which is the largest single-mountain ski complex in the U.S. Vail is on the map as a top ski destination, having hosted the World Alpine Ski Championship in 1990. The resort has 193 runs with enough black diamonds to keep adrenaline junkies busy for days. There are plenty of intermediate and beginner slopes also.
Beyond the slopes, Vail is home to the Colorado Ski & Snowboard Museum with exhibits on skiing, snowboarding and history including the history of the Ski Patrol and military ski training for World War II.
Purgatory – Located near the picturesque mountain town of Durango, don’t let Purgatory’s name scare you away. The ski area offers all types of terrain for all levels of skiing ability, as well as all the amenities. Also known by its gentler name, Durango Mountain Resort, it boasts 85 runs with a good portion appropriate for intermediate skiers.
The town of Durango has a rich western history as a mining town in the 1800s. The town is now a major tourist draw with an authentic old-west style downtown.
Steamboat Springs – Steamboat Springs lies 150 miles (241 km) from the capital of Denver. Steamboat promotes itself as world-renowned and family-friendly ski destination. There are 165 runs, mostly of the intermediate and advanced variety, but still with plenty of options for beginners. For the kids, there is night time snow tubing.
Skiers, ranchers and artists mingle easily in the relaxed atmosphere of the town of Steamboat Springs. This eclectic mix has its roots first from the town’s origin as a mining and ranching center. Skiers and artists began to flock to the natural surroundings in the 1960s and 1970s. In addition, the whole area is dotted by natural hot springs.
Whether you are a skier or a non-skier, Colorado is a diverse and eclectic state with something to interest just about anyone.