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Getting Here Is Easy, Deciding Where To Ski-Not So Much

Getting Here Is Easy,
Deciding Where To Ski-Not So Much

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If you look at a map of the USA, you’ll see that Colorado is practically in the middle of the country, making it really easy to get here from almost anywhere. People come here to ski from all over the world, which one could argue, might make Denver the world’s largest and greatest ski town. We like to think so.

Mostly, people come here because we have 22 resorts to choose from, thats a lot, way more than 14. Weve got all kinds of resorts, almost a mountain for everyone. From Steamboat in the north to Wolf Creek in the south, Colorado Ski Country USA resorts operate in nearly every major Colorado mountain range.
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Because more than half of Colorados ski areas are located within 35 miles of an airport, and Colorados eight regional airports offer more than 8.6 million passenger seats annually, getting to Ski Country from anywhere has never been easier. Its deciding where to go thats the hard part.

Now with new flights offered, transportation-included packages, and other alternative means of getting around the mountains, snow enthusiasts from around the world are quickly charting the easiest way to get here for the 2010-11 ski season. Here are some of the ways CSCUSA resorts aim to help skiers and riders access world-class Colorado skiing, including alternative transportation and carpool incentives:

Arapahoe Basin
Perched on the Continental Divide in Summit County, Arapahoe Basins legendary skiing is only a short jaunt from Denver and other Front Range locales. Since A-Basin is usually one of the first resorts to open for skiing in North America, travelers can take advantage of early-season travel discounts to ski at the resort in October or November. Of course, A-Basins elevation allows it to stay open later than most resorts in the spring, another time when travel and lodging discounts abound.

By air, winter travelers can access A-Basin after a short ride from either Denver International Airport (DIA) or from Eagle County Regional Airport. The resort is almost equidistant between the two. From those airports, guests most-often rent cars, but they can also make their way near the resort and to local lodging via the Colorado Mountain Express shuttle, a hassle-free shuttle service with originations at DIA and the Eagle County airport. A 10 percent discount for this shuttle can be found on A-Basins website at www.arapahoebasin.com.

For out-of-state guests who rent cars and for locals who drive to the mountain, the resort encourages travelers to carpool. Arapahoe Basin will offer a carpool incentive program during the 2010-11 ski season in which guests who arrive with four or more passengers in their vehicle receive a lift ticket discount, even when other passengers in their vehicles have season passes.

A-Basin also works closely with the Summit Stage bus service. The Summit Stage is a free bus service that brings skiers to A-Basin hourly from other Summit County locations.

Aspen/Snowmass
Aspen/Snowmass four mountains Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk, and Snowmass are located in the picturesque Roaring Fork Valley. The resorts are accessible from Colorados major roadways and are served by Aspen/Pitkin County Airport. Guests can step off the plane and be on the slopes in minutes.

Located three miles from Aspen and six miles from Snowmass Village, the Aspen/Pitkin County Airport sees approximately 150 direct and connecting flights per week, including many connecting international flights. Delta, United Express, and Frontier airlines all offer direct service into Aspen/Pitkin Country Airport.

Once there, guests wanting to move between town and the mountains can take a free shuttle. For visitors who want to sample the different mountains, Aspen/Snowmass provides a free shuttle between all four mountains regularly during the skiing day, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

With four or more passengers per car, carpoolers park for free at Aspen Highlands and Snowmass.

Copper Mountain
Copper Mountain lies on 2,465 acres of naturally divided terrain in Summit County, just 75 miles west of Denver. Those flying into the area can book tickets into either DIA or the Eagle County Airport. During the winter, Eagle County Airport takes flights from five airlines with nonstop connecting flights from 12 cities, and connecting service from cities throughout North America and the world.

By car or bus, Copper is also easy to get to. The resort is just off of I-70, which connects Denver to the adjacent mountain corridor. Drivers have a straight shot from Denver along I-70 to get to Copper. The Summit Stage shuttle also services Copper with free transit from other Summit County locations.

Copper also makes it easy to arrive from DIA via a direct shuttle provided by Grayline, Copper’s Official Ground Transportation Provider. There are many benefits to taking Grayline: no need to worry about paying for gas or parking, or driving through snowy weather.

Copper Mountain is also offering incentives to guests who carpool during the 2010-11 ski season.

Crested Butte
Nestled in the heart of the Elk Mountains, Crested Butte Mountain Resort (CBMR) towers over the charming ski towns of Crested Butte and Mt. Crested Butte. By air, travelers can get to the resort easily by flying into the Gunnison/Crested Butte airport. The airport hosts direct winter flights from a variety of major US cities, such as Dallas, Salt Lake, Atlanta, and Denver.

Access to Crested Butte this winter is quick and easy thanks to direct, non-stop flights into the Gunnison/Crested Butte Airport from several major cities across the country. The resort announces air service for the 2010-2011 winter season from three major carriers, including American Airlines, Continental Airlines and United Airlines, with new flights from Dallas, Houston and Denver.

For the 2010-11 ski season, CBMRs Friends & Family Fly Free offer will make travel affordable and accessible. The offer is simple: buy two airline tickets and get the third free when staying in resort lodging. The maximum number of tickets per reservation is three and there is a four-night minimum stay required.

Upon arrival, let someone else do the driving. Crested Buttes transportation network makes for a hassle-free vacation. Alpine Express meets every flight and provides door-to-door shuttle service between the Gunnison/Crested Butte airport and Crested Butte; a short, scenic 30-minute transfer. Once settled, theres no need for a car; Crested Butte has one of the best ski town shuttle systems around. The Crested Butte Town Shuttle and Crested Butte Mountain Express provide free, convenient transport between Mt. Crested Butte and the historic town of Crested Butte throughout the day and into the evening.

Echo Mountain
As Denvers closest, cheapest, and freshest resort, Echo Mountain boasts easy access along with a fun attitude. The mountain, which specializes in terrain parks, lies only 35 miles away from downtown Denver on Highway 103. Just past the town of Evergreen and a stones throw away from other mountain towns, the resorts location and affordability often entice skiers and riders into an impromptu getaway.

Denver International Airport makes the most sense for travelers wanting to access Echo Mountain by air. Since the ski area is so close to Denver, travelers can minimize the cost of gas when traveling by car, either from within Colorado or from the airport. Basing a stay in Denver and commuting up to Echo would make for a unique Colorado adventure.

Eldora
Eldora is the only resort accessible by Denvers public transportation system, RTD. Located only 21 miles from Boulder and 45 miles from Denver, Eldora Mountain Resort is uniquely situated near several of Colorados main metropolitan areas and is an alternative to driving the I-70 corridor. By air, travelers can access the resort by flying into DIA and either taking a public transit bus to Boulder, where the connecting RTD Ski-n-Ride bus is available, or renting a car to drive to the resort.

Eldora encourages guests to take advantage of the Ski-n-Ride program. Ski-n-Ride is a public bus service that picks guests up at the Boulder RTD station at 14th Street and Walnut, and drops them off a few steps from Eldoras chairlifts.

Loveland
Loveland is one of two Colorado ski areas that share a spot on either side of the Continental Divide. Loveland Ski Area is the first ski area along the I-70 corridor coming from Denver, so skiers and riders can drive less and ski more at Loveland. While near to the highway, the resort resides within the wooded alpine reaches of the Arapahoe National Forest. A favorite for locals, Loveland also attracts riders from around the world who are looking for a convenient trip to a Colorado gem. With one of the longest seasons of any resort in the country, drivers to Loveland can take advantage of empty highway lanes in the early and late ski season.

By air, most out-of-state Loveland visitors fly into DIA. From there, renting a car is the easiest way to get to the mountain, although shuttle options are also available. To make a trip by car is even easier, Loveland provides free, close-in parking to its guests at both of its parking areas and a free shuttle service to take guests between parking areas and to the lifts.

Monarch Mountain

Monarch is situated along one of the nations most scenic canyon routes, Highway 50. Drivers on this byway can often see bighorn sheep darting along high canyon walls in the winter months. Monarch is also accessible from Highway 285 coming from Denver and Highway 24 coming from Colorado Springs. Approaching drivers can see Monarch Mountain hulking over the quaint mountain town of Salida as they approach from any direction.

By air, Monarch travelers can fly into either Gunnison/Crested Butte or into the Colorado Springs airport. Car rental is the most convenient way for travelers to get around once arriving at either of these airports.

Powderhorn
On the edge of the Grand Mesa, just east of Grand Junction on Colorados Western Slope, Powderhorn is easily accessible by air or ground transportation. Nearby airports in Grand Junction and Montrose allow skiers to fly in and out for a hassle-free ski vacation.

New daily direct flights from Los Angeles to Grand Junction will make getting to Powderhorn simple for West Coast powderhounds too.

Access by car from I-70 is also convenient. In fact, drivers approaching Colorado by car from Western states on I-70 will find Powderhorn to be the first resort they encounter as they enter the state.

Purgatory
Purgatory is located in the southwestern corner of the state in the San Juan mountain range, 25 scenic miles north of the town of Durango on Highway 550. The only major Colorado resort that can be accessed by car without driving over a major mountain pass, Purgatory is served by major, all-weather highways from Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.

As a measure of the resorts growing popularity, it was recently announced that the main airport serving Purgatory Durango La Plata County Airport experienced one of the top percentage increases for new visitation in the country. The airport went from the 205th to the 186th busiest in the country. The Durango airport (DRO) is serviced by numerous daily flights from Denver on Frontier and United Airlines, and multiple daily flights from Phoenix on U.S. Airways. The airport is located 15 minutes from downtown Durango and 50 minutes from Durango Mountain Resort.

Silverton Mountain
One of the four distinct mountains in the Southwest corner of the state, a visit to Silverton Mountain is worth the trip from any direction. Skiers and riders wanting to experience the advanced, natural terrain that Silverton offers can fly to Durango/La Plata airport. Direct flights to this airport, as mentioned above, come from Denver and Phoenix, with a host of other connecting flights entering these major airports from most places around the globe.

For car travelers, the historic Million Dollar Highway (Highway 550) is the most direct way to get to Silverton, and also one of the most breathtaking drives in the country. Old relics from the mining era dot the roadside and vast acres of mountain wilderness are visible in all directions.

Ski Cooper
Located atop Tennessee Pass, just nine miles north of the historic mining town of Leadville, Ski Cooper offers guests a family-friendly atmosphere in a location thats easy to get to.

The resort draws skiers from the surrounding areas, including Front Range guests from Denver and Colorado Springs and out-of-state visitors too. Ski Cooper is located 125 miles from Denver International Airport and 135 miles from Colorado Springs.

SolVista Basin at Granby Ranch
SolVista Basin is just south of the town of Granby and at the footsteps of Colorados iconic Rocky Mountain National Park.

Guests of Granby Ranch can fly into one of several surrounding airports, including DIA, Eagle County, and Steamboat Springs/Hayden.

Visitors who drive to the resort can approach on Highway 40 from either Denver (from the South) or Steamboat Springs (from the north). Alternatively, guests who want to take a scenic route to SolVista Basin for fishing, golfing, or mountain biking during warmer months can travel on Highway 34 through Rocky Mountain National Park past Lake Granby to arrive at the resort from the North.

Travelers who want more opportunities to admire the panoramic views of the Continental Divide can travel by bus, shuttle or train. These options include AmTraks California Zephyr, with daily service from Union Station in downtown Denver to Granby (www.amtrak.com); Home James shuttle service from DIA directly to SolVista Basin (www.homejamestransportation.com); and the Greyhound bus line with daily service from downtown Denver to Granby (www.greyhound.com). A representative from Avalanche Car Rentals can then meet you with a rental vehicle (www.avscars.com).

Steamboat
Steamboat brushes up against the western edge of Routt National Forest in Northwestern Colorado. Ski Town USA is easily accessible by nonstop flights directly into Steamboat/ Hayden airport or connecting flights through Denver International Airport. To make planning easy for guests, the resort features www.FlySteamboat.com, a website that compiles travel deals and flight options from many major cities across the U.S.

The Steamboat Springs/Hayden airport will carry nonstop direct flights from nine cities across the country during the 2010-11 winter season, with daily arrivals and departures plus connecting flights providing access across the country and around the world. Four major US carriers American, Continental, Delta/Northwest and United Airlines offer nonstop jet service from Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Denver, Houston, Minneapolis/St. Paul and Newark.

Once in town, the city of Steamboat Springs offers free buses between the resort and town. Each bus is equipped for winter travel and ski/board storage. In addition, many lodging properties operate resort shuttle service and the ski area offers complimentary shuttle service from its free Meadows parking lot.

Sunlight
Sunlight Mountain Resort is a picturesque ski area tucked away at the northern end of the Elk Mountains between Aspen and Glenwood Springs, Colorado. The resort is located a short distance from I-70 by car, more-or-less equidistant between Denver and the Western border of Colorado.

By air, travelers can get closest to Sunlight from the Aspen/Pitkin County airport. The resort is also accessible from major airports at Grand Junction and Denver, which offer flights from most major cities around the country and connecting international flights on a daily basis.

Glenwood Springs is the home of the largest hot-spring pool in the world, where skiers often soak after a day of riding. Sunlight offers free shuttles to the resort from select hotels in Glenwood Springs as part of its Ski, Swim, Stay package. This vacation deal allows guests to combine a nights lodging, admission to the Glenwood Hot Springs, and a day lift ticket at Sunlight for one low price.

Telluride
Telluride Ski Resort is located in southwestern Colorado in the San Juan mountain range. Montrose and Telluride Regional Airports host direct air service from eight major cities across the US and connecting flights to cities around the world. These cities include Los Angeles, Phoenix, Chicago, Newark, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston and Denver.

New this year, Delta Air Lines will expand its winter Atlanta non-stop service to Montrose/Telluride to daily service beginning December 18, 2010. The new daily non-stop service will run until April 3, 2011. Also, Delta will be offering a special introductory airfare starting from as low as $139 each way to/from Atlanta plus applicable taxes and fees to celebrate the expansion to daily winter Atlanta service to Montrose/Telluride. While conditions and restrictions apply, other key markets in the Southeast and East will also have terrific introductory airfares. Major markets and departure locations include Atlanta, Charleston, Washington D.C., West Palm Beach, NY-LaGuardia, and Greensboro. The addition of these Delta services will make Telluride more accessible to travelers this winter.

Telluride is known as one of the most convenient resorts to get around in Ski Country. Telluride boasts a unique and innovative transportation system, a town-to-town gondola known simply as The Gondola. This free cable car ride transports visitors between the town of Telluride and Mountain Village, a town located mid-mountain on the ski resort. This option not only simplifies travel for guests, but also reduces the number of cars on roads between the two towns.

In addition to this transportation option, Telluride has a local biodiesel bus system to get people around town and to the resort, but technically everything in Telluride and the Mountain Village is within walking distance. With almost all of Tellurides accommodations being ski-in/ski-out, there is no waiting for shuttles or long walks with tons of gear to worry about.

Winter Park
Located only 67 miles from Denver, Winter Park is the closest major resort to Denver International Airport. It is accessible by plane, train, and automobile. To make travel arrangements as convenient as possible, Winter Park offers a complete travel service center to help guests plan their travel itinerary and logistics. Winter Park Resort Travel Services can find guests competitive rates on air, rail, and rental cars.

By air, Winter Park travelers most often fly into DIA and then either rent a car or take one of the shuttle options available from the airport to the resort.

Winter Park can boast as being one of few Colorado resorts accessible by rail. Amtraks California Zephyr Express runs daily winter trips to Fraser that is affordable and arrives early enough in the morning for train travelers to get in a full day of skiing.

For guests not wanting to lug their gear, Winter Park allows visitors to ship ahead and then pick-up their gear when they arrive. With airlines more frequently charging for extra gear, this service allows guests to bypass the hassle of checking equipment at the airport.

Wolf Creek
Wolf Creeks proximity to Pagosa Springs, Durango, South Fork and Alamosa make it a desirable destination for many winter travelers.

For ground travelers, Wolf Creek Ski Area is located in southwestern Colorado, one mile East of the Continental Divide on US Hwy 160. This incredible mountain pass has breathtaking views and with recent road upgrades, US Hwy 160 has made access to Wolf Creek Ski Area extremely navigable.

By air, Wolf Creek skiers can take advantage of United, Frontier and US Airways flights into Durango from Denver and Phoenix. The Alamosa Airport offers skiers another option with a daily flight from Denver by Great Lakes Aviation.