Denver is the gateway to some of the best skiing in the US but many of the popular resorts are actually a few hours away. Thankfully, there are a handful of ski areas that are roughly an hour’s drive from downtown which will satisfy your powder cravings. Here's a quick list on the closest resorts to Denver based on drive time.
Winter Park is one of the most affordable ski destinations in Colorado, making it a popular option for family ski trips. The resort has two main interconnected mountains with 3,081 ac of skiable terrain that have separate base areas; Winter Park and Mary Jane. Winter Park is catered towards beginners, intermediates, and park shredders. Mary Jane’s terrain is more difficult and is characterized by its black diamond mogul runs. You will be able to find lodging in the Village at the base of the resort which are most suited for families that value proximity to the slopes. If you’re willing to lodge a few miles away, in the town of Winter Park, you will find very affordable options that will give you access to more restaurants, bars and shops.
Keystone treads the middle ground between luxury ski resorts like Vail and bustling ski towns like Breckenridge, offering an affordable experience while remaining competitive in other aspects. This place is a family favourite because it’s easy for groups with different skiing abilities to stay together on the mountain. Having a huge ski area means the terrain will keep you skiing or boarding new trails for days on end. Though there's not much extreme terrain here, Keystone has one of the country’s best terrain parks. All sorts of different accommodation options are available here, and there’s usually something to suit most budgets, with prices a notch lower than at Aspen and Vail.
Arapahoe or A-Basin is one of the best places in Colorado for spring skiing. With a summit elevation reaching 13,050 ft, it allows the resort to stay open into June and sometimes even later. Arapahoe is easy to reach from Denver making it a no-brainer for skiers that want to take a quick weekend ski trip. However, Arapahoe doesn’t have a town at its base and you’ll have to find accommodation in surrounding areas such as Keystone which is only a 10 minute drive away or Silverthorne and Frisco which are more affordable options.
Eldora Mountain is the second closest ski resort to Denver, about an hour’s drive away. For a small resort by Colorado standards, Eldora has a decent variety of terrain. There are 11 lifts which serve everything – easy greens, cruisey blues, challenging blacks and double blacks. In addition to alpine skiing, the resort has roughly 25 mi of cross-country skiing and snowshoeing trails. The only thing we don’t like here are the wind holds which sometimes close off most of the terrain. All in all, it’s got a really good balance between what the mountain offers for its price and convenience.
Here at Loveland, you’ll find that classic mid-West ski experience – a small base lodge serving up inexpensive hot cocoa and comfort food, filled with locals who are all about skiing. While Loveland’s mountain stats are roughly on par with Breckenridge and Copper Mountain, it has a higher elevation which means it enjoys a longer season than most resorts and even has free cat skiing. It is often overlooked by destination skiers because it lacks the amenities of its rival resorts to the west. For restaurants beyond those offered at the base area, you either need to drive to Silverthorne or Georgetown. For lodging, you’ll find plenty in Silverthorne.
Echo is the closest resort to Denver but if you are driving, make sure your car has all-wheel drive, as the winding roads can get ‘interesting’ during the winter. Coming in at only 600 ft of vertical drop, all runs are a top-to-bottom affair, and all serviced by a single triple chair. If you’re a beginner skier, traveling on a budget, or value proximity to Denver, then Echo Mountain would no doubt be the best place to try out the sport in a low-commitment setting. But if you’re a powderhound at heart, Echo Mountain will disappoint.