Hitting the Slopes in Colorado
No other U.S. state can rival Colorado’s mountains, gold rush history, white water rivers, ghost towns, guest ranches, mountain climbing, Old West trains, and plateaus and canyons—not to mention ski resorts. Colorado is the country’s ski capital; no other state even comes close.
To continue with our month-long discussion on popular destinations for the upcoming months, this week’s topic is Colorado, with an emphasis on its ski resorts.
For more in-depth learning, enroll in our newly revised North America Destination Specialist Course, containing sales tips, updated key attractions and activities, historic highlights, seasonal nuances, and more for Canada and the United States. This course is part of our Premium Access Lounge, which gives you access to ALL Destination and Niche Market courses.
As always, be mindful of the varying reopening dates, operating hours, and availability of attractions and accommodations and be sure to consult sources like Colorado’s Department of Public Health & Environment and the U.S. State Department before booking your clients.
Now, go through your CRM and start thinking of clients who would love a visit to The Centennial State.
Deep powdery snow, a sunny climate, and the summits of the Rockies make Colorado one of the world’s best ski destinations. Excellent conditions, augmented by the resorts’ snow making capabilities, make for a long ski season.
Colorado’s resorts, which vary in size and character, draw nearly 10 million people each season. The array of lodging includes luxury hotels, bed-and-breakfasts, and ski-in/ski-out condominiums. Families with different levels of ability can ski together in a relaxed atmosphere in family ski zones, while the adventurous can opt for guided extreme skiing. Some of the more well-known resorts are:
Winter Park: 65 miles west of Denver and 25 miles north of I-70; for all levels; three interconnected mountains; extensive well-groomed trails for cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, and snow-tubing; its high elevation ensures late-season skiing.
Keystone: 60 miles west of Denver and just south of I-70; three mountains with skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, cross-country skiing, dog sledding, and snowmobiling.
Breckenridge: 80 miles west of Denver and 9 miles south of I-70; for skiers of all abilities across four peaks on the Ten Mile Range of the Rockies; many ski-in/ski-out lodgings and conference facilities; thriving year-round resort with large historic districts.
Copper Mountain: 75 miles west of Denver on I-70; award-winning trails over naturally separated terrain for beginning, intermediate, and expert skiers; guided extreme skiing, above-timberline bowls, and cross country trails; chair-lift rides continue in the summer for mountain viewing. The mountain is the starting point of the Colorado Copper Triangle, a road cycling circuit.
Vail: 97 miles west of Denver on I-70; one of North America’s largest single-mountain ski resorts. Vail is modeled on European ski towns, many of which are car-free, and the town is partially pedestrianized. Many affluent visitors choose Vail for its variety of terrain and lifts, excellent snow conditions, top-class resorts and condo complexes, and social climate. Vail is also a summer resort and golfing center.
Beaver Creek: 10 miles west of Vail; a resort of solitude and beauty; home of a top-rated ski school; a reputation for fine service and family atmosphere but close to Vail’s entertainment and après-ski activities.
Ski Cooper: near the mining town of Leadville. It markets itself as a family resort because of its affordability and accessibility. It has ample beginner and intermediate terrain and all-natural snow.
Aspen Snowmass: elite, internationally known resort and celebrity playground. In winter, the shorter route from Denver is closed, making the only route via I-70 to Glenwood Springs and then a 40-mile jog southeast. Many travelers fly in from Denver. Bus and van shuttles are available. Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk, and Snowmass are just some of the ski areas that are part of the Aspen complex. Aspen is a year-round destination, hosting seminars, institutes, and the widely known Aspen Music Festival.
Other ski resort areas are spaced around the state at farther distances from Denver. They include Steamboat Springs and Howelsen, northwest of Denver; Crested Butte, south of Aspen; and Telluride, in the rugged southwest part of the state, and nearby Purgatory. There also are ski areas between Boulder and Rocky Mountain National Park.
The majority of ski areas are summer playgrounds as well. Some accommodation complexes are closed except during the winter season, but other locations have made an effort to become year-round resorts. The number of golf courses in the resort areas has quadrupled in recent years. The state is emerging as the U.S. mountain bike capital, with ski trails serving as bike trails in summer. Ski lifts are convenient for transporting bikers and bikes to mountaintops.