Where to ski, stay and play in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains as voted by Travelplan Ski.
Home to 58 mountain peaks, 26 ski resorts, heavy snowfall (762 centimetres on average), 1803 snow trails and more than 300 days of sunshine each year, it’s easy to see why the Centennial State is known as ‘Ski Country’. Whether you’re an expert at the back bowls, still perfecting your plough or more interested in the après-ski options, Colorado has a resort to suit any traveller. It’s this overwhelming bounty of options that makes deciding where to go the hard part. We asked Travelplan Ski, Australia’s leading operator of snow holidays to the world’s best ski resorts, for the big three.
The world’s number one luxury family resort, Beaver Creek, is a vacation spot you’ll remember forever. Here, even the smallest details have been considered; heated walkways and escalators shuttle you from one village to the next, staff hand out warm chocolate chip cookies each afternoon in the alpine village, a mountaintop adventure area has activities for the whole family to enjoy, and dedicated attendants help weary guests carry their gear. Add in scrupulously groomed runs, few crowds, glitzy accommodation and fine dining to boot, and Beaver Creek is a place you’ll want to come back to year after year. Take a sleigh-ride to dinner at Beano’s Cabin or time your visit to catch the Winter Culinary Weekend to take your trip to the next level.
Mountain information: Hit 150 runs via 23 lifts with the longest run a cool 4.43 kilometres.
Average snowfall: 852 centimetres.
Known for: Hosting the who’s who of the ski world with upscale accommodation and some of the best corduroy in the state.
Where to stay: Indulge at The Ritz Carlton Bachelor Gulch, The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa, The Pines Lodge, Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort & Spa, St. James Place or The Osprey.
Where to eat and drink: Think world-class restaurants and laidback bars in a charming alpine setting. The open sleigh ride to the award-winning Beano’s Cabin for prime game cuts prepared over an open flame grill is a must.
Travelplan Ski deals: Stay five nights and save 10%, seven nights save you up to 15%, or go for 10 nights or more and save 20%. Book here.
An epic mountain backdrop, varied terrain and beautiful backcountry has warranted Vail’s status as one of not only Colorado’s but the world’s premier mountain resorts. The tree-ridden trails of Blue Sky Basin and the legendary Back Bowls will lure you in for your first trip, but it’s the cute cobblestone streets, central clock towers and idyllic restaurants, bars and taverns of Vail Village that will keep you coming back again and again.
Mountain information: Choose from 195 runs across 11 kilometres and three distinct ski areas; Back Bowls, Blue Sky Basin, and the Front Side.
Average snowfall: 899 centimetres.
Known for: Being Colorado’s biggest (and possibly most picturesque) resort with the most impressive terrain variety and interesting villages.
Where to stay: Vail Valley is dotted with places to stay. Try the Arrabelle at Vail Square in the heart of Lionshead, The Lodge at Vail or The Sebastian Vail, or – for the ultimate in luxury – the Solaris Residences, the Four Seasons Vail or the Ritz-Carlton Residences.
Where to eat and drink: From ski-in/ski-out fine dining, European chalets and alpine-inspired local fare, the dining options in Vail are as varied as the mountain’s terrain.
Travelplan Ski deals: Stay four nights and save up to 15%. Book here.
Five huge peaks, 1,200 hectares of skiable terrain or 167 kilometres of piste, four terrain parks, a 6.7-metre Superpipe, the highest chairlift in North America, a world-class ski and snowboard school, magic carpets, monster mogul runs, steep chutes, gentle green runs, ‘Kid Adventure Zones’, and we could go on. If you’re travelling with a family, then Breckenridge – or ‘Breck’ as it’s known – likely fits the bill. With over 250 historic buildings, including some that have stood for over 100 years, it’s one of the largest historical districts in Colorado with an authentic (and pretty hip) mountain spirit making it a fun place to enjoy a few non-ski activities, too.
Mountain information: 187 runs, four terrain parks and a 22-inch Superpipe accessed via 34 lifts. Need we say more?
Average snowfall: 889 centimetres or an average of more than seven meters of snow annually.
Known for: High-alpine skiing, family-friendly terrain and small town charm at one of Colorado’s most welcoming and authentic resorts.
Where to stay: Experience the ‘real’ Breck at Mountain Thunder Lodge, Gravity Haus, One Ski Hill Place or The Village at Breckenridge.
Where to eat and drink: Grab a crepe in a cardboard sleeve at Crepes a la Cart (if there isn’t a line that is) or get cosy at Hearthstone – a romantic restaurant located off Main Street in a historic Victorian home with views of the town and the slopes.
Travelplan Ski deals: Seize the season rates* start from $139 per night at Village at Breck Studio, the River Mountain Lodge will set you back $119 per night, Mountain Thunder Lodge is $175 per night, while Crystal Peak Lodge and One Ski Hill Place are $199 and $225 per night respectively. Book here.