We put out a poll on our Instagram asking East students about their favorite ski/snowboarding resorts in Colorado. The following are the most popular.
#1 Winter park
It is no surprise that Winter park is students' favorite resort since it is so close to Denver—just 67.5 miles from East. Winter Park is fairly large, covering 3,081 acres of skiable terrain. The peak is located 11,220 feet from sea level, over twice as high as Denver. The mountain can be divided into seven different regions, including the notorious Mary Jane. There is something for everyone at Winter Park, making it attractive for all levels of skiers. For instance, the resort has a unique region called The Cirque, which is extreme backcountry terrain that is still within the patrolled area. Yet, the main and most popular region is full of flat, groomed terrain. It also is scattered with a staggering 7 terrain parks, each varying in size and type of features. Winter Park receives over 344.6 inches of snow annually, making powder days quite frequent. The resort mentions recently being “voted as North America’s #1 ski resort by USA Today readers” on the website and claims to be “Colorado’s longest continually run ski resort.” Winter park is quite close to Denver considering its somewhat large size and has very attractive features for all leaves of both skiers and boarders.
Just past Winter Park is Copper mountain, 80 miles away from East. Copper is notorious for the other activities located on the mountain, including tubing, zip lining, snowshoeing, ice skating, and the mountain even has a roller coaster. The resort is far from small with 2,500 acres of skiing terrain and has quite a high elevation—12,313 feet at its peak. Similar to winter park, Copper has a wide variety of terrain and can be enjoyed by all levels of skiers. More advanced skiers can enjoy the rare experience of cat skiing, skiers are taken up Tucker mountain via snowcat, with no extra fees.
Vail mountain is a bit farther away but still relatively close to Denver: 100 miles from East. Vail is a huge resort, the fourth largest in North America, at a whopping 5,317 acres and 31 lifts. The resort claims over 354 inches of snowfall every year. However, Vail is stereotypically very crowded and you might find yourself spending more time in lift lines than skiing. At times it is only the main lifts that are crowded, but the back bowls can get backed up to. During the pandemic, videos circulated the internet of lift lines stretching hundreds of yards up the run in the back bowls. Additionally, both the food and the lift tickets are exceptionally expensive. While few would recommend doing a day trip to vail on a Saturday, it can be a great place to ski on weekdays where there are fewer people; the absurd amount of terrain and variety in the type of runs make it impossible to get bored.
# 4 Crested Butte
Crested Butte is no day trip from Denver: the resort is 230 miles away from East. The resort is smaller compared to the others on the list with only 1,537 acres of skiable terrain. Yet due to the long drive, lift lines are minimal compared to resorts closer to Denver. However, Crested butte might not be the best place for all skiers. More than one-third of the runs are double black diamonds, and the resort only has 17 greens. The mountain is known for its challenging terrain and beautiful landscape.
#5 Aspen Snowmass
Aspen Snowmass is one resort, encompassing four different mountains: Aspen Mountain, Snowmass, Buttermilk, and Highlands. Snowmass is a more traditional ski mountain with 3,332 acres and a variety of terrain. Buttermilk is a simple, smaller mountain with lots of beginner terrain, and only 470 acres of terrain. Buttermilk also hosts the X-Games every year. Aspen Mountain and Highlands are much more difficult mountains. Aspen Mountain has zero green runs— not a single beginner trail in all 673 acres. Highlands is notorious for its exceptionally steep terrain, including the famous Highlands bowl.