Which ski resorts are near what Colorado towns?

Image of a person skiing at Snowmass in Aspen, Colorado

Colorado is a world-class ski and snowboard destination, thanks to its abundance of the Rocky Mountains. From nearly any popular tourist destination west of the plains, there will be at least one ski area nearby, if not several resorts to choose from.

The most commonly visited spot for skiing and snowboarding is Summit County, thanks to its close proximity to Denver and multiple ski resorts. You can be there in less than an hour and a half, traffic pending from the capital. Vail and Beaver Creek lie just a little further in Eagle County, at two-plus hours.

While this is great for day-trippers and those with season passes, if you’re more flexible in your destination then the whole Colorado Rockies are your playground.

Image of a person skiing at Snowmass in Aspen, ColoradoSkiing at Snowmass in Aspen. Photo: Kevin Chang

If you put in at least three hours drive away from Denver and the masses, then you can expect shorter lift lines and maybe even a few extra deals around town. Steamboat, Aspen, Crested Butte, and Telluride are among the most popular mega-resorts whose distance excludes front-range day-trippers.

Wolf Creek, Powderhorn, Monarch, and Purgatory are some of the locals’ favorites for their great skiing away from the crowds, plus laid-back vibes and reasonable prices. Sprinkle in a few other hidden gems and family-friendly ski areas, and there’s something for everyone. Let’s take a look at the closest skiing and snowboarding to the most popular winter destinations.

Here are the ski resorts near ________, CO, in alphabetical order: (click anchor link to jump to town)

We also prepared an alphabetical rundown of the 30+ ski areas in Colorado, if you’d prefer to browse by resort instead of town.

Image of signs at Arapaho Basin Ski Area in ColoradoSigns at A Basin. Photo: Arapahoe Basin Ski Area

Ski resorts near Alamosa

While Alamosa isn’t a traditional winter destination by any means, both Wolf Creek and Monarch can be enjoyed in less than an hour and a half. The real off-season draw is the Great Sand Dunes, for a time away from the crowds with the evening stars so bright. The closest ski areas to Alamosa, CO are:

Ski resorts near Aspen

Where the beer flows like wine and yadda yadda, Aspen is probably the most iconic ski town in Colorado. Boasting the “Power of Four” in reference to their 4 epic ski resorts, the riding here is world-class. Aspen Mountain trails directly into town and Snowmass boasts more ski-in/ski-out accommodations than any other resort in the state. The closest ski areas to Aspen, CO are:

Read more about the ski resorts near Aspen.

Ski resorts near Avon/Beaver Creek

Vail’s Eagle County neighbor isn’t to be overlooked. The town of Avon is the gateway to Beaver Creek Resort and its own charming alpine village. It’s as luxurious as Vail and while the resort isn’t quite is big, it spans several mountains and base areas. The closest ski areas to Avon, CO are:

Ski resorts near Boulder

Boulder’s local mountain is Eldora, situated just west of Nederland on the continental divide. Although it’s not among the largest resorts in Colorado, it’s got a great variety of terrain for all abilities. Otherwise, Boulder isn’t too far north and the same resorts close to Denver apply here as well. The closest ski areas to Boulder, CO are:

Ski resorts near Breckenridge

Breckenridge might be the most popular ski town in the state, given its close proximity to Denver and impressive historic district. It’s backed up by 5 peaks and 2900+ skiable acres. Breck shares an Epic Pass with another Summit County resort, Keystone, and Eagle County resorts, Vail and Beaver Creek. The closest ski areas to Breckenridge, CO are:

Read more about the ski resorts in Summit County.

Ski resorts near Buena Vista

Buena Vista is a hot springs destination, so sleep easy knowing the R&R part of your ski holiday is covered. Leadville is the closest town north on Highway 24, where you can access Ski Cooper for some affordable lift tickets and a small resort atmosphere. For a big variety at good rates, Monarch is also pretty close to BV. The closest ski areas to Buena Vista, CO are:

Read more about the ski resorts near Buena Vista.

Ski resorts near Colorado Springs

For those enjoying the Olympic City this winter, there’s a back way to Breck, via Highway 24 west 9 north. So you can still day trip to a top-tier ski resort. Otherwise, save a few dollars and take on Monarch Mountain. Salida makes a great basecamp for this long road trip if wanting to spend the night. The closest ski areas to Colorado Springs, CO are:

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Ski resorts near Copper Mountain

Copper Mountain is a Summit County favorite for lessening the crowds that others like Keystone and Breck receive. Although Copper still gets plenty busy and has three base villages that come alive during the winter season. From here you can reach a slew of top ski areas. The closest ski areas to Copper Mountain, CO are:

Ski resorts near Crested Butte

If you’re coming all the way to Crested Butte, then that is the resort you’ll be skiing. For true beginners looking to save a few dollars and support a local city-run ski area, consider Cranor Hill south in Gunnison. Whether it opens each season depends on the weather. The closest ski areas to Crested Butte, CO are:

Ski resorts near Denver

Locals love the Mile High City because of its proximity to the Rocky Mountains. While Salt Lake City might boast closer ski areas, Denver has a stellar lineup of resorts all found within a couple of hours or less, ideal for day-trippers.

But the smart (traffic-hating) travelers will stay the night (or depart the resort by noon) and avoid I-70’s notorious bumper-to-bumper jams on Saturday and Sunday afternoon/evening. The closest ski areas to Denver, CO are:

Read more about the ski resorts near Denver.

Ski resorts near Dillon

Nestled on the eastern banks of Dillon Reservoir, this non-ski town is surrounded by resorts. Heading south on Highway 9 wraps around to Keystone and A Basin. Or cross the lake and drop south to Breck or west to Copper. Dillon makes a good base too for skiing Loveland on the opposite side of the tunnel. The closest ski areas to Dillon, CO are:

Ski resorts near Durango

Durango isn’t quite the traditional ski town since the primary resort is 30 minutes to the north. However, it’s a top-notch destination any time of the year. There’s a ski hill for learning in town, Chapman, plus Hesperus boasts the next step up in your progression, a little further out, even featuring some expert runs.

Purgatory is a fun mountain to shred and Telluride is possible to day trip to or go in for a night. The closest ski areas to Durango, CO are:

Read more about the ski resorts near Durango.

Ski resorts near Estes Park

The gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP), Estes Park is a cool winter stop. The nifty Larimer County town is located at the northern start of the Peak-to-Peak Byway, which you can take south to Nederland and visit Eldora, relatively quickly, and exceptionally beautiful. The closest ski areas to Estes Park, CO are:

Ski resorts near Fairplay

Save a few dollars on your hotel accommodations by choosing to stay in South Park when you ski Breckenridge. It’s located on the opposite side of Hoosier Pass, so it’s a relatively quick 30-minute drive up and down to Summit Co.  The closest ski areas to Fairplay, CO are:

Ski resorts near Fort Collins

Those in the northern front range by Loveland and Fort Collins don’t have any real close options for downhill resort skiing. Aside from backtracking all the way to Denver to head west on I-70, Eldora is northern Colorado’s locals favorite. The closest ski areas to Fort Collins, CO are:

Ski resorts near Frisco

Home of the “Main Street of the Rockies”, Frisco is a terrific Summit County town. It’s close to Breck, Keystone, A Basin, and Copper, all within about 15-20 minutes each. Plus Frisco boasts its own alpine adventure park with a little learning hill and snow tubing. The closest ski areas to Frisco, CO are:

Ski resorts near Glenwood Springs

The hot springs mecca of Garfield County is home to Sunlight Mountain. Although it’s a little drive away from town, the journey will be worth it for the dry, western snow, and tree skiing if you’re into it. Then retreat back to relaxing Glenwood Springs for a soak. Quick road trips to the Aspen/Snowmass collection are in play too. Stay in Carbondale to split the difference.

The closest ski areas to Glenwood Springs, CO are:

Ski resorts near Granby

Tucked away north of Winter Park in Middle Park, Granby is a ski town itself. It holds the ever-expanding Granby Ranch, which aims to elevate year-round recreation in the region. The local ski area is geared towards beginners, so you’ll want to head south to Winter Park for a bigger challenge (and vertical). It does have night skiing tough. The closest ski areas to Granby, CO are:

Ski resorts near Grand Junction

Out on the far western slope in Mesa County, sits Grand Junction, a gateway to Colorado National Monument. The sizable city of more than 65,000 residents, isn’t known for its high snow-capped peaks. You’ll need to head south to the San Juans or back east to reach the big ones. Powderhorn is the local mountain on the Grand Mesa, at under an hour’s drive to GJ.

The closest ski areas to Grand Junction, CO are:

Read more about the ski resorts near Grand Junction.

Ski resorts near Grand Lake

Grand Lake is almost hidden away in the wintertime, located north of Granby. And as the western gateway to RMNP, it’s quite a sleepy town in the winter, especially because Trail Ridge Road to Estes Park is closed. The main draws are snowmobiling and ice fishing. Or just retreating away from the world for a weekend. Both Granby and Winter Park are easy morning drives down from Grand Lake.

The closest ski areas to Grand Lake, CO are:

Ski resorts near Idaho Springs

Although its local ski area has opened and closed and changed names over the years, Idaho Springs (IS) has long been a convenient basecamp for downhill skiing and boarding. In between IS and Evergreen, Echo Mountain is a unique ski resort for Denverites.

The vertical is limited, but so are lift lines. Echo has night skiing and terrain park features, otherwise, it’s just a learner’s hill. Loveland though, is a fast drive, traffic pending, and has 1800 acres of skiable terrain. The closest ski areas to Idaho Springs, CO are:

Ski resorts near Keystone

Situated just around the corner on Highway 6 from the hub of Summit County, Lake Dillon, Keystone holds its own world-class resort. As the largest ski resort in the county (over 3,000 acres), Keystone has everything, including a chairlift and gondola up from the base to speed things up. Five minutes away, A Basin has the longest season in the county, sometimes riding into July.

The closest ski areas to Keystone, CO are:

Ski resorts near Leadville

Leadville is the highest elevated ski town on the list. Located about 15 minutes away from town, Ski Cooper was a former training site for the 10th Mountain Division. Views of the state’s tallest peaks, Elbert and Massive, hover in the distance. Ski Cooper expanded their terrain a few years back, now offering some advanced riding. Copper, Vail, and Beaver Creek are easy, scenic drives.

The closest ski areas to Leadville, CO are:

Ski resorts near Ouray

The “Switzerland of Colorado”, Ouray doesn’t boast any mega-resorts like its Alps-moniker. However, it has a little learning hill and a relatively simple day trip to Telluride, less than an hour and a half. Silverton Mountain is doable via the Million Dollar Highway, but it’s reserved for experts only. Purgatory lies a little further south on Highway 550. The closest ski areas to Ouray, CO are:

Ski resorts near Pagosa Springs

Like its southwest neighbor Durango, Pagosa’s big ski resort lies about thirty minutes from town. Wolf Creek though is worth the trek, as its motto is “the most snow in Colorado” and statistically, it averages 550 inches…wow. The trio of hot spring resorts in town awaits your return. Moreover, Purg could be added to your ski trip, so maybe spend a night in Durango too.

The closest ski areas to Pagosa Springs, CO are:

Ski resorts near Pueblo

The southern front range plains city of Pueblo isn’t a popular winter destination, mostly because it’s further from the slopes. However, it’s a good branching-off point for going into the central and southwest parts of the state. The closest resort is Monarch, about two hours west, so a doable same-day round-trip. Wolf Creek is also a fairly near resort at two and a half hours.

The closest ski areas to Pueblo, CO are:

Ski resorts near Salida

Like the aforementioned, Glenwood, Durango, and Pagosa, Salida’s local resort is about thirty minutes away. So it’ll feel less like a traditional ski town, however, Salida has plenty to offer the tourist. From its large historic district to in-town hot springs and access to the San Luis Valley and its hot springs, it could be a pretty fascinating holiday. The closest ski areas to Salida, CO are:

Read more about the ski resorts near Salida.

Ski resorts near Silverthorne

The first town most pass through in Summit County is Silverthorne. It lies on the western slope of the continental divide a long way down from the Eisenhower Tunnel. The access to ski resorts is as good as any town on the list. And Frisco, Keystone, Dillon, Copper Mountain, and Breckenridge provide more fun in your backyard. The closest ski areas to Silverthorne, CO are:

Ski resorts near Silverton

Secluded Silverton doesn’t attract a mass of skiers and snowboarders, instead, only a few advanced riders are there on a mission. For non-expert locals and family there is Kendall Mountain Recreation Area, which has both ice skating and a tiny downhill ski area. Purgatory is south of town and an easy day trip. The closest ski areas to Silverton, CO are:

Ski resorts near Steamboat Springs

The Yampa Valley has long attracted skiers during the winter for its legendary champagne powder. Its light, fluffy snow, and abundance of tree skiing hides stashes long after other resorts would’ve run out of fresh tracks. The nearby Howelsen Hill provides additional night skiing, plus affordable tickets and a steep little pitch on its main trail. There are hot springs too.

The closest ski areas to Steamboat Springs, CO are:

Read more about the ski resorts near Steamboat Springs.

Ski resorts near Telluride

The furthest ski resort from Denver in the state is Telluride. While that certainly keeps the crowds lower, Telluride is still a mega draw for anybody in the know. The resort packs a massive vertical, interesting terrain, and a first-class lifestyle. If you got the budget, you can’t go wrong booking your ski holiday here. The closest ski areas to Telluride, CO are:

Ski resorts near Vail

Home to the largest ski resort in the state, Vail pulls in tourists from all over the world. The resort has over 5,000 acres, including its legendary back bowls. They are the stuff of dreams on a powder (week)day. Vail’s two-base villages are Austrian-inspired and pack a myriad of opulent accommodations, shops, and dining. Beaver Creek is just down the road on the same lift ticket.

The closest ski areas to Vail, CO are:

Read more about the ski resorts near Vail.

Ski resorts near Winter Park

On the western slope of Colorado, and on the opposite side of Berthoud Pass from I-70, lies Winter Park. It’s an excellent resort. The plethora of terrain is suitable for everybody, the town sufficient for nightlife, and Hot Sulphur Springs not too far away if you have a vehicle.  There are two snow tubing hills in neighbor Frisco and Ski Granby Ranch is less than thirty minutes north.

The closest ski areas to Winter Park, CO are:

Read more about the ski resorts near Winter Park.

Image of a skier in Keystone, ColoradoAlpine skiing at Keystone Resort. Photo: reid.neureiter

Colorado’s Rocky Mountains support over thirty active ski areas each season. From huge to tiny and expensive to cheap, there is a downhill ski area for you. Have a blast out there, read up on some skier lingo and remember that the downhill rider has the right away.

In addition to the dozens of ski areas, there are snowcat and heli-skiing outfits for those looking to shred the backcountry gnar. With experienced guides and untouched powder, you’ll create some lasting memories.

Author: Charles Morgan