While larger resorts offer great size, terrain and amenities, lift tickets at smaller resorts can be half the price, as can be the cost of their ski schools and more. Other advantages are lesser crowds and smaller mountain sizes that make it harder to get separated. If building memories skiing with your family or a large party is your top goal, they’ll build just as fast here at up to half the cost. Consider Colorado’s Smaller Resorts:
80 miles west of Denver, Granby is a family-owned resort perfect for seasoned skiers who want their kids to learn in a friendly, safe environment. Parking is close to the lifts and the terrain was designed with families in mind. All trails begin at one point up top and end at the base, allowing parents and kids to ski at their own levels with no chance of getting lost. Learn More. Lift Tickets.
Catch it on a good morning after an up-slope storm has swept the Front Range, and the double-black Corona Bowl is (almost) as good as anything the bigger resorts have to offer. One whole section (a smaller one) of the mountain gives beginners a chance to get their ski legs. If you’re active duty military, the discounts on lift tickets is even greater. Learn More.
About three hours from Denver, or a great day trip from Crested Butte, which is 47 miles west, Monarch Mountain is an isolated and small-sized 5-chairlift resort known for light powder, and lighter crowds. Popular with families who like to have plenty of space for their little ones, while they make laps in the resort’s ungroomed bowls or 130 acres of hike-to terrain. Learn More.
Powder fields to explore, trails that duck in and out of the trees and groomed runs of all levels, Powderhorn is a dream come true for young skiers. Parents feel comfortable turning their kids loose because there is only one base area, so getting lost is difficult. Grand Junction is the closest city. Learn More. Lift Tickets.
You won’t find frills at Ski Cooper, just an honest-to-goodness guarantee of high elevation Colorado groomers in a super simple trail map layout. 26 runs for all types of skier ability, separated into zones, along with 2,400 acres of snowcat skiing. 35 miles south of Vail, this mountain’s reputation is as one of the most affordable ski areas in Colorado. Learn More. Lift Tickets.
Located 12 miles outside Glenwood Springs, the focus here is more on intermediate terrain, and with 2,010 vertical feet, the steep glades can hold untracked powder for days and the resort’s ridge has more than a dozen double black diamond runs. Still, Sunlight is the affordable and intimate alternative to nearby Aspen Snowmass. Learn More. Lift Tickets.
Located in southern Colorado 70 miles from Durango, Wolf Creek benefits from a high elevation that ensures the resort’s claim of the “Most Snow in Colorado.” With an impressive 1,600 acres, one side is a massive 1,000-acre gladed hike-to section for adventurous skiers served by a singular lift; the other side at half the acreage is where beginners, intermediates and their kids — “Wolf Pups” – have five chairlifts to choose from. Learn More.