By Laura Pellerine
Colorado is known as one of the best spots in the U.S. to hit the slopes, and it’s no wonder: the Colorado Rocky Mountains offer over 50 majestic mountain peaks higher than 14,000 feet, plus it’s known for its heavy snowfalls and plenty of sunshine (300-plus days a year!).
At this ski hot spot expect a range of varied terrain, you’ll find everything from smooth beginner runs to thrilling bumps and moguls for the experts. Even better are the area’s many ski Colorado vacation rentals that offer romantic getaways, ski-in/ski-out lodges and family-friendly condos.
With many world-class mountains to choose from, it can be difficult knowing where to begin. Here are some highlights to get you started:
Aspen: One of the state’s most famous ski areas, known for celebrity spotting and black-diamond runs. Don’t let that intimidate you though, Aspen’s Buttermilk ski hill is known for having some of the country’s best trails for beginners.
Don’t miss: The nightlife scene—this historic ski town is flooded with laid-back pubs, hot dance clubs, sophisticated lounges and even a cigar bar.
IMAGE: On a clear day, the Rockies’ mountain peaks seem endless!
Beaver Creek: Nearby Avon, Colorado, find 1,800 acres of skiable area here, as well as three villages: Beaver Creek Village, Bachelor Gulch and Arrowhead. Open since 1980, this upscale, family-friendly getaway has played host to several alpine skiing World Cup events and is known for its well-groomed trails that get buffed 20 out of 24 hours a day.
Don’t miss: Fresh-baked cookies every day at the base of the Centennial Chairlift at 3 pm, and Thursday Night Lights ski runs starting at 6pm with fireworks displays afterwards.
Breckenridge: This rustic resort is less expensive than Aspen and Vail, and you’ll get your money’s worth with 155 trail runs for all ski levels to choose from. Plus, if the nearby town looks familiar, you might recognize it from the movies National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and Dumb and Dumber.
Don’t miss: Don a hard-hat and join a 45-minute tour of the historic Country Boy Mine in town, then try panning for gold (there’s no time limit).
IMAGE: This shot was taken on North America’s highest chairlift, Breckenridge’s Imperial Express Superchair… notice I’m holding on!
Telluride: Its 125 trails offer a good mix of challenging routes for all levels of skiers including the lightning-fast “The Plunge” for more advanced skiers. As a bonus for those starting out, many of the easier runs go up to some of the highest peaks—a rare treat.
Don’t miss: Heliskiing and snowboarding—the only resort to offer the experience in Colorado. The company Helitrax is well recommended.
IMAGE: Perhaps the best feature of Telluride is the short-to-none-existent lift lines!
Vail: Home to the largest ski resort in the U.S. with over 5,000 acres of slopes to swoosh across. Its three distinct areas offer up a wide range of trials to match every level of ski enthusiast’s capabilities with seven back bowls, 193 trails, and 34 lifts.
Don’t miss: The on-site Colorado Ski & Snowboard Museum and Hall of Fame is open every day except Mondays. Inside find exhibits and artifacts celebrating the area’s (and the world’s) rich heritage in winter sport, including “snurfers” (early versions of the snowboard), antique skis and vintage skiwear.
IMAGE: One can also find world-class shopping in the heart of Vail village, pictured above.
About Laura Pellerine: An active traveler and ski enthusiast, Laura is a part-time travel blogger for Luxury Retreats, a company specializing in both beach and ski rentals.