While many people visit remote sections of Colorado for their popular ski resorts, the Denver skiing scene is favored by Mile High City locals. There may be fewer amenities compared to the resorts owned by Vail and Intrawest, but the friendly, low key ambiance is a drawing point for many devoted locals.
The Denver Skiing Scene
In comparison to Colorado's upscale resorts, such as Aspen, Vail and Beaver Creek, the Denver skiing scene is far more casual. Expensive ski outfits are less common. In fact, locals take great pride in using duct tape to mend torn ski clothing. While some of the Denver skiing areas have ski in, ski out lodging, other do not have any on-mountain accommodations. However, since some of these resorts are less than two hours from Denver or Boulder, you can stay in either of these two cities and enjoy a combination city and mountain vacation.
Advantages of Skiing Near Denver
Although the Denver ski areas may not be as glamorous as some of Colorado's more fashionable resorts, they do offer some useful perks, which include:
- Cheaper lift tickets: With 2009 Colorado lift tickets prices costing as much as $90, the $30, $40 and $50 tickets at the smaller ski areas are becoming more desirable.
- Cheaper cafeteria food: A lunch at Aspen can cost as much as $20. You can eat at Loveland for under $10.
- Avoiding traffic: Come winter, once you cross the Eisenhower tunnel, you are bound to experience traffic jams on your way to and on your return from the ski area. While you still may hit traffic on the way back, you are closer to Denver, so you will be able to avoid some of the traffic.
Skiing Near Denver
The following Denver skiing areas can be reached in under two hours from Denver.
Echo Mountain, also known as Echo Mountain Park is located 35 minutes from Denver. It has one lift, one trail and a very popular terrain park, which makes it quite popular with snowboarders. Lift tickets are inexpensive.
Echo Mountain Park is perfect if you are in Denver for a short visit and want to sneak in some skiing. If you can't get there in the daytime, don't worry. Echo Mountain Park offers night skiing. However, with a base elevation of 10,000 feet, if you are coming from sea level be sure to spend a few days acclimating to the altitude before visiting Echo Mountain Park.
Eldora Mountain Resort
Eldora is located 47 miles from Denver. This family friendly ski area is famous for its excellent beginner terrain. You can reach Eldora by public transportation from Boulder.
Sol Vista at Granby Ranch
Sol Vista is located 79 miles West of Denver. This small, family oriented ski area has perfect terrain for new skiers. Sol Vista is also home to the Harald Harb Ski School, which teaches the innovative Primary Movements System. This method of ski instruction is distinctly different from other ski schools. Primary Movement System instructors do not believe in teaching the basic or wedge technique. Instead, they begin with the fundamental movements of carving.
Loveland is the quintessential Denver locals ski area. It's cheap, friendly and convenient. Loveland is often the first Colorado ski area to open, and the last one to close. Opening dates can be as early as mid-October, and closing dates can be as late as mid-June. Loveland is famous for the Valentine's Day "Marry Me and Ski for Free" event, otherwise known as Mountain Matrimony. Hundreds of couples gather on top of one of Loveland's trails, to either get married or renew their vows. A big party follows the ceremony.