Skiing is one of winter’s best pastimes, combining fun and adventure with beautiful landscapes and fresh winter air. Whether you’re a daring expert jumper or a cautious rookie glider, we’ve rounded up some of the best resorts so you can find the closest skiing to Denver — all of which can be reached in just under two hours. Some are perfect for a day trip, while others may beckon you to spend a night or two, but they all make Denver one of the best places to travel in the winter.
The closest skiing to Denver – 9 top resorts
1. Echo Mountain Resort
Idaho Springs, CO
Distance from Denver: 36 miles (50 minutes)
Echo Mountain Resort is the closest ski resort to Denver, making it an ideal choice for a quick day trip from the city. Echo Mountain is geared toward beginners, families and those with only a little more experience under their belt, as the mountain is mostly intermediate terrain. If you’re just starting out, stick to the beginner’s area and, instead of paid lessons, Echo Mountain Ambassadors are around to offer practical advice and pointers at no extra cost. You can also ski at night there.
2. Loveland Ski Area
Distance from Denver: 56 miles (1 hour)
Operating for more than 75 years, Loveland is best described as a no-frills ski resort, and as such, you can expect deals on passes, plus free snowcat lifts. The resort gets as much as 35 feet of snow per year, which is much more than any of the surrounding resorts. But don’t expect fancy amenities here, such as lodgings at the base. Instead, you’ll find restaurants with locals exchanging ski stories over beer and hot chocolate. The 1,800 acres of varied terrain cater to beginners and families in the Loveland Valley, as well as to intermediate and advanced skiers in Loveland Basin.
3. Eldora Mountain Resort
Distance from Denver: 48 miles (1 hour and 10 minutes)
Unpretentious and friendly, Eldora Mountain Resort is another excellent choice for those looking for the closest skiing to Denver. Although relatively small, it still challenges intermediate and expert skiers with advanced trails on Challenge Mountain through the Indian Peaks, Corona Bowl and West Ridge trails. Beginner-friendly trails are also available, as well as more than 20 miles for cross-country skiing.
4. Arapahoe Basin
Distance from Denver: 64 miles (1 hour and 10 minutes)
If you’re looking for advanced skiing terrain near Denver, make Arapahoe Basin (A-Basin, as the locals call it) your top choice. Thanks to elevations reaching 13,050 feet, it has one of the longest ski seasons, starting in October and ending in June. There are no accommodations here, so you’ll have to stay in neighboring towns, like Keystone, Silverthorne or Frisco.
5. Winter Park Resort
Winter Park, CO
Distance from Denver: 66 miles (1 hour and 15 minutes)
Winter Park Resort is not only one of the best ski resorts close to Denver, but also one of the biggest, with more than 3,000 acres of slopes and terrain parks. The resort has recently undergone structural updates, including new, faster chairlifts and renovations on the Sunspot Mountain Lodge. As an added bonus, you can reach the resort via the Winter Park Express train that departs from Denver Union Station, saving you money on transportation and parking.
6. Keystone Ski Resort
Distance from Denver: 69 miles (1 hour and 20 minutes)
Keystone stands out with many family-friendly programs and a Kidtopia Snow Fort play area. It also boasts one of the best terrain parks, featuring a dedicated lift. Family members who have yet to catch the skiing bug can pass the time skating, tubing and riding sleighs. Keystone River Run Village is likewise lively and where you’ll find an array of accommodations and dining options to turn your ski trip into a true vacation.
7. Copper Mountain Resort
Distance from Denver: 78 miles (1 hour and 20 minutes)
For some, skiing is as much a sport as a lifestyle. If you want the complete package, Copper Mountain Resort is up there with the best. It boasts a booming base area with lots of restaurants, shops, ample hotel choices and a packed events calendar that will keep you busy long after you finish on the trails. On the mountain itself, there are plenty of different terrains and trails to choose from for both beginners and expert skiers.
8. Breckenridge Ski Resort
Distance from Denver: 81 miles (1 hour and 35 minutes)
This resort spans five mountains and, at 12,840 feet, has the highest chairlift in North America. With 35 lifts and 187 trails, you likely won’t encounter lines here. However, Breckenridge Ski Resort is an extremely popular destination and sets a limit on day lift tickets to prevent overcrowding. The town of Breckenridge itself is a big draw, too, with Victorian buildings housing restaurants, shops and lovely hotels. Definitely make a long weekend out of your trip here.
9. Granby Ranch
Distance from Denver: 86 miles (1 hour and 40 minutes)
This family-owned ski resort is another spot well suited for families whose members have varying skill levels. A local favorite, Granby Ranch has easy, intermediate and advanced trails across its East and West Mountains. And when the sun sets, the lights go on for night skiing on select weekends. You’ll find plenty of local hotels to spend the night, but you won’t find an abundance of post-skiing nightlife here.
Tips for an affordable ski season
Skiing is a fun activity, but the costs can add up when you consider equipment, lift tickets and other expenses. Here are a few money-saving tips to keep in mind before you hit the slopes:
- Book early: Many resorts offer discounts on advance online purchases. If you’re flexible, ski during the week for off-peak prices. Or save money buying resort bundle packages.
- Rent equipment in Denver: Although renting gear at ski resorts is convenient, it usually comes at a higher cost. You can get cheaper ski clothes by renting from local outfitters in Denver, or buy used gear if you plan to ski through the season.
- Pack food and beverages: Bring your own meals, drinks and snacks to avoid expensive restaurants at the base.
Avail can get you to ski resorts close to Denver
Although these resorts are relatively close to Denver, you’ll still need a car to get there. When you borrow a vehicle from Avail, our daily rate includes a second driver and we offer insurance protection from Allstate. Our express check-in will get you on your way fast when you’re picking up a car from one of our many self-service neighborhood locations throughout Denver. Skip the long rental counter line this ski season by booking with Avail and you’ll be on the road to hit the slopes in no time.