Your Guide to Colorado Ski Season 2014-2015

Visit these eight skiing destinations that are all within four hours of Denver.

If last year’s record skier attendance on Colorado’s slopes is any indication of what’s to come in the 2014-2015 ski season, it is time to prepare for your winter vacation riding the snow.  

Arapahoe Basin kicked off the season, opening its first run on October 17, quickly followed by Loveland, Copper Mountain and Keystone.

Here’s a brief guide of eight skiing destinations located within four hours of Denver:

Arapahoe Basin

Also known as A Basin, the slopes are only a 68-mile drive west of Denver, located in Summit County. Ride from some of the highest skiable terrain in North America, with half of the mountain above timberline. Though 90 percent of the runs are geared toward intermediate to expert skiers, lessons are available and a rental shop is on site.

  • Lifts: 8
  • Base Elevation: 10,780 feet
  • Summit Elevation: 13,050 feet
  • Number of Trails: 109
  • Longest Run: 1.5 miles

Aspen

Aspen has not one, but four mountains to choose from: Snowmass, Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk. Snowmass and Aspen Mountain are first to open with an estimated date of Nov. 27, and the other two are planned for Dec. 13. The town of Aspen boasts luxurious resorts, shopping and dining experiences for visitors’ time off of the slopes and is a 200-mile, 3.5-hour drive from Denver.

Snowmass has the highest vertical rise of any slopes in the country at 4,406 feet, with three terrain parks and two pipes (one beginner).

  • Lifts: 21
  • Base Elevation: 8,104 feet
  • Summit Elevation: 12,510 feet
  • Number of Trails: 94
  • Longest Run: 5.3 miles

 Aspen Mountain

Aspen Mountain is known for it’s black-diamond terrain with runs ranked intermediate to expert.

  • Lifts: 8
  • Base Elevation: 7,945 feet
  • Summit Elevation: 11,212 feet
  • Number of Trails: 76
  • Longest Run: 3 miles

Aspen Highlands has 360-degree views of the Maroon Bells, and expert runs as well as nearly one-fifth of the mountain classified as beginner terrain.

  • Lifts: 5
  • Base Elevation: 8,040 feet
  • Summit Elevation: 11,675 feet
  • Number of Trails: 122
  • Longest Run: 3.5 miles

Buttermilk is a beginner-skier and family destination with wide open, gently rolling trails and a 22-foot superpipe that sees X-Game and Olympian riders.

  • Lifts: 8
  • Base Elevation: 7,870 feet
  • Summit Elevation: 9,900 feet
  • Number of Trails: 44
  • Longest run: 3 miles

Breckenridge

Breckenridge, Colorado

Five peaks span nearly 3,000 acres in Breckenridge, with an open date yet to be determined. This mountain town and ski resort offers shopping, resorts, eateries and slopes running the gamut in level of difficulty, and is located only an 80-mile, 90-minute drive from Denver.

  • Lifts: 34
  • Base Elevation: 9,600 feet
  • Summit Elevation: 12,998 feet
  • Number of Trails: 187
  • Longest Run: 3.5 miles

Keystone

Keystone has three mountains to choose from including the largest mountain in Summit County, with the A51 Terrain Park on site for tricksters. Visitors can choose from beginner- to advanced-level slopes. Two unique villages with lodging and dining, adventure tours and an ice skating rink round out the area’s amenities, located 70 miles from Denver.

  • Lifts: 20
  • Base Elevation: 9,280 feet
  • Summit Elevation: 12,408 feet
  • Number of Trails: 131
  • Longest Run: 3.5 miles 

Loveland

Loveland

Only 53 miles from Denver, this mountain sees more snowfall (400 inches) than any other in Summit County. Loveland is situated along the Continental Divide, and skiers of all levels enjoy its varied terrain.

  • Lifts: 10
  • Base Elevation: 10.800 feet
  • Summit Elevation: 13,010 feet
  • Number of Trails: 93
  • Longest Run: 2 miles

Copper Mountain

Copper Mountain is one of the largest and least crowded mountains in Summit County with 21 percent of the runs geared toward beginners. Only 80 minutes from Denver, Copper Mountain has three villages at its base that include lodging, restaurants and shopping.

  • Lifts: 23
  • Base Elevation: 9,712 feet
  • Summit Elevation: 12,313 feet
  • Number of Trails: more than 140
  • Longest Run: 1.7 miles

Vail

The mountain town of Vail is encompassed by luxurious resorts, spas, fine dining and shopping amenities, and was designed in the likeness of European ski villages. The slopes cater to all levels of difficulty and are located within 100 miles of Denver; planned opening date is Nov. 21. 

  • Lifts: 31
  • Base Elevation: 8,120 feet
  • Summit Elevation: 11,570 feet
  • Number of Trails: 193
  • Longest Run: 4 miles

Winter Park

Winter Park

Colorado’s longest, continually operated ski resort consists of four mountains at Winter Park, with 25 lifts and 143 trails, and is located 65 miles from Denver. Winter Park, Mary Jane (including Parsenn Bowl), and Vasquez Ridge have ranging levels of difficulty, while additional Eagle Wind and The Cirque short runs are dedicated to the most difficult to advanced level skiers. Opening day is planned for November 15.

Winter Park

  • Base Elevation: 9,000 feet
  • Summit Elevation: 11,220 feet
  • Longest Run: 2 miles

Mary Jane/Parsenn Bowl

  • Base Elevation: 9,450/10,348 feet
  • Summit Elevation: 11,200/12,060 feet
  • Longest Run: 4.5/4.9 miles

Vasquez Ridge

  • Base Elevation: 9,486 feet
  • Summit Elevation: 10,700 feet
  • Longest Run: 1.4 miles
Kimberly Gunning
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