A state so special it gets its own post. We originally planned on making this piece "The 10 Best Ski Resorts in Central U.S.", however, the list was almost exclusively all in Colorado (no surprise there) so we called an audible. Allow us to present to you - the ten best resorts that you'll find in the absolute gem of a state.
Aspen Snowmass Ski Resort
Aspen Snowmass is actually four mountains (Aspen Mtn., Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk, and Snowmass) combined into one resort. All four combine for an astonishing 5,527 acres of terrain, all accessible with one single lift-ticket (no wonder why the rich love this place so much). You can find everything you would ever want at Aspen Snowmass including glades, bowls, legendarily steep terrain, parks, and kids areas. If you're looking for a bougie snowboarding getaway, this is definitely the place the do it. Say hi to Kim K for us...
Arapahoe Basin Ski Area
Rated the #1 most challenging terrain in Colorado, Arapahoe is called 'The Legend' for good reason. The resort features 1,428 acres of terrain, of which a staggering 73% is rated black or double-black. This is THE place to go for Colorado's steepest in-bounds runs and "spicy" backcountry-style riding. Not sure what the "spicy" means but I'm sure it's good. If the steepness doesn't give you the thrill you're looking for, the heights might. Arapahoe has the third highest ski-area peak in North America sitting at an incredible 13,050' above sea level.
Fun Fact: Araphoe Basin Ski Area has been open for snowboarding on the 4th of July, seven times! Most recently in 2019. Packs some burgers and dogs in the snowboarding bag this year...
Breckenridge is another one of those household names in the winter sports community. With just under 3,000 acres of terrain, (40% of which being high alpine) Breckenridge is a massive resort in both size and elevation.The resort is part of the Rocky Mountain's Ten Mile Range and is made up of five peaks in total. Each peak has its own claim to fame - whether it be breathtaking scenery, spine chilling steepness, glades, etc. Breckenridge will provide you with everything that you desire and then some.
The photo at the top of this post is their trail map to give you an idea of Breck's scope.
Copper Mountain Resort
Just 75 miles from downtown Denver lies Copper Mountain, known as "The Athlete's Mountain". 155 trails make up over 2,500 acres of just about every type of run you can imagine. There is even a terrain park and half pipe if you're feeling a little sendy while you're there. If you find yourself riding with beginners or maybe just wanting to take in the scenery, Copper has a near top-to-bottom green trail ensuring you can take it easy should the day call for it.
Crested Butte Mountain Resort
Directly South of Aspen Snowmass (although not an easy drive by any means) lies Crested Butte Mountain, a unique looking peak sitting completely distinguished from the surrounding scenery. The resorts boasts 121 trails split nearly equally amongst beginner, intermediate, advanced, and expert terrain. Apart from a couple of blues, the summit of the mountain is entirely covered in extreme double-black diamonds. As quoted from the CB website, "Extreme limits are not for the faint of heart. This terrain is the next step beyond double diamond with extreme steep pitches and blind cliffs, and should only be entered by the most intrepid." If black diamonds just haven't been doing it for you lately, you may want to take a trip over to the Butte*.
*I don't know if people actually call it that, but it felt necessary.
Keystone Ski Resort
Located about 77 miles west of Denver lies Keystone Resort with over 3,000 skiable acres, 130 trails, and even a little night skiing. The resort offers a variety of terrain for snowboarders of all abilities, however 49% is classified as "most difficult". Keystone is known for their five bowls, which historically have only been accessible by foot. However, thanks to an expansion project the Bergman and Erickson bowls will be available via lift starting in the 2023/24 season.
With over 1,000 acres of tree-terrain, Keystone is perfect for those looking to snowboard away from the groomers. The resort even offers a day of guided cat snowboarding guaranteed to expose you to fresh powder and "secret stashes". Let us know what you find out there...
Loveland Ski Area
Located in the Rockies, Loveland Ski Area boasts one of the longest snowboarding seasons in the U.S., typically open yearly from October to May. The resort averages an astonishing 400" of snow per year, receiving nearly half of that total already this season.
The main part of the resort known as Loveland Basin offers wide-open cruisers, trees, bumps, and a variety of bowls. Almost 13,000' up you'll find what's known as "The Ridge" which provides 480 acres of open, steep, and deep terrain. Loveland even provides free snowcat rides up to Golden Bear peak providing riders access to some of the resort's most thrilling terrain. Who wants to earn their turns aways?
About three hours from Denver lies Steamboat Springs which really needs no introduction. The old ranching town turned snowboarding paradise offers 3,000 acres of terrain, which has been covered by 260" of snow so far this year. This resort is actually its own mountain range comprised of Mount Werner, Sunshine Peak, Storm Peak, Thunderhead Peak, Pioneer Ridge, and Christie Peak (It's not often that you can say you rode an entire mountain range in one day). The resort has two terrain parks with just about every feature you can imagine including an outdoor sound system.
However, probably the most interesting fact about Steamboat is that they have trademarked their snow. Yes, you read that right. Coined "Champagne Powder", Steamboat's unique snow averages 6% water content compared to the 15% water content found in the snow at most other locations. Take a trip out there and find out for yourself if the Champagne Powder lives up to the hype.
Telluride Ski Resort
Located in the Rocky Mountains of southwestern Colorado lies a resort known for its stunning scenery, challenging terrain, and abundant snowfall. Telluride features over 2,000 acres of a variety of terrain including steep chutes, open bowls, and groomed cruisers. The resort also has two terrain parks with features suitable for every skill level. For those seeking a little added adventure, Telluride has one of Colorado's best heli-ski operations, servicing an incredible 250 square miles of terrain.
Fun Fact: Telluride is home to Alpino Vino, the highest elevation restaurant in North America sitting just under 12,000' above sea level. It's time to take après-ski to the next level!
Vail Ski Resort
With nearly 5,200 acres of Terrain, Vail is one of the largest and most popular ski resorts in the U.S. They're known for their backcountry terrain, especially Blue Sky Basin, which provides a 360 degree views of the surrounding peaks. Averaging nearly 400" of snow per season, the bowls at Vail are a powder chasers paradise. Vail also boats five-star grooming capabilities, so whether you're on or off the trails, you're guaranteed to have an unforgettable experience.
Between its vast variety of terrain and vibrant aprés-ski scene, Vail has cemented itself as one of the go to resorts for a snowboarding vacation. If you are looking to for a snowboarding destination that literally has it all, Vail is definitely worth checking out.