Breckenridge is the 2nd most visited ski area in North America (only behind Vail). Breck is often ranked much higher on this type of list. The town scores very high, with restaurants, bars, and entertainment. The mountain is big, but can be tough to get from one side to the other. Also, locals sometimes refer to it as "Brecken-Fridge" for the especially cold weather.
Winter Park is not where people go for the nightlife, it is where they simply go to ski. It is one of the closest major ski resorts to Denver.
This family-friendly resort also boasts of some incredible terrain, especially the more difficult mountain "Mary Jane".
The most unique aspect is that Amtrak again offers the ski train with direct service from Union Station in Denver to Winter Park.
Keystone is often overlooked when it comes to these top ten lists, but it shouldn't be. The resort gets the third most visitors of any ski destination in Colorado (behind only Vail and Breckenridge).
Keystone is a (relatively) budget-friendly "ski and stay" option that caters to families. The skiing is some of the best in the state. Keystone is made up of three mountains, Dercum (easy), North Peak (difficult), and The Outback (tree skiing). Keystone also holds the title as Colorado's longest ski day, with night skiing going until 8pm.
Crested Butte calls itself "Colorado's last great ski town". Crested Butte does have a strong balance between prime skiing and a beautiful town.
Snowmass is less than ten miles away from Aspen, but do not make the mistake of thinking of Snowmass as a secondary option. Snowmass is the biggest ski area out of the four in the Aspen family. It is a true destination, with diverse runs for every level of expertise. The area is also great options for shopping, dining, and apres ski. One of the best aspects of Snowmass is they have more options for true ski in / ski out lodging than anywhere else in the state.
Beaver Creek is one of the most underrated ski areas in Colorado (except on this list). This is mostly due to the fact that it is just down the road from the state's biggest, and one of its best, ski areas (Vail). The terrain is best known for the long, groomed "cruiser" runs. The area has plenty of diversity for every ski level.
Pro tip - Every day at 3pm, volunteers hand out free freshly baked cookies at the bottom of lift 6.
Steamboat Springs is known for the champagne powder and the vertical drop (4th most vertical drop in Colorado at 3,668 feet). The area was originally a ranching settlement and the town clings to its western roots.
Telluride is like another world. The town is beautiful, historic, and charming. The resort has been ranked "best scenery" of any ski area in North America. Telluride has the biggest vertical drop (4,425 feet) of any ski area in Colorado. The only negatives about Telluride are a) the cost, and b) the accessibility (6 hour drive from Denver).
It is hard to paint a picture of just how surreal Aspen (the mountain and the town) can be. The ski area is the smallest on this list with only 8 lifts and 675 acres, but it offers an experience unlike any other. The skiing is not for beginners. In fact, there isn't a single green (beginner) run on the entire mountain.
Aspen, which is also known as "Ajax", offers visitors the opportunity to pretty much ski right into town. The mountain sits right in the city. As if the skiing wasn't enough, the town is top-notch for shopping, dining, bars, and entertainment.
Telluride, Vail, and Aspen regularly trade places at the top of Colorado's (and North America's) best ski resorts. Vail is HUGE. The stats don't lie... 5,289 skiable acres, 193 trails, and 33 lifts.
Vail has plenty of skiing for all experience levels. Advanced skiers love the back bowls. Vail has more visitors than any other ski area in the country, but the area is so large that it is still easy to find wide open spaces.
Vail Village has a European flair and always more than enough options for dining and entertainment. In short, everybody has fun at Vail.
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