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9 Reasons Not to be Intimidated by Colorado Skiing and Riding

20170505 Loveland Dustin Schaefer 8

Since moving to Colorado from Vermont, I’ve been fortunate to make many new friends with school-aged children—and I’m astonished at how many of them have let their skis get dusty in their basements. Some are too busy. Some have fallen out of skiing shape. But some are missing out on the mountains because they’re too tentative.

The fact is, Colorado skiing and riding is accessible for everybody. This is what I’ve discovered:

1. Ski schools are everywhere: At Colorado Ski Country USA (CSCUSA) member resorts, January is Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month, with ski areas offering special promotions and programs. Loveland Ski Area, for example, is offering a free season pass for those who complete three full lesson packages. Powderhorn, meanwhile, is providing free lessons on Sundays. And even beyond January, CSCUSA resorts have a wide variety of options for you and your family to hone your skiing and riding skills.

2. Lifts are better than ever: From Copper Mountain’s new “bubble” chair on American Flyer to Winter Park’s new gondola, your ride up Colorado mountains is as high tech as it gets. You’ll stay warm and dry while whisking up to the summit.

3. There’s terrain for everyone: Maybe you want to relax on long, gentle cruisers, such as Steamboat’s Tomahawk or Ski Cooper’s Sitzmark. Maybe you’re ready to tackle Telluride’s trees or Arapahoe Basin’s bowls. Whatever your level of skiing and riding is, CSCUSA resorts have you covered.

4. The sun is almost always shining: Colorado has only 30 to 40 overcast days per year, leaving more than 300 sunny or partly sunny days.

5. (While the snow is often falling: Wolf Creek leads the state with 430 inches of snow per year, followed by Loveland with 422 inches of snow per year.)

6. Getting to resorts is easy: You don’t have to load up the car to go skiing and riding. Take the bus from Boulder to Eldora, or ride the Ski Train from Denver to Winter Park.

7. Gear can be inexpensive: Ski shops throughout Colorado offer great deals on leasing equipment. My kids got their season rentals for $139 from Christy Sports.

8. Music is everywhere: Whether you like listening to Ozzy Osbourne, Rihanna or the Beatles, you’re almost always guaranteed good tunes around Colorado base areas and lifts. (So you can leave the headphones at home.)

9. Smiles are guaranteed: Scroll through Instagram and Facebook. Pretty much every shot that involves skiing, riding a chairlift or enjoying après displays wide smiles. See you on the slopes!

Sarah Tuff Dunn recently moved to Louisville, Colorado, with her husband, Carlton, and their two children, Dillon, 12, and Harper, 10. They’re looking forward to exploring the world-class skiing in Colorado, aided by the Colorado Ski Country 5th and 6th Grade Passport Program. Sarah has been writing professionally for nearly 25 years and her work has appeared in The New York Times, SKI, Skiing and Powder, among other publications. Read more of Sarah’s stories here and follow along with her Colorado skiing journey here