What kind of Colorado skier or boarder are you?

Steamboat, Colorado

With 28 rocking ski areas scattered across the state, and some of the best snowfall to be found in the USA, it can be hard to narrow down the best resort for you in Colorado – so we’ve done it for you.

Whether you’re a big mountain skier, more après than piste, love the groomers or someone who enjoys the finer things in life, there is something in this state for you.

Take your pick or tick off all 28 on your bucket list.

The big-mountain skier

Colorado is the land of big mountains, with more acres of terrain and more vertical than you can wave a fat ski at.

If you want to start with somewhere super hardcore, go for Silverton Mountain. Take the lift to a hundred percent double black, off-piste powder skiing – just forget about the groomers, because there’s none to be found here.

Or try Aspen Highlands where over 65% of the resort is double black and you can take the 45 minute hike to the famous Highlands Bowl for a steep and deep descent. Telluride thoughtfully offers steel stairs to ascend to get to some of the best chutes in the big mountain business and Arapahoe Basin is opening up over 450 acres of new advanced terrain this season.

The powder-obsessed

Those in the know head to Wolf Creek. They’re known for consistently having some of the best snow in Colorado, with an average of 465 inches (18 metres) annually. Then round off your trip with some powder laps at Steamboat, which has eighteen chairlifts and gondolas to choose from. They’re so stoked on the quality of their Champagne Powder that they’ve trademarked it.

Cat Skiing Aspen Photo: Steve Goff

While you’re there, take a cat with Steamboat Powder Cats for fresh virgin snow every time. Speaking of cat skiing, you also won’t go wrong with Aspen Powder Tours or try the cat operators at Silverton, Crested Butte, Keystone and Vail.

First timers

First time on snow? Beginners are spoiled for choice with Keystone’s learning areas, including plenty of ‘slow zone’ runs that keep things nice and mellow for those just finding their feet on the snow. The ski & board school is excellent and there’s a small chairlift, Ranger, for new skiers and boarders to tackle, plus plenty of runs accessible via the gondola for those who aren’t quite confident with getting off the chairlift. The best part? One of Keystone’s learning areas is located over 11,500ft up, meaning that even the learners won’t be missing out on any epic views.

Families

The Tree House child care centre at Snowmass is so much fun that you won’t want to leave, and neither will your kids. Vail Mountain has the coolest kids zones with fun ski runs through magical forests and cowboy western themed elements. Steamboat offers a full kids festival every year and the kids will love the nearby Strawberry Park Hot Springs for a soak after a day on the slopes. Or try Copper Mountain for skiing and ice skating, zip linking, dog sledding.

Luxury

You can’t go past Beaver Creek for ski-in, ski-out, next-level luxury. Chefs offer complimentary hot baked cookies at the base of the slope every afternoon and there’s even a heated covered escalator to take you to first lifts in the morning.

Scenic views of Beaver Creek

Vail Mountain boasts the Four Seasons, The Sebastian and their five star hotel friends. Aspen is Aspen with The Little Nell, Hotel Jerome and the private Aspen Club.

Terrain Park rats

Go directly to Breckenridge where all the Olympic Slopestyle, halfpipe and big air skiers and boarders train. Hit up Copper Mountain, home to Woodward freestyle camps or head to Aspen Buttermilk where the X Games are held every January.

The first time backcountry skier or boarder

Pic: Travel Crested Butte Tourism

Crested Butte is known for being the perfect place to access uncrowded slopes and plenty of great snow. But what’s exciting is the Crested Butte Backcountry Guide program, where instructors take you out into untouched powder and teach you backcountry skills that you can then take to any other mountain or resort in the world. Super useful, and a super relaxing environment to learn in.

The ‘I was there first’ skier

Every Aussie loves being the first to ‘discover’ a place – and in Colorado, you can do exactly that. Head to one of the smaller resorts to stake your claim and enjoy the uncrowded slopes where the locals take their fresh powder turns. We love Ski Cooper for long, wide, cruisy runs and no lift lines; Powderhorn for some of the best tree skiing you’ll find anywhere; the insanely cheap Kendall Mountain, which at the very most will cost you just US$25 to ski; and Echo Mountain, which is great for night skiing.

Ghost towns and cowboys

You weren’t expecting this one in the list, were you? But for those who love a spooky destination steeped in history, Colorado is the ultimate state to visit – it has 1500 ghost towns, many of which were once thriving with gold miners but now lie deserted.

Ghost lovers, go straight to St Elmo, the best-preserved ghost town in Colorado which also happens to be found near Monarch Ski Area (plus a variety of hot springs, including Mt. Princeton Hot Springs Resort – which is a great way to relax after a big day of ghost hunting). Or for a particularly cowboy-inspired fascinating glimpse into a life that once was, head to Telluride, where Butch Cassidy’s first bank robbery took place right on the main street.

To learn more about skiing in Colorado, visit colorado.com/28resorts and coloradoski.com.

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