Skiing In Southwestern Colorado: A MapQuest Guide
Every skier loves a Colorado adventure, especially when fresh powder and big mountain skiing is involved. Southwestern Colorado offers plenty of both on some of the best verticals in North America. Here, the mountains are uncrowded, the skies are blue and the snow is plentiful and perfect. But be warned -- it's a world apart from Vail or Aspen.
Durango is one of America's best ski towns, and Durango Mountain Resort offers its denizens -- and lucky visitors -- "great snow, blue-sky days, minimal crowds and short lift lines." Built on "1,360 acres of terraced terrain on the slopes of Purgatory Mountain," the resort's 88 trails receive an average of more than 260 inches of snow every season.
Since it's located "between two weather systems that tend to produce consistent snow followed by bright, sunny days, skiers are likely to find fresh powder and pleasant weather," according to The Huffington Post. With consistently great conditions, visitor itineraries by and large focus on the mountain. While the apres-ski scene is somewhat limited, there are some cool events on the Durango calendar. For instance, the Brewski Demofest merges a backcountry gear expo with avalanche prep clinics and locally brewed craft beer -- genius, right?
Southwestern Colorado Ski & Snowboard Resorts Map
Click pinpoints for driving directions.
Legend has it that Telluride's name is a contraction of the phrase "to hell you ride," but the resort's "picturesque views and quality terrain" will convince most skiers and riders that it's heaven on earth. The mountain receives an average of 300 inches of snow per year, and its 4,425-foot drop (served by a variety of hike-to-ski paths) is the greatest vert skiers will experience in North America outside the Canadian Rockies.
Telluride's 125 trails on more than 2,000 skiable arces are often so sparsely populated that the resort claims, "you'll often feel like you are on your own private ski slope." Couple that with runs like the scenic Galloping Goose, which exceeds 4.5 miles in length, and you're looking at some quality alone time.
WATCH: Tasteful Telluride Teaser
Silverton Mountain is not a typical ski resort, nor is it for novices. The mountain operates a single lift that delivers skiers and riders to a prime spot on the mountain. There, they can ski down over unmarked trails, or hike farther up the mountain to access more terrain. Failing that, guests can always book a helicopter to take them anywhere on the mountain's 1,819 acres.
Silverton's "trail" names -- Super Snapper, Concussion Woods, Hell's Gate, Nightmare -- speak for themselves. If you're looking to cruise leisurely down the mountain, it might be better to go elsewhere. Plus, since limited lift tickets available (in order to ensure that the snow is fresh and relatively untracked), it's probably best to leave Silverton to those who truly desire it.
Did we miss your favorite ski and snowboard resort in Southwestern Colorado? Tell us about it in the comments section below.
Plan your next winter getaway with MapQuest's ski resort guides for winter travel destinations in the U.S. and Canada.