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The Gems of Colorado Ski Country: A Rocky Mountain Treasure Hunt

Photo: Casey Day, Skier: Tamara Jacobi, Location: Powderhorn Photo: Casey Day, Skier: Tamara Jacobi, Location: Powderhorn

A Gem Defined: Something prized especially for great beauty or perfection

Colorado is home to some of skiing and snowboardings best hidden treasures; but sometimes to discover them you have to take the road less traveled. Colorados eight Gems ski resorts epitomize alpine culture accentuated with western authenticity, endearing charm, and diverse terrain. Like diamonds in the rough, these resorts are strikingly beautiful, individually unique, and not to be overlooked. This winter, head out on a treasure hunt to discover the Colorado Gems. The eight resorts affectionately referred to as the Gems are:

  • Arapahoe Basin (A-Basin)
  • Cooper
  • Eldora Mountain Resort
  • Loveland Ski Area
  • Monarch Mountain
  • Powderhorn Resort
  • Ski Granby Ranch
  • Sunlight Mountain Resort

Bask in the Color of the Ski Country Gems

The Gems have soul, just like the colorful Coloradans that choose to ski them. Sharing lifts with mostly Colorado locals, visitors will find that folks are laid-back and friendly and the only hype is about the snow and skiing. Standing atop Monarch, Loveland, or A-Basin, its impossible to underestimate the power and beauty of the mountains as youre high on the Continental Divide with 360 views of the spectacular Colorado Mountains.

Gems resorts help guests remember what skiing and the mountains are really about. A day of skiing and riding at a Gems resort is not about style and panache. Rather, the culture of a Gem is akin to slipping back into childhood, to a period where the thrill of each day on snow is founded on savoring life and marveling at the majesty of the mountains.

Experience the Difference in Convenience

Besides being some of the most accessible resorts in Colorado, the Gems typically offer free close-in parking at the base of the mountain, which means a short and easy trek to the slopes.

The only long lines to be found at Gems resorts tend to be the long powder tracks carved by skiers and riders. With acres of outstanding terrain covering thousands of feet of vertical rise, the Gems ski big, guests spread out, and lift lines are short.

Cash in on the Value of a Gem

Each season, Gem resorts have a knack for raising the bar while still keeping skiing within reach of a family budget. With a mantra centered on top notch guest service and family friendliness, Gem resorts are proud to offer a wealth of benefits such as affordable lift ticket and lodging options, simple and affordable food and beverage, and down home family fun.


Arapahoe BasinDave Camara_Montezuma Bowl 2014

Elevate your experience at Arapahoe Basin. The Legend, is a laid-back, family-friendly ski area with diverse terrain and all the conveniences of a larger ski resort. Its 960 skiable acres include rugged peaks and chutes, spruce forests, and rolling natural terrain. On-mountain services include snow sports school, several dining options, a rental and repair shop, retail store, and free parking and shuttle services. Arapahoe Basin strives to create an experience different from other areas, a place that feels like a mountain home away from home.


Ski Cooper is both fun and affordable. Ski and ride long wide-open cruisers, tree-gladed runs, or short mogul shots on the backside of the mountain. Ski Cooper offers skiers and riders a unique and affordable alternative to the hustle and bustle of big resorts. Short lines and long runs are what its all about. Ski Coopers Chicago Ridge Snowcat Tours access more than 2,400 acres of skiing and riding atop the Continental Divide for those who want a deep winter powder experience.

Eldora Mountain Resort

Among the closest resorts to Denver, Eldora offers a short, no-hassle drive and is a quick 21 miles from Boulder. In addition to its charming local flavor, Eldora is best known for its diverse terrain, cross-country center, and outstanding childrens snow sports school. Eldora is one of Colorados best-kept secrets for families. Kids of all ages love Eldoras learning programs, and the resort offers a variety of terrain that can challenge any skiing or riding ability level.

LovelandLoveland Dustin Schaefer 2-19-2014

Just 53 miles from Denver, locals love Loveland for its free close-in parking, 400 inches of snow each season, low-key atmosphere, lack of lift lines, and 1,670 acres of varied terrain. Loveland Valley is a separate base area with gentle terrain perfect for beginners while The Ridge provides intermediate and advanced snow-riders terrain just the way they like it open, steep, and deep. Come find out why theres more to love at Loveland.

MonarchMonarch Mountain

Located in South Central Colorado, Monarch Mountain is what you might expect from a real Rocky Mountain ski area. Abundant natural snow (350+ inches) and friendly people are the two strongest attributes. Convenient parking, reasonable prices, and runs that flow naturally back to the base. At Monarch, youll lose the crowds but not your friends. Plus, with Monarchs Snowcat Tours, youll find greatpowder and 1,200 acres of expert terrain.


Head West to Powderhorn for some of Colorados best snow in a relaxed environment where families feel at home. Whether youre an expert tree skier or new to snowsports, Powderhorn has something for everyone. Located just east of Grand Junction, on the towering Grand Mesa, Powderhorn is known for having some of the best views and glade skiing in the state. Visit in March and dont forget to also load your bike or golf clubs.

Ski Granby RanchSkiGranbyRanch

Fun lesson programs, convenient access, and affordable prices make Ski Granby Ranch a long-time family favorite. This mountain paradise is a genuine Colorado retreat with western charm and small-town friendliness that invites you to slow down and enjoy your surroundings. Ski Granby Ranch offers a variety of dining options including its famous Granby Ranch Grill which comes complete with a sun-drenched, south-facing patio featuring panoramic views tosoak in while you sip your favorite aprs drink.Ski Granby Ranch is among themost family-friendly ski mountains in Colorado.

Sunlight 091Sunlight Mountain Resort

Sunlight Mountain Resort is a unique winter playground thats affordable and family-oriented. Sunlight features 67 named trails covering more than 470 acres. In addition to miles of cruising intermediate terrain, Sunlights East Ridge has one of the steeper runs in the state. Aptly named, The Heathen falls beneath your feet at a breathtaking 52 degrees. Sunlight also hosts some of the best tree skiing in Colorado with many aspen groves untracked days after snowfall. Sunlight MountainResort offers so much to smile about.

Cash in on Two-for-One Deals with the Colorado Ski Country USA Gems Card

One of the keys to unlocking the treasure trove of the Ski Country Gems is the Gems Card. Available for a nominal price each season, the Gems Card offers a buy-one-get-one lift ticket deal at each Gem resort. The discount can only be used once at each resort. A menu of other unique specials, discounts, and promotions are also available with the card. Visit to sign-up for a Gems card and head to any of Colorados eight Gems resorts this winter to take advantage of our treasure trove!