The best ski resorts in Colorado and where to stay
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- Colorado is home to 28 ski areas, from family-run hills to glitzy mega-mountains.
- We've rounded up the best ski resorts across the state, plus the best hotel to stay at for each area.
- Peak ski season is in full swing and hotels currently range from $$179 to $481 per night to start.
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You can't beat a bluebird day in the Rocky Mountains. And if you're looking for a fresh-air winter adventure, this is a great year to try one (or more) of Colorado's 28 world-class ski resorts. Below, we detail our top picks for the best ski resorts in Colorado, plus the best hotel in each area, including:
- Crested Butte
- Steamboat Springs
- Silverton Mountain
- Aspen Snowmass
- Winter Park
If you're wondering if skiing during COVID is safe, we talked to experts to find out. The good news is that with proper cautions, skiing and snowboarding can be relatively low-risk activities. However, it's important to consider the risks of travel in general, and of staying in hotels. There is still no guarantee of safety right now, and we recommend following guidelines put forward by organizations like the CDC and WHO, such as always wearing a mask, washing hands frequently, and practicing social distancing.
Additionally, all of the Colorado ski areas have introduced new COVID-related safety precautions in coordination with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, so it's a good idea to check each resort's specific policies. But to make it easy for you, we've included links to that information for the eight resorts we've listed below. Check Colorado's statewide COVID-19 updates for additional details on infection rates, testing sites, and the recently renewed mandatory mask-wearing requirement.
Some of the common changes for the 2020-2021 ski season include requiring face coverings, physical distancing (including on chairlifts and in gondolas), advance reservations for lift tickets (often granting priority to pass holders), cashless transactions, limiting class size for lessons, and reducing restaurant seating. Many resorts are also limiting on-mountain capacity, especially for peak dates so it may pay off to plan and book early.
With all that in mind, we rounded up eight of Colorado's best ski resorts.
We also chose recommendations for cozy hotels for each, based on the following criteria:
- All hotels have excellent locations for accessing the mountains. Some are ski-in/ski-out while others require a short shuttle ride or easy drive, but all are within minutes of the lifts or base villages.
- Every stay has attractive features that discerning travelers are looking for from distinctive architecture and decor to excellent dining options, and availability of other winter-friendly activities (like ice skating or spa treatments).
- Many of the hotels listed include additional helpful amenities and extras including ski storage, ski valets, and shuttle service.
- All lodgings are highly rated on trusted traveler sites such as Trip Advisor and Booking.com.
- We focused on affordability since ski hotels can be notoriously expensive and found a range of stays from a hip hostel to a Western ranch to traditional base village lodges, all under $500 per night even during peak ski season.
- Hotels currently range from $179 to $481 per night to start.
These are the best ski resorts in Colorado, plus the best hotels near them, sorted by price from low to high.
Embraced by 1.7 million acres of National Forest, Crested Butte Mountain Resort is a natural beauty with 1,547 skiable acres, 15 lifts, and 121 trails. While Crested Butte offers runs for every ability level, it's especially known for its lift-accessible, double-black-diamond, extreme terrain. Ungroomed powder steeps and blind cliffs will excite thrill-seekers and advanced skier and snowboarders.
Read Crested Butte's COVID-19 update for the season.
Opening day: November 25
Where to stay in Crested Butte: Nordic Inn
Book the Nordic Inn starting at $179 per night
The Nordic Inn, located within 500 yards of the lifts at the foot of Mt. Crested Butte, has a throwback charm and a cheerfully unpretentious chalet style that offers a friendly alternative to a generic ski condo. The Inn hosts a complimentary continental breakfast, and a cozy apres-ski experience by the fireside with fresh-baked cookies in the Great Room. There's an outdoor hot tub and fire pit for an evening glow, plus heated boot dryers, and ski or snowboard storage.
Accommodations at the Nordic Inn range from a 248-square-foot Signature King and 291-square-foot double Queen, to a Nordic Chalet with sauna, and a four-bedroom home. All have flat-screen TVs, coffee makers, and free Wi-Fi, with 400-thread-count bed linens, down pillows, and comforters. Ask for a mountain view and pay a little extra ($30/night) for a pet-friendly room.
The ski area is located about 10 minutes away from the tiny historic town of Crested Butte, which may not have a stoplight but does offer plenty of vintage character, with shops, restaurants, and microbreweries. The free Mountain Express shuttle, a five-minute walk from the Inn, goes into town, and the Inn also offers free onsite parking. Next door, Crested Butte Sports rents skis, snowboards, snowshoes, and even fat tire bikes if you're tempted to take a spin on the snow.
Trip Advisor Ranking: 3 out of 10 B&Bs in Crested Butte
Booking.com Rating: 8.7 out of 10
Pros: Guests rave about the friendly staff, the cleanliness of the rooms, the breakfast, and the knockout mountain vistas.
Cons: Since the hotel is located near the ski mountain, guests need to travel into town to enjoy shops and restaurants.
COVID-19 status and policies: The hotel is currently open with new procedures in place, including:
- Physical distancing measures are in place.
- Face masks are required in indoor common areas.
- Some services and amenities may be reduced.
Breckenridge offers winter adventure on five peaks, with 2,908 skiable acres, 34 lifts, and 187 trails. There's something for everyone here, and Breck especially appeals to snowboarders with its four terrain parks and 18-foot halfpipe.
Additionally, 40% of the terrain is above the tree line, and the resort boasts the highest lift in North America: The Imperial Express SuperChair. The lift can whisk you up to 12,840 feet above sea level.
Read Breckenridge's COVID-19 update for the season.
Opening day: November 13
Where to stay in Breckenridge: The Bivvi Hostel
Book The Bivvi Hostel starting at $219
Don't be afraid of the word hostel, The Bivvi Hostel offers a modern spin on the concept of a bivouac, or, an improvised mountain camp.
Perched on the edge of the delightful Victorian town of Breckenridge, it's a quick 10-minute walk (or Breckenridge Free Ride bus hop) to the slopes. This place especially appeals to a young crowd, with a funky lodge vibe and playful mountain decor in zippy colors. The soaring great room, where you'll also find the Bivvi Bar, is stocked with board games and offers fabulous views of the peaks.
Accommodations include Queen and King rooms and King suites with gas fireplaces (one also has an ensuite hot tub), in addition to dormitory-style bunk rooms with four or six, private lockers, and a shared bathroom. The bunk rooms can currently be rented out by groups traveling together. All rooms have balconies and mountain views.
Ask in advance, and The Bivvi can set you up with ski or snowboard rentals delivered from the Ski Butler service. The hostel has a special gear room for free ski and snowboard storage, plus boot dryers, and a big outdoor hot tub and fire pit overlooking the Tenmile Range. The hostel serves a free breakfast, and the Bivvi Bar has draft beer and wine for apres-ski. Wi-Fi and parking on-site are complimentary.
Trip Advisor Ranking: 1 out of 83 specialty lodgings in Breckenridge
Booking.com Rating: 9.0 out of 10
Pros: Guests enjoy a friendly, fun atmosphere and great value.
Cons: The hostel is not ski-in/ski-out, and pets and children under age 12 aren't accepted. Storage space in bunk rooms is minimal, and the sink for the shared bathroom is located in the bunk room which can be disruptive.
COVID-19 status and policies: The hostel is currently open with new procedures in place, including:
- Face masks are required in all common areas.
- The hostel is currently limiting the shared bunk rooms to 50% occupancy (2-3 people maximum, per room) unless guests are traveling together as a group.
- The breakfast buffet has been suspended, but grab-and-go breakfast items are available.
Steamboat Springs is a rollicking Western ranching town where you might still glimpse a cowboy in the local saloon. With about 12,000 residents (and a proud roster of 104 Olympians), Steamboat is wild about winter sports. Family-friendly Steamboat Ski Resort boasts coveted Champagne Powder on its 2,965 skiable acres, with 169 trails.
Read Steamboat's COVID-19 update for the season.
Opening day: November 21
Where to stay in Steamboat Springs: Sheraton Steamboat Resort Villas
Book the Sheraton Steamboat Resort Villas starting at $237 per night
The Sheraton Steamboat Resort Villas have an ideal location in the Steamboat base village, right beside the Christie Peak Express lift, so you can ski directly out the door in the morning. The concierge can help with lift tickets and when you're ready to relax, the hotel offers the Rocky Mountain Day Spa, plus a rooftop whirlpool and heated outdoor pool.
There's a handy on-site ski clothing and rental shop, Steamboat Ski & Sport, that can send gear up to your room for fittings. At the end of the day, you can drop everything off with their ski valet and they'll store it until your next outing.
The resort's public spaces have a soft mountain contemporary look, and the Saddles Lounge offers leather club chairs and plenty of cozy fireside seating. Saddles Market sells coffee, grocery items, take-away breakfast and sandwiches, beer, and wine. Timber & Torch is their bistro-style restaurant with a heated patio for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Rooms vary in size and style, ranging from a 676-square-foot King Studio, with a sofa bed and kitchenette, to one-, two-, and three-bedroom villas. Make sure to ask for a mountain view. Some of the villas and condominiums have fireplaces, and most of the villas have washers and dryers.
Trip Advisor Ranking: 4 out of 23 hotels in Steamboat Springs
Booking.com Rating: 9.0 out of 10
Pros: The hotel offers a prime ski-in/ski-out location in the base village near shops and restaurants, free Wi-Fi, no resort fees, and a rooftop whirlpool with a view of the alpine action.
Cons: The lobby can get crowded with locals who enjoy the convenient location, and the onsite parking is $20 per day.
COVID-19 status and policies: This hotel is open and has new policies in place as part of Marriott's Commitment to Clean. New procedures include:
- Enhanced cleaning and sanitation protocols including electrostatic spraying with hospital-grade disinfectants.
- Social distancing prioritized, with reduction of seating in common areas and in pool area.
- Hand sanitizer stations added in high-traffic public spaces, and disinfectant wipes available in each room or villa.
- Reservations required for fitness center use.
If you're a strong skier and you've ever wanted to try heli-skiing, Silverton Mountain is a spectacular place to start. It's a wild and untamed resort, encompassing 26,819 skiable acres in the San Juan Mountains, with no cut trails or groomed runs, and only one chairlift. Silverton's steeps are challenging for experts, and you won't find any beginner or intermediate terrain here.
The resort offers guided or unguided skiing, and heli-skiing is offered by the single drop, series of six drops, or even an all-day private helicopter luxury option.
Read Silverton's COVID-19 update for the season.
Opening day: For heli-skiing, the mountain opens November 25, 2020; guided skiing starts December 26, 2020; unguided skiing starts March 17, 2021.
Where to stay in Silverton: The Wyman Hotel
Book The Wyman Hotel starting at $275 per night
Six miles away, at 9,318 feet elevation, the historic little mining town of Silverton is a National Historic Landmark packed with Old West charm. The Wyman Hotel brings a swanky, urban vibe to a well-preserved 1902 building on Silverton's main street, within easy walking distance of shops, cafes, restaurants, and breweries.
The boutique accommodations feature 16 rooms, including Queen, Double Queen, and King, plus suites with kitchenettes and living areas. Suite 4 has a creative (and cool) layout for families, with a King bed and two lofted XL Twin bunks.
The Wyman also offers a 10-bunk room with a shared bathroom, available at $65/bed/night. This year, however, they have a limited capacity to 50% unless it's occupied by a group of six or more traveling together. It can be booked starting on December 20, 2020.
All rooms are decked out with mod decor including brass fixtures, sleek furniture, and velvet upholstery and drapes in fresh colors. There's a refrigerator (mini- or full-size) in each room, and bathrooms are supplied with Aesop products. Wi-Fi is free, but there are no televisions. Outside, they've got free parking and four free Tesla charging stations.
Trip Advisor Ranking: 1 out of 7 hotels in Silverton
Booking.com Rating: Not yet rated
Pros: Guests love the hotel's outstanding interior design and quiet rooms that they describe as "spacious, clean, and modern," with "dreamy" beds, and "5-star hotel quality" sheets and towels, plus "spa-like bathrooms."
Cons: Most rooms are on the second floor, and there is no elevator. Although the hotel doesn't have air conditioning, room windows do open and the hotel provides fans. One guest also noted that four-digit door key codes sent by text message aren't ideal because of unpredictable cell phone coverage in the mountains.
COVID-19 status and policies: The hotel is currently open, with new procedures in place, including:
- Contactless check-in and check-out.
- The bar is closed, but in-room bar items, including local beer and natural wines, are available for purchase.
- Mingling in common spaces is not allowed.
- Face masks are required in common spaces.
- Strict cleaning and disinfecting standards are upheld.
Winter Park Resort
USA Today readers named Winter Park the #1 Ski Resort in North America for two years in a row, and it's easy to see why it's a popular favorite. Only 67 miles northwest of Denver, Winter Park offers 3,081 skiable acres, with 23 lifts and 166 trails.
Skiers and snowboarders will find variety here: groomed runs, glades, bowls, tree skiing, backcountry, moguls, and a terrain park with 80 different features and an 18-foot superpipe. Kids can also enjoy the snow tubing hill and ice bumper cars.
Read Winter Park's COVID-19 update for the season.
Opening day: November 18
Where to stay in Winter Park: Devil's Thumb Ranch
Book Devil's Thumb Ranch Resort & Spa starting at $279 per night
In the wide-open spaces 10 miles north of Winter Park, Devil's Thumb Ranch Resort & Spa is a rustic-luxe Western dream getaway, with 6,500 acres for guests to enjoy on horseback, fat tire bike, snowshoe, or horse-drawn sleigh. If you feel like a change from downhill skiing, Devil's Thumb also boasts 75 miles of Nordic ski trails.
Still not enough action? The ranch offers a game room with a two-lane bowling alley (available by reservation), an outdoor ice-skating rink, and a 37-seat movie theater. Heck's Tavern offers gourmet casual food, while the more upscale Ranch House Restaurant & Saloon (currently closed, but expected to reopen for Christmas) focuses on New American Mountain Cuisine.
The decor is rustic Americana ranch with an elegant touch. There's a warm cabin vibe with lots of knotty wood, leather armchairs, plush cushions, quilts, and rag rugs.
Main Lodge rooms include King, King Suite, King with fireplace, Double Queen, and Two Queen with fireplace. High Lonesome Lodge rooms include King, King with fireplace, King with sitting area, King Suite, Lofted King Suite (the loft includes a Queen bed and ¾ bath), and Double Queen. The seven 1,050-square-foot, two-bedroom cabins have two king beds, a "modified kitchen" and a wood-burning fireplace. Two four-bedroom cabins offer 2,200 square feet, with two king beds, two queen beds, two bathrooms, a full kitchen, and a dining area. For big groups, Devil's Thumb also offers two private guest houses just off the property: Peak-to-Peak Ranch sleeps eight, and the 10,000-square-foot Grand Guest House sleeps up to 14.
Trip Advisor Ranking: 1 out of 1 hotel in Tabernash
Booking.com Rating: Not yet rated
Pros: The staff are friendly, the ranch activities are plentiful, and the peaceful vibe is relaxing. Heck's Tavern earns high marks, and the cross-country skiing is excellent.
Cons: The ranch is a short drive from Winter Park.
COVID-19 status and policies: The ranch is open, with new procedures in place, including:
- Guests screened for fever at check-in, and masks required indoors or when interacting with staff.
- Staff following enhanced cleaning, sanitization, and hygiene protocols.
- Ranch activities and amenities, including dining, are open to overnight guests only.
- Limited menu of spa treatments available, no robes or slippers provided, and the locker room, sauna, and steam room are closed.
- Limited pool and fitness center capacity.
In Western Colorado's San Juan Mountains, Telluride Ski Resort takes advantage of its steep canyon setting and includes 148 trails weaving through 2,000 acres. Although nearly 60% of Telluride is beginner- and intermediate-friendly, the resort also takes pride in its extreme hike-to terrain that challenges experts with steep chutes, cliffs, and deep powder.
Read Telluride's COVID-19 update for the season.
Opening day: November 26
Where to stay in Telluride: The Inn at Lost Creek
Book The Inn at Lost Creek starting at $388 per night
Tucked into the base of the canyon, the tiny town of Telluride is a National Historic District with an enticing mix of shops, galleries, and restaurants. There's a free gondola that lifts passengers up to Mountain Village in 13 minutes, and that's where you'll find The Inn at Lost Creek, a quick glide from the gondola station. Mountain Village, at 9,500 feet, is a modern counterpart to Telluride, with an open-air plaza often filled with live music, plus cafes, restaurants, and shops.
The Inn at Lost Creek is a ski-in/ski-out boutique hotel with mountain lodge décor accented by wood and stone, furnished comfortably in soft textures and colors for a warm, casual vibe. The Ski Valet and Boot Lounge takes the trouble out of juggling all your winter gear. Their ski valets will set your skis outside in the rack for you, and store your gear and dry your boots overnight. They also arrange rentals through Christy's Sports on request.
The hotel's 32 units range from a 400-square-foot Queen-bed studio with a kitchenette, to a 1,000-square-foot, two-bedroom condo with a full kitchen, gas fireplace, and steam shower. All have a jetted tub, balcony, washer/dryer, humidifier, 450-thread-count Pratesi linens with a feather duvet, plus robes and slippers.
A free, cooked-to-order breakfast is served daily, and Siam's Talay Grille is located on-site. Two rooftop hot tubs provide blissful mountain views, and guests also have access to the nearby Spa at The Peaks Resort.
Trip Advisor Ranking: 1 out of 7 hotels in Mountain Village
Hotels.com Rating: 9.8 out of 10
Pros: Guests praise the friendly staff, the ideal location, and the dog-friendly attitude.
Cons: Valet parking is $20 per night, and reservations are required to use the hot tubs.
COVID-19 status and policies: The hotel opens for the winter season on November 26. Please contact them directly for new procedures.
Aspen Snowmass is a resort comprised of four distinct mountains: Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk, and Snowmass. Each has its own personality, and one lift ticket covers access to all of them.
Snowmass is by far the largest, with 3,339 acres of terrain and 150 miles of trails (the longest is 5.3 miles), followed by expert-friendly Aspen Highlands with 1,040 acres. Aspen Mountain's 675 acres are accessible directly from downtown Aspen, and 470-acre Buttermilk may be known as the home of the X Games but it's also a great place for beginners and families with kids.
Read the Aspen Snowmass COVID-19 update for the season.
Opening day: Aspen Mountain and Snowmass open November 26; Aspen Highlands opens December 12; Buttermilk is opening December 18.
Where to stay in Aspen Snowmass: The Gant Aspen
Book The Gant Aspen starting at $395 per night
Located in a quiet area of downtown, The Gant is a five-acre condominium resort that offers spacious accommodations and homey amenities within a short shuttle ride of the Silver Queen Gondola that glides to the top of Aspen Mountain.
On-site Ski Butlers can bring rental gear directly to your condo for private fittings. There's a ski valet who will store your ski or snowboard equipment overnight for free, and they'll provide a ski tune-up by request. The resort concierge can help with lift tickets and lesson reservations (you can let them know with an online request in advance), and when you're done with the day's excitement, you can soak in one of the hotel's three hot tubs or two outdoor pools.
Pepperjack's Café offers breakfast and lunch, plus coffee, local craft beer, and cocktails, with dine-in, take-out, or room delivery options.
The ever-circulating Gant Vans offer free in-town and airport shuttle service, and you can even schedule a pick-up by using a new Gant App. If you're driving yourself, the hotel offers free parking, with two Tesla charging stations.
A range of condominiums are available, from standard to deluxe to premier level, sized from one- to four-bedrooms. All have wood-burning fireplaces, full kitchens, humidifiers, a washer/dryer, balconies, and free Wi-Fi. The premier units have been professionally decorated, with the latest mountain modern décor and furnishings, plus upgraded appliances and linens.
Trip Advisor Ranking: 4 out of 34 hotels in Aspen
Booking.com Rating: 9.1 out of 10
Pros: Social distancing is easy in the comfortable, home-like condo units.
Cons: The resort isn't ski-in/ski-out, so getting to the slopes requires a shuttle ride, and if you're looking for a spark of Aspen glam, there are ritzier hotel choices that may suit you better.
COVID-19 status and policies: The hotel is open with new procedures in place, including:
- Enhanced cleaning standards and signage throughout the property.
- Meeting CDC guidelines using locally sourced cleaning products.
- Masks required, and provided free by the hotel if needed.
- Reduced capacity in areas including pools, hot tubs, fitness center, and Pepperjack's Café.
Read our full hotel review of the Gant Aspen
Renowned for its luxe scene, Vail's 5,317 skiable acres, with 31 lifts and 195 trails, offer enough adventure to keep happy visitors coming back year after year. There's top-notch terrain for every ability level, from immaculately groomed runs to deep powder bowls, tree glades, and off-piste extremes.
Read Vail's COVID-19 update for the season.
Opening day: November 20
Where to stay in Vail: The Sebastian
Book The Sebastian starting at $481 per night
The heated cobblestone streets of Vail's alpine-charming base village are perfect for strolling and shopping, but while most of the design vibe here skews toward Old World European, The Sebastian hotel is distinctly contemporary. Its art-filled lobby and library, along with the guest rooms, are furnished in mountain-modern style, focusing on plush textures, clean lines, and soothing colors.
Guests can enjoy an après-ski craft cocktail at the Frost Bar or dinner at Leonora Restaurant. The on-site Bloom Spa offers CBD-infused massage therapies and high-altitude adjustment treatments, and the outdoor terrace features a heated pool, four hot tubs, and a fire pit.
One great perk of The Sebastian is their Base Camp, a cozy little private club right next to Gondola One, where ski valets can help you with equipment rentals, store your gear, and even serve you cookies and hot cocoa when you need a warm-up.
Rooms at The Sebastian range from a Queen classic to a four-bedroom residential suite. The residential suites offer kitchens, dining areas, and balconies. Some also have fireplaces. All rooms are stocked with robes, slippers, free Wi-Fi, and Nespresso machines.
Trip Advisor Ranking: 7 out of 29 hotels in Vail
Booking.com Rating: 9.0 out of 10
Pros: The Base Camp makes wrangling ski gear extra-easy, and the hotel's on-site hot tub and spa are great treats at the end of the day.
Cons: There's an extra $43 daily resort fee, and valet parking is $38 per night.
COVID-19 status and policies: The hotel is open with new procedures in place, including:
- Increased cleaning and sanitization of public areas and guest rooms. (The hotel has appointed a new Hygiene Inspector.)
- A Plexiglas shield has been installed at the check-in desk.
- Masks are mandatory for guests and staff.
- Capacity limitations for elevators and restaurants.
- Sauna and steam room are closed.
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