As the beginning of the ski season draws near, it's a good time to dust off the tour guides and begin looking for new and different ski destinations to visit this year. Avid skiers are aware that the state of Colorado is home to two of the most exciting and popular ski destinations in the country, Aspen and Vale. What many people may not realize is that there are some nice ski resorts closer to the Denver area as well. Here are a few in order of how far they are from the capital.
- Winter Park Resort (12 miles from Denver)
This beautiful resort has just over 3,000 ski-able acres at a maximum elevation of 11,200 feet with a vertical drop of 2,200 feet. The number of runs allocated between beginner, intermediate, advanced and black diamond is pretty evenly distributed. There are a total of 25 lifts that should be running at full capacity by mid-winter. The Village shopping area is filled with specialty stores and fine dining restaurants as well as a few quaint cafes. The area also has several nice hotels and lodges with all types of rooms available.
- Eldora Mountain Resort (48 miles from Denver)
This is one of the smaller resorts in the area with just over 675 ski-able acres at elevations ranging from 9,200-10,800 feet. The runs are heavily allocated between intermediate and advanced runs. The are a total of 11 lifts that should be operational when the resort opens for skiing in November. The scheduled closing is in April. Without much in the way of accommodations and activities, skiers should consider this a day trip facility and plan on staying in the Denver area.
- Loveland (51 miles from Denver)
This resort is one of Colorado's best kept secrets. With over 1,800 ski-able acres, the mountains elevations range from 10,800-13,200 ft. 87% of the runs are rated for intermediate-advanced level skiers with no black diamond runs. There are a total of 10 lifts with two that go near the top of the mountain range. Snow-making efforts are scheduled to begin in September. The official opening and closing dates are yet to be determined. This is a local ski village with lodging, dining, and entertainment available approximately 9 miles away.
- Arapahoe Basin Ski Area (63 miles from Denver)
This is a favorite destination for locals. The elevation ranges between 10,780 feet at the base to a peak elevation of just over 13,000 feet. There are a total of nine lifts that take skiers to a well-balanced selection of runs for all levels of skiers. There are a total of 960 ski-able acres and 125 acres available for snow-making. The official season beings in mid-October depending on weather conditions, and concludes sometime in mid-June. The resort facilities include the Blue Mountain Lodge, shops and several restaurants.
- Breckenridge Ski Resort (80 miles from Denver)
While this particular resort is about and hour and a half drive away from Denver, it is well worth the time and effort. There are 2,908 ski-able acres with over 600 groomed on a daily basis. At 34 lifts, this is one of the largest resorts in the area. The longest run measures a whopping 3.5 miles through beautiful terrain. The winter ski season is scheduled to open in November with a closing date dependent on the weather. The resort area is filled with restaurants, hotels and lodges, bars and nightclubs, and plenty of shopping.