Everyone knows Colorado’s heavy-hitter ski resorts, Vail and Telluride. Still, fewer people know that you can actually ski Colorado much more affordably and with fewer crowds by seeking out the lesser-known resorts and ski areas. Colorado has plenty of opportunities for powder-lovers of all experience levels. Here are a few of the lesser-known, but highly noteworthy skiing options in Colorado.
With 400 acres and 39 trails, Cooper embodies a rich history. Cooper is situated a few miles from the highest incorporated town in the United States, Leadville, Colorado. Established as a snow troopers’ training ground for the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division in 1942. The ski area has something for everyone, from beginners to more advanced skiers and is more affordable than most. Full-day adult lift tickets are $54, and children’s full-day tickets are $34.
If excitement and adventure is your thing, Silverton is the in-bound big mountain experience you’re seeking. This mountain is not for the inexperienced skier; there are no groomed or beginner-level trails here. With its elevations topping out at 13,487, Silverton lays claim to the steepest and highest ski area in North America. To ski and ride here, you are required to have backcountry and avalanche gear. With one ski lift, one helicopter, and 26,819 skiable acres, you’re in for an action-packed adventure.
Wolf Creek Ski Area
Nestled in Colorado’s snowy San Juan mountains, you can find this family-owned gem. Best known for deep-snow trails, it’s one of the snowiest places in the state, accumulating approximately 400 inches of snow annually. What began with just a single rope tow has grown to a 10-lift network. Wolf Creek possesses beginner-friendly terrain and a commitment to sustainability, recently becoming the first ski area in the U.S. to be 100% powered by alternative energy, utilizing a combination of both wind and solar power.
Kendall Mountain Recreation Area
If you’re looking for an affordable, family-friendly ski destination, check out Kendall Mountain. Here, adult lift tickets cost just $25 and kids five and under ski for free. They offer several special events throughout the ski season, including night skiing, a winter carnival, and a ski with Santa event for the little ones. Not only that but if you also enjoy ice skating, there’s a free ice rink open dawn to dusk throughout the winter! Skate rentals are available at the base lodge while the ski hill is open. While you won’t find overly ambitious ski slopes here, there’s so much more than skiing available, so it’s perfect for a winter family getaway.
If you’re headed to Colorado for a ski vacation, these areas are places you may want to consider in order to save money and avoid the crowds.