As the Epic pass and Ikon pass grow — more and more resorts are joining their association. But while these passes might provide deals, they also draw large crowds which slow you down on the mountain. This season — if you want to ski off the beaten path to avoid crowds, try the slope less traveled. Colorado is host to many of these smaller ski mountains — many within hours of Denver. Whether you’re looking for calm beginner terrain or backcountry advanced runs — these six mountains have something for everyone.
Location: Dillion, Colorado
From Denver: 57 Miles — Estimated One Hour of Driving
Regular Season Ticket Price: $79
Expected Opening Day: October 20
The Lowdown: Loveland Ski Area rests along the Continental Divide and above the Eisenhower Tunnel west of Denver. With nine lifts and 94 trails covering over 1,800 skiable acres — you’re sure to find something that suits your ski style. Can’t find something you enjoy directly off the lifts? Load up in the free snowcats — accessible with a lift ticket and free Ridge Cat Pass — and take off across the Continental Divide for the most difficult expert terrain.
Where: Granby, Colorado
From Denver: 86 Miles — An Estimated Hour and a Half of Driving
Regular Season Ticket Price: $84
Expected Opening Day: December 14
The Lowdown: Granby Ranch is a family-owned ski resort just south of Grand Lake, Colorado. With 38 trails and 406 skiable acres serviced by five ski lifts — there is something for the beginner and advanced skiers. Looking to try something new? Granby Ranch offers night skiing December 29, January 19, February 16 and March 16 for only $15. This family-friendly resort offers something for everyone.
Where: Leadville, Colorado
From Denver: 109 Miles — An Estimated Two Hours of Driving
Regular Season Ticket Price: $54
Expected Opening Day: December 8
The Lowdown: Boasting no lift lines and terrain for all variety of riders — Ski Cooper sits just north of the highest city in North America. Ski Cooper is known for being an affordable mountain with short lift lines and trails of powder. There are 41 trails being serviced by four lifts spread across the mountain — if you’re looking for a greater adventure sign up for the snowcat skiing tour. Giving you access to 2,600 acres of powder bowls and untapped terrain. Plus you can’t forget their two-fer Tuesday deals.
Where: Salida, Colorado
From Denver: 157 Miles — An Estimated Three Hours of Driving
Regular Season Ticket Price: $89
Expected Opening Day: November 21
The Lowdown: Monarch Mountain celebrates 350″ of natural snow each year and has some of the shortest lift lines in the state. This mountain has everything. With almost half of their runs being advanced or extreme runs this mountain loves to fuel your adrenaline. With 64 trails connected by six ski lifts — you are able to traverse this mountain as fast as you’re willing to ski. If advanced runs aren’t enough for you — book a seat on a snowcat to access the most extreme runs — with the benefit of an included lunch and complimentary beer, wine and well drinks at the end of the day.
Where: Durango, Colorado
From Denver: 363 Miles — An Estimated Six and a Half Hours of Driving
Regular Season Ticket Price: $89
Expected Opening Day: November 17
The Lowdown: Located in the San Juan National Forest lies Purgatory Ski Resort. With two-thirds of its runs being beginner or intermediate, this is a great stop for beginners. Plus, its 13 lifts give you unlimited access to all 99 of the beautiful runs on this mountain. If you’re an experienced rider — don’t discount this resort. Catch a ride on a snowcat and explore 35,000 acres of unmatched terrain. Ski expansive bowls, chutes, tight trees and more on this unforgettable backcountry experience.
Where: Silverton, Colorado
From Denver: 330 Miles — An Estimated Six and a Half Hours of Driving
Regular Season Ticket Price: $179
Expected Opening Day: November 24
The Lowdown: For the greatest thrill seekers — Silverton Mountain is your destination. With over 400″ of snow a year this mountain is going to push you to your limits. Silverton’s one ski lift will drop you at 12,300′ — this mountain is yours to explore. Hosting less than 80 guests on an average day leaves you feeling alone with the mountain. If the ski lift doesn’t get your adrenaline rushing — take the next step and board a helicopter ready to drop you at over 29,000 acres of Colorado’s finest terrain.