Heli-skiing at Silverton Mountain
In Colorado, you’re not defined by what you do for a living. You’re defined by what you do on the weekends. It’s a state filled to the brim with skiers, snowboarders, mountain bikers, white-water rafters, rock climbers and overall adventurers. And when you get these outdoor enthusiasts together on a Monday morning after a wild weekend, a certain amount of bragging can ensue. Are you eager to win the watercooler conversation on who had the best weekend? These are your options.
If you’re looking for the number one experience that will have you walking into the office on Monday morning feeling like you’re on top of the world, heli skiing is your best bet. It’s exhilarating, it’s impressive, it’s not for the faint of heart, and it can be done right here in Colorado. Two ski areas in southwest Colorado, Telluride and Silverton, can provide you with heli-skiing adventures in the best terrain and snow Colorado has to offer. Fair warning: the levels of jealousy you’ll inspire among your friends and coworkers with this option will be very high.
- Cat skiing
If heli-skiing is a little above your skill level, or your price range, cat skiing is a great second option. Several Colorado ski areas offer a snowcat rides to amazing areas that are difficult to reach on foot, including:
- Aspen Mountain’s luxury powder tours: fresh tracks guaranteed and gourmet lunch included
- Cooper’s 2,600 acres of powder skiing with Chicago Ridge snowcat skiing
- Loveland Ski Area’s free rides to expert-only terrain on The Ridge Cat
- Monarch Cat Skiing’s 1,000-plus acres of expert terrain featuring wide-open bowls, steep chutes, and beautiful glades
- Experienced guides and 35,000 acres with Purgatory Snowcat Adventures
- Night skiing
Another non-traditional way to spend time on the slopes is night skiing. After all, how many people can say they’ve skied under the stars? If you’re eager to make some turns under the lights, there are a few Colorado ski areas that offer night skiing experiences, some on a regular basis and some on specially scheduled occasions throughout the season. These ski areas include Echo, Granby Ranch, Hesperus, Howelsen Hill, Kendall Mountain and Steamboat.
- New terrain
Another sure-fire bragging point is skiing one of Colorado’s many recent terrain expansions. These are new areas that few (if any) of your friends and coworkers will have seen yet, and when you’re gathered around the coffee pot answering all their questions, you’ll feel like a local celebrity for a few minutes. Luckily for you, there are quite a few areas of new terrain to choose from.
- Arapahoe Basin’s 468-acre terrain expansion into the Beavers and the Steep Gullies, with the new four-person Beavers chairlift installed for the 2018-2019 season
- Cooper’s 70 acres of new intermediate and advanced skiing terrain, including the first double-black diamond runs in the ski area’s history, debuted in the 2019-2020 season.
- Copper Mountain’s 273 acres of new expert terrain on Tucker Mountain served by the new Three Bears chairlift, which was previously accessible via snowcat or hiking only.
- Phase one of Sunlight Mountain Resort’s three-phase expansion, which expanded gladed tree skiing, added five new hike back runs and an additional 500 vertical feet of experts-only skiing for winter 2019-2020. When completed, the entire project will feature a new lift and 100 acres of new terrain.
- Telluride’s 40 new acres of north-facing gladed terrain around Lift 9 for the 2019-2020 season.
- Deep powder skiing
We all have that one coworker who comes in Monday morning like a walking snow report - “Did you know we got more than a foot of snow this weekend? I was in that! It was sooo deep!” Well, if you’re the one green with envy and you can’t stand that coworker, then it’s time to become that coworker. Chasing powder in Colorado is a once in a lifetime experience. Take some advice from Scott Rappold, our resident powderhound, on best practices for finding the deep stuff.
- Hit the slopes and leave your car at home
The only thing cooler than spending your weekend in the mountains is leaving your car in the garage while you do it. There are several different options for scoring the bragging experience of a traffic-free ski weekend. The Winter Park Express, leaving from Denver’s Union Station for the base of Winter Park on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, offers a stress-free journey with breathtaking views, plus coffee, snacks and beverages available for purchase. The Snowstang, offered by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) for the first time in the 2019-2020 season, offers rides to Arapahoe Basin, Loveland and Steamboat for affordable prices.
- Just good old plain skiing
Sometimes, it doesn’t take the biggest, baddest weekend plans to impress your coworkers. Compared to raking leaves, running errands, dance recitals and tee-ball games, sometimes it’s enough to just say: “I went skiing this weekend.”
Kathryn Robinson is a native Floridian who transplanted to Colorado for graduate school and never looked back. She learned to ski for the first time in her early twenties and now she counts down the days until winter. When she’s not on the slopes, she’s working full-time in Denver, hiking, kayaking, or playing with her dog Riley.