Eldora Ski Area
You’re flying into Denver International Airport (DIA) with your family, and you want to know where to hear for the best snow, the fewest crowds or simply the closest place you can click into your gear and go. Maybe you live on the Front Range, and have rarely driven deeper into the Rocky Mountains. Either way, this quick primer on a few of the closest Colorado Ski Country resorts will help set your GPS in the right direction.
Eldora: An hour and 25-minute hop from DIA and less than 45 minutes from Boulder, this 680-ski area is a favorite for families wishing to skip Interstate 70 and test their mettle on Corona and Salto, and cruise down LaBelle.
Toast the Day: With hand-made pizzas and Colorado microbrews at Timbers Tap Room, upstairs in the Timbers Lodge.
Loveland Ski Area
Loveland: You can’t miss this local favorite, which sits right on I-70, 80 miles from DIA—tempting many skiers with sights set on more distant destinations to stop here instead. Think 1,800 acres of skiable terrain, an average of 422 inches of snow each year, and Zip Basin Street, a long groomer best experienced in the morning.
Toast the Day: By ordering some bratwurst and an exclusively brewed Tommyknocker Pine Bough Pale Ale at the legendary Rathskeller.
Winter Park: All aboard—the Winter Park Express whisks skiers and riders straight from Denver’s Union Station to the lifts at this 3,081-acre “seven-territory” resort during an unforgettable two-hour ride. Discover how the slightly gentler Winter Park side merges with the more challenging Mary Jane.
Toast the Day: With a Bloody Mary in Amtrak’s Superliner Sightseer Lounge en route to Winter Park, and a couple of Coors Lights on the way back to Union Station—accompanied by salty chips from the café, of course.
Echo Mountain: Only 36 miles from downtown Denver, Echo Mountain boasts plenty of renovations, thanks to its transition from a training center to a public ski area in 2016. Some 60 acres of mostly intermediate terrain means families can easily find each other and rack up laps.
Toast the Day: By cozying up at Westbound & Down Brewing Company in Idaho Springs, where the adjacent Buffalo Restaurant & Bar serves can’t miss bison burgers, falafel sandwiches and crispy fries.
Sarah Tuff Dunn
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.