The Best Place for a Scenic Photo at Every Colorado Ski Area

Submitted by R. Scott Rappold on Mon, 04/02/2018 - 14:51

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The view from Sunlight is one of the best in the state.

If you love to ski powder, then you know that the worst days (weather-wise) are the best days. You might not be able to see 20 feet in front of you but the snow is soft and deep and that's all that matters.

But when the storm ends, the skies clear and the majestic beauty of the Rocky Mountains reveals itself, you just may have your breath taken away. 

Every ski resort is beautiful - up here in the mountains, how could it not be? So to help you choose where to take that classic photo, we've put together a list of the best spot at every Colorado Ski Country USA resort. 

Whether it's a scenic mountain shot, a family vacation portrait or just a selfie to remind you of that day you played hooky from work to ski, if the skies are clear you're guaranteed to get a memorable photo, and just maybe discover some new runs at the ski area.

Arapahoe Basin

The top of Montezuma Bowl, looking west over the Tenmile Range and the heart of the Rockies, is an unforgettable view. You can see several other ski areas in the distance, but since you're at A-Basin, you're already at one of the most beloved resorts in Summit County. 

How to get there: Take Black Mountain Express chair from the base and scoot over to the Lenawee Mountain Lift. From the top take a short tow rope ride to the top of Montezuma Bowl. 

Get down the easy way: Follow long and meandering Columbine trail to the base of the Zuma Lift. 

Get down the hard way: Hike up to the right and bomb down Black Bear for some thrilling, above-timberline action. 

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Photo of the Highlands Bowl by Tomas Zuccareno. 

Aspen Highlands

It's hard to pick just one spot at this scenic playground high in the jagged, craggy Elk Mountains, but nothing beats the top of Highlands Bowl. Most people only see the famous Maroon Bells in summer, from the bottom. Up here in winter they're practically at eye level.

How to get there: From Highlands Village ride the Exhibition chair, then Loge Peak chair, and get ready for a 45-minute hike up. 

Get down the easy way: Sorry, there are no easy ways down in this double-diamond terrain.

Get down the hard way: From the top of the trail look skier's right for the G Zones, legendary north-facing terrain with lovely trees and powder stashes that linger long after a storm. 

Aspen Mountain

The best spot for a photo at this iconic Colorado resort is, like many resorts, at the top. Unlike many resorts, there's a full-service, five-star restaurant, so enjoy a good meal with your view of the Maroon Bells and Aspen Highlands. 

How to get there: Take the Silver Queen Gondola from the base village.

Get down the easy way: Head skier's left and follow Buckhorn. Beware, there are no green runs down from here. 

Get down the hard way: Follow the blue trail 1 & 2 Leaf a short way until it becomes North Star. 

Buttermilk 

This is the smallest of the four Aspen-Snowmass resorts, but the views are no less big up here. The view from the balcony of the Cliffhouse restaurant will drop your jaw just in time to put some delicious food in it. 

How to get there: Take the Summit Express chair, or, from the day parking area, the Tiehack Express.

Get down the easy way: Ski Lover's Lane to Homestead Road trails. 

Get down the hard way: Go skier's right and follow Tiehack Parkway to the Tiehack trail. 

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Photo from the top of the mountain overlooking Elbert and Massive provided by Cooper. 

Cooper

This ski area near Leadville isn't the largest in Colorado, but the top affords great views of Colorado's two highest mountains, Mount Elbert and Mount Massive. 

How to get there: Take the Piney Mountain Triple Chair to the top of the mountain. 

Get down the easy way: Ski Molly Mayfield to the base area.

Get down the hard way: Stay skier's right and ski the glades and trees of Motherlode and Corkscrew trails. 

Copper Mountain

This massive Summit County resort has so many amazing views, of the Gore Range from the front side and the Tenmile Range on the back side, it's tough to pick just one. For skiers of all levels, nothing beats the views in both directions from the top of the Rendezvous chair. 

How to get there: You can reach the base of this chair by taking the American Flyer chair and heading skier's right for a short distance. Scoot a little towards the back bowls for amazing views.

Get down the easy way: Turn around from the back bowls (sorry - no runs for greenhorns here!) and take the Wheeler Creek trail. 

Get down the hard way: Drop into Rattler for a short but sweet plunge to the base of the Blackjack chair. 

Crested Butte

Crested Butte is one of Colorado's most gorgeous ski areas, with views of the Elk Mountains that just might distract you from the skiing. This mountain is known for its steep terrain, but most skiers will be able to make it to the top of the Monument trail, which offers the best scenic vista on the mountain. 

How to get there: Take the Silver Queen Express lift  from the base and ski a short distance down Ellin's Way and North Star trails to the photo spot.

Get down the easy way: Take Silver Queen Road as it meanders down the mountain.

Get down the hard way: You've come this high - why stop now? Head down Silver Queen Road a bit and hop on the North Face Lift T-bar to experience the wonders of the famous Crested Butte back bowls. 

Echo Mountain

Just because this ski area is the closest one to Denver doesn't mean the views suffer. The top of the one chairlift (yeah, we said it's a small area) offers great views of the valley eastward to Idaho Springs and westward to the Continental Divide on the horizon. 

How to get there: Take the Triple Chair from the base.

Get down the easy way: Take the Handle Tow to Elsa's Way.

Get down the hard way: Head skier's left past Bob's trail to EJ's Glades for some close-to-home tree skiing.

Eldora

This Boulder-area resort has mountain views that you wouldn't even imagine from town, and the best is from the deck of aptly named The Lookout restaurant. Enjoy long views of the Indian Peaks Wilderness and the Continental divide with lunch. 

How to get there: Work your way skier's left from the top of the Alpenglow Lift to the base of the Corona Lift. The Lookout is at the top. 

Get down the easy way: Stay skier's right down the Wayback trail which, like the name suggests, is the way back to the front side. 

Get down the hard way: Eldora's toughest terrain is found below the restaurant, so pick a line down Corona Bowl back to the base of the Corona Lift. 

Granby Ranch

This family-friendly resort has two mountains, both with amazing views. For skiers of all levels check out the East Mountain summit, at 9,202 feet.

How to get there: Take Quick Draw Express and have a look around. 

Get down the easy way: Head skier's left down Buckhorn trail for a gentle ride down the mountain.

Get down the hard way: Ski to the right from the top and follow High Roller down. 

Hesperus

This low-elevation, smaller area is a favorite among Durango locals for its proximity to town and night skiing. Visit during the day and ride to the top of the only chairlift and you'll enjoy views unique to a Colorado ski area, with the cliffs of Mesa Verde National Park to the southwest and the La Plata Mountains to the north. 

How to get there: Take the chair lift to the top and have a look around.

Get down the easy way: Head skier's right down the Cross Mountain Trail.

Get down the hard way: Ski Upper Face to Lower Face for some of the steepest terrain on the mountain.

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Photo of Loveland from the top of lift 9 by Dustin Schaefer. 

Loveland

Most of this ski area is above timberline, which means there is no shortage of amazing views. The best can be found high on the Continental Divide at the top of Lift 9, where you'll feel miles above the interstate below. Take your picture quickly, as it's usually cold and very windy up here. 

How to get there: Take Lift 2 from the base, then the Ptarmigan lift, and head skier's left down the South Chutes to the base of Lift 9. 

Get down the easy way: Take the Rookie Road (don't worry - nobody will make fun of you) to the left as it winds down Creek Trail back to the bottom of the lift. 

Get down the hard way: If the snow is fresh, nothing beats Patrol Bowl, just skier's left from the chair. 

Monarch Mountain

Perched on the Divide, with one of the highest base elevations in Colorado, Monarch Mountain has plenty of spots for great photos, but none can top the views from the top of Panorama lift along the Skywalker trail. Located near the geographic heart of the Rockies, you can see west to the mighty San Juan Mountains and, on a clear day, east all the way to Pikes Peak.

How to get there: Take the mid-mountain Panorama chair to the top and turn left onto Skywalker.

Get down the easy way: Follow the gentle Skywalker as it runs along the Divide and back down to the lower mountain. 

Get down the hard way: Take Mirage, the first skier's left trail after getting off the lift, for a steep and rewarding plunge. 

Powderhorn Run

Powderhorn

This is the western-most ski area in Colorado and offers sweeping views of the Western Slope and Grand Mesa you won't experience anywhere else. The top of the Flat Top Flyer is the best place for that great photo. 

How to get there: Take the Flat Top Flyer chair and get off and have a look around. 

Get down the easy way: Go skier's left and follow the gentle Maverick trail.

Get down the hard way: Go skier's right to the Wonder Bump trail and then onto Cannonball for a thrilling run. 

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The Needles at Purgatory. 

Purgatory

The view from this ski area is dominated by the Needles, a subrange of the San Juan Mountains with peaks so sharp, jagged and forbidding this area is often called "the American Alps." Practically anywhere up there offers  stunning views of these peaks, so for ease take you picture at the top of the Purgatory Village Express Lift.

How to get there: Take the Purgatory Village Express Lift and get your camera out at the top.

Get down the easy way: The Mercy trail will take you on a circuitous but easy course back to the base village. 

Get down the hard way: Head skier's right to Styx and and Lower Hades, which despite the names will have expert skiers feeling like they're in Heaven.

Silverton

This remote, experts-only ski area has no shortage of jaw-dropping views. The top of the only lift offers a 360-degree view of the epicenter of the San Juan Mountains. These mountains are so challenging and the snow so deep, every skier must carry avalanche safety gear.

How to get there: Take the only chairlift up and look around in wonder. 

Get down the easy way: Sorry, no easy ways down at Silverton.

Get down the hard way: Every run is the hard way, so enjoy. 

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Silverton is gorgeous, no matter where you look.

Snowmass

This is the largest of the four Aspen-area resorts, sprawling over 3,300 acres. You'll find the best photo opportunity at Elk Camp, which faces the famous Maroon Bells, twin mountains that can make anyone feel like a good photographer. 

How to get there: From the base, take the Elk Camp Gondola and then the Elk Camp lift. 

Get down the easy way: All the runs are blue from here, so go skier's right and follow the Sandy Park trail for a gentle run or Grey Wolf along the lift line for a bigger challenge. 

Steamboat

This massive resort offers extensive views of the Yampa Valley, and for the best photograph they recommend the Broadway benches along the green Broadway trail.

How to get there: Work your way skier's left across the mountain. The Broadway trail starts gently off the top of the South Peak lift. Stop where the trail takes a hard right.

Get down the easy way: This trail is green and gentle, so the only way down is easy. The run ends at the bottom of the Elkhead Express lift.

Sunlight

This ski area near Glenwood Springs has amazing views of the central Rockies and Mount Sopris, and as at many resorts you'll find the best photograph opportunities at the top, in this case meaning the top of Lift 1 (Primo Chairlift.)

How to get there: Take Lift 2 (Tercero Chairlift) and ski left to the base of the Primo chair. Take you photos at the top. 

Get down the easy way: The Ute Trail (skier's left from the top) takes a gentle course around the mountain's  periphery to the bottom. 

Get down the hard way: Head skier's right along Grizzly for a short way and drop into Zephyr Glades.

Telluride

Telluride is one of Colorado's prettiest towns, tucked in a box canyon in the mighty San Juan Mountains. So it goes without saying the ski area offers amazing scenery. They recommend the top of Chair 14, the Gold Hill Express, for your memorable photos.

How to get there: This will take a few minutes. From the Mountain Village take Village Express Chair then ski Boomerang to the Polar Queen Express Chair. Ski Lower Woozley's Way to the base of the Gold Hill Express.

Get down the easy way: Head skier's right down the aptly named See Forever trail.

Get down the hard way: You've come this far. Why not go higher? Hop on the Revelation Lift to ski Revelation Bowl, some of Telluride's most famous terrain.

Winter Park

This resort offers stunning views of Colorado's Front Range mountains, and the upper-most lift is a great spot for photos, with the majestic Indian Peaks Wilderness forming a massive alpine wall to the west.

How to get there: The Panoramic Express lift is on the far left side of the mountain, so work you way skier's right towards Lunch Rock on the Mary Jane side. Ride Edelweiss to the base of the chair. Take your photos at the top of the chair. 

Get down the easy way: Take Parry's Peak (skier's right) to return to the lift and Mary Jane or Village Way to return to Winter Park.

Get down the hard way: For steep, wide-open fun in the upper bowl ski down Larkspur.

Wolf Creek

Located in the gorgeous South San Juan Mountains, finding views worthy of your camera isn't tough here. For a sure thing visit the top of the Bonanza lift, where the San Juans stretch on endlessly to the north and west.

How to get there: Ride Bonanza and ski straight off the lift to get that perfect family photo. 

Get down the easy way: Stay skier's left down the broad, flat Divide trail. 

Get down the hard way: Follow the Divide trail a short distance and drop down Blueberry Hill, a short but steep drop that will have you smiling long after the picture has been taken.

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