6 Most Underrated Colorado Ski Areas
Does it seem like your always sharing powder days with thousands of other people? Maybe you just want a true mountain experience without all of the pricey frills. Colorado’s large supply of areas to ski and even more backcountry locations to choose from make it easy for a few epic venues to remain under the radar. That’s just how they like it, too.
Use the following guide to find a new place to shred at some of the best underrated Colorado ski areas and mountain venues:
1. Telluride Ski Resort - Telluride, CO
Telluride Ski Resort offers almost 150 runs and more than 2,000 acres of skiable terrain. Many of the runs provide majestic views of surrounding mountains. Try The Plunge, which descends a staggering 3,140 feet.
The classic ski town of Telluride, a National Historic Landmark since 1964, has been home to the resort for over 45 years and offers plenty of things to do when you don’t feel like skiing. From world-class restaurants and lodges to craft breweries and festivals, you’ll find it all in Telluride.
2. Wolf Creek Ski Area - Pagosa Springs, CO
Arguably one of the best places to find deep powder in the lower 48, Wolf Creek Ski Area is known to have “The Most Snow in Colorado.” The Wolf Creek ski report records an annual snowfall of 430 inches making it perfect for anyone that enjoys dodging trees while floating through pristine powder (who doesn’t?). Better yet, despite the stellar conditions season after season, the resort has been able to stay small and family-run for more than 40 years.
At Wolf Creek, you’ll be pleased to find delicious homemade food, a friendly atmosphere, affordable pricing, and fantastic conditions. Combined, it makes for an experience worth well more than the price of a lift ticket. Plus, Pagosa Springs is our home base and product testing grounds, so why not stop by for a visit when you're off the slopes? If you’re in need of ski wear for your trip, our ski jackets and thermals will keep you warm no matter what the weather looks like. You’ll also blend right in with the rest of the locals!
3. Crested Butte Mountain Resort - Crested Butte, CO
With a rich history, lack of crowds, and beautiful scenery, Crested Butte Mountain Resort offers more than 1,500 skiable acres for all skill levels. The resort is well-known for its diverse extreme terrain ranging from steep chutes and cliff drops to high altitude bowls and tree glades.
Crested Butte also offers plenty of beginner and intermediate runs making it great for families. Plus, Colorado’s last great ski town has a refreshingly relaxed atmosphere and plenty of hidden gems for something to do off the slopes.
4. Silverton Mountain Ski Area - Silverton, CO
Catering to the advanced skier or snowboarder, Silverton Mountain is the place to go for those in search of a true mountain experience. Located deep in the San Juan Mountains, a Silverton Mountain guide is needed for most of the season and there is only one lift, but the unbelievable terrain and conditions make the extra effort well worth it.
The lift ticket provides access to more than 1,800 acres while a bit of hiking or a short helicopter ride gives you 22,000 acres to play with. For $179, you’ll be escorted by helicopter to anywhere within those 22,000 acres giving you full access to every untouched nook and cranny you can see.
5. Telluride Helitrax - Telluride, CO
Ready for your annual ski trip with the boys? Make this trip one to remember by booking the ultimate excursion with Telluride Helitrax. Colorado’s premier helicopter skiing and snowboarding outfit, Telluride Helitrax provides a wide variety of trips ranging from a heli-ski day of 6 runs to fully custom, multi-day packages. Travelling by helicopter gives you access to more than 200 square miles of untouched, pristine terrain containing some of the highest peaks in North America. Telluride heli skiing will let you view the stunning Rocky Mountains from a whole new perspective while choosing exactly where you want the chopper to land. Your trip also includes expert guides that will show you all of the best peaks, making this a truly unforgettable experience.
For those hardcore skiers and snowboarders that choose a multi-day package, you’ll be placed in a cozy cottage and provided with all of the things necessary to keep you fueled for the coming days of epic snow. Telluride Helitrax also offers scenic tours and film support from the helicopter while those that want two feet firmly on the ground can opt for their backcountry trips complete with a Helitrax guide.
6. Eleven Experience Backcountry & Cat Skiing - Irwin, CO
For those willing to pull out all the stops to find the best powder in the state, look no further than Eleven’s Backcountry and Cat Skiing in Irwin, Colorado, just west of Crested Butte. Due to a meteorological anomaly, this area gets almost 450 inches of snow, nearly double the snowfall of Crested Butte Mountain Resort. Surprise storms commonly visit this area, leaving behind multiple feet of fluffy powder during the course of a single day. The area’s 1,000 acres of skiable terrain are only accessible by snowmobile or snowcat, meaning your group may get to enjoy the conditions without seeing another person. Cat skiing Colorado will let you experience the Centennial State that few get to witness.
After your all-day excursion, the small town of Irwin has almost everything you could need. The town has a decent selection of lodging and places to eat, but you’ll most likely want to stay in Crested Butte. Only 20 minutes away, Crested Butte offers plenty of amazing places to eat and stay making it a great base camp for an excursion with Eleven Experience.
You have plenty of options when looking for an area to ski or snowboard in Colorado, so why choose a crowded resort with mediocre snow? Taking a chance on any of the lesser known mountain venues and ski areas above will surely lead to epic snow and straight to you asking that question. So, skip all the hassle and spend your hard earned money at a place that values a true mountain experience without the unnecessary frills. For more ways to enjoy the mountains, check out our other article "How to Make the Most of Your Winter Vacation to the Colorado Rocky Mountains."