When people think of skiing the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, most immediately think of the big name resorts like Aspen, Vail and Breckenridge. But $125/each/day was a little more than Ty and I budgeted for. Also, we aren’t that keen on waiting in long lift lines and sharing the slopes with hundreds of other skiiers and boarders (we’d been there and done that when we learnt to snowboard this past November in Whistler!) Luckily, there is a great number of less well-known and less touristy ski areas in the Colorado Rockies just waiting to be discovered. They all boast powdery snow, incredible views, fewer people and greater affordability, i.e. exactly what we were looking for! These were our favourites:
1. Araphoe Basin
. Located about 10 minutes drive from Breckenridge, A-basin (as it’s known locally) has a huge variety of terrain that caters for every skill level. They also have an amazing deal for passes – $139 for 3 days, which is only slightly more than a ONE
day pass at the big resorts! At 14,000 feet above sea level, this was the highest altitude that we had boarded at and it literally felt like we were on top of the world! We had consistently beautiful blue skies, warm days, powdery snow and gorgeous vistas over those three days. That has to be the best thing about ski/boarding during early spring – the weather is just fabulous!
2. Loveland Ski Area. Located off Interstate 70, about 60 minutes drive west of Denver, Loveland caters for every skiier/rider with a huge beginner’s area and plenty of more challenging terrain at your disposal. And at $56 each for a day pass, it is definitely one of the more affordable ski areas in the Rockies. On our first day, a huge amount of snow had fallen the night before and more kept floating down around us all day! Visibility was a little poor in these conditions, but the super soft, powdery snow more than made up for it! We had so much fun being brave in the amazing conditions – Ty even started doing big jumps and tricky tricks!
(Sorry about the poor picture quality – these were taken on our iPhones mid-run and moving at speed!)
3. Copper Mountain
. Located 77 miles west of Denver, Copper Mountain is the venue for the U.S. Ski Team downhill training. But don’t let that scare you – 50 percent of the total ski runs are either green (easiest) or blue (intermediate) so there is plenty of terrain for every variety of skiier/rider. Ty and I found the green runs here to be particularly easy, with their very gentle slopes and wide open runs, so they’d be perfect for those people learning to ski/board! A visit to Copper Mountain is made so much more affordable by obtaining a 2 for 1 voucher
from participating Shell Gas Stations when you fill up with 10 gallons of fuel.
I highly recommend early spring as the perfect time to hit the slopes – the days are warmer and there are lots of end of season specials to take advantage of, making it one of the most affordable and most beautiful times of the year to ski/board!
I only took a handful of photos over all of our days snowboarding as it’s really hard and nerve-wrecking to hang onto your phone and ride at the same time! I’m pretty sure that if I dropped it, I’d never find it again so zipped up in my pocket was my preferred place for it! And there was no way I was taking my DSLR camera along for a a little joy ride. Imagine falling on that bad boy – actually, don’t. It’s too painful to think about! But pictures or no pictures, Ty and I had the time of our lives and I know those memories will stay with us forever.
Have you ever been skiing or snowboarding? Where are your favourite ski areas? Or, would you like to learn someday?