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12 Best Colorado Ski Resorts for Beginners

12 Best Colorado Ski Resorts for Beginners

For most people in the US, Colorado is the first state that comes to mind when they think of skiing. And there is definitely a good reason for that. 

Its epic beauty, unmatched blue mountains, fresh powder, and mammoth mountains make Colorado an unrivaled ski destination for skiers and boarders of all abilities. 

Colorado’s world-class ski resorts, like Aspen and Vail Resort attract guests from all over the world. 

These ski resorts provide plenty of opportunities for skiers and snowboarders, from tree glades to cruisers.

However, if you are just getting started in skiing, you may feel intimidated to visit the country’s best ski state. 

And even if you are optimistic about finding a beginner-friendly ski area in Colorado, it can be a bit challenging to sift for the best one for you, given that the state has over 30 ski resorts. 

But you don’t have to worry since we got you covered!

To save you some time in your search, we’ll provide detailed reviews of the best ski resorts for beginner skiers in Colorado. Check them out!

12 Best Ski Resorts for Beginners in Colorado 

#1. Vail Ski Resort

Vail Ski Resort
  • Vertical Drop – 3, 450 feet
  • Skiable Terrain – 5,317 acres 
  • Ski Lifts – 31

Being one of the most popular ski destinations in North America and across the globe, Vail Ski Resort never disappoints when it comes to beginner skiing. 

Vail Ski Resort boasts a whopping 5,317 acres of skiable terrain, and about 18% of the slopes are beginner-friendly. Its reliable snow and excellent amenities make it almost a synonym for Colorado skiing. 

To get to the main beginning skiers’ area in Vail, you just have to look for the Vail Village Bar, as the green slopes and the Gopher Hill lift are nearby.

From the green runs, you can head on to the gondola and practice how to get on and off. The gondola will take you up to the middle of the mountain.

Mid-Vail offers more beginner slopes that you can try out and ride through the forest for a thrilling experience. 

What you’ll love in Vail Ski Resort as a beginner skier is that the mountain is designed in that even new riders get to ride from high peaks. 

For example, trails like Gitalong Road and Lion’s Way will give you an exciting experience from high peaks to the base. 

Learning to Ski in Vail

Just like its high-quality skiing, Vail has an excellent ski school where guests interested in various snow sports can learn how to ride on the snow. 

There are several learning centers located throughout the ski resort, with the Golden peak being the main ski school for kids. 

Learning packages include a 3-day package for first-timers, including the lessons, lift ticket, and ski equipment rental. 

If you are visiting Vail Ski Resort with your family, you can also sign up for private lessons, which will last for a full day with a qualified instructor. 

Après-Ski

Apart from skiing and snowboarding in Vail, you can also engage in other activities like dog sledding, snow tubing, snow biking, ice skating, and snowmobile tours at Adventure Ridge.

When you are not hitting the slopes, you can visit the Vail Village, which will keep you charged with its fantastic shops, restaurants, and bars. 

#2. Breckenridge Ski Resort 

Breckenridge Ski Resort
  • Vertical Drop – 3,398 feet 
  • Skiable Terrain – 2,908 acres 
  • Ski Lifts – 35  

While Breckenridge is one of the best-known ski resorts in Colorado, it still manages to offer affordable services, making it the best ski resort for beginners working with a tight budget. 

The high-altitude resort has a skiable terrain of nearly 3,000 acres. This terrain spreads across five mountain peaks and has trails that suit different levels and abilities. 

If you are getting started in skiing, Breckenridge Ski Resort has a dedicated beginner area near Camelback Platter. Here, you can master the magic carpets before practicing how to get on and off lifts with the QuickSilver chairlift. 

You’ll also have a lot of fun at peak 9, as it offers several green runs, including Lower Lehman and Frontier runs. Then you can progress to peak 8 for gentle slopes and 7 to find incredible blue runs for more practice. 

All the ski trails are perfectly groomed to ensure that beginner, intermediate and advanced skiers have an enjoyable experience skiing in this ski resort. 

Learning to Ski in Breckenridge

Breckenridge Ski Resort has several learning programs that beginners can choose from, including child and adult lessons. 

Child lessons are available for kids aged three years and above, with the class sizes adapted to cover different abilities. This ensures that every learner has adequate attention from the trainer.

Group ski lessons are available for both kids and adults, and they tend to be cheaper than private ones. Even so, private lessons are great for faster learning as the trainer provides dedicated attention to the learner. 

If you enroll in private lessons, you’ll get a video review after learning to see your mistakes and receive relevant advice from the instructor. 

Après-Ski 

When you are not skiing or snowboarding at Breckenridge, you can visit the resort’s scenic spots and enjoy the incredible hospitality of the restaurants. 

You can also take a tour of the quaint town and learn the interesting history of this ski resort before heading to the main street for shopping. 

Those looking for more snow adventures will love alpine sliding, ice skating, and dog sledding. 

#3. Beaver Creek 

Beaver Creek
  • Vertical Drop – 3,340 feet 
  • Skiable Terrain – 1,832 acres 
  • Ski Lifts – 24

Beaver Creek is a luxurious ski resort that focuses on providing the best skiing and snowboarding experience. 

Since Beaver Creek is owned by Vail Resorts, most people view it as a luxury and smaller version of Vail. But the good thing is that it still aspires to cater to the needs of beginners and those traveling with their families. 

There are plenty of skiing and snowboarding opportunities for beginners at Beaver Creek, as about 20% of its slope comprises green runs. 

When skiing in this ski resort as a beginner, you can start with Haymeadow Park, where you’ll find a lift to take you to green trails for learning. 

Then move on to Red Buffalo Park to find a variety of green trails for practicing and learning new techniques. 

There is also a newly opened McCoy Park in Beaver Creek Resort, which provides more slopes for beginner skiers and snowboarders. 

What you’ll love most about Beaver Creek is its general responsibility for taking care of its skiers and boarders. This resort has actually won several awards from the National Ski Area Association for providing the best safety on the mountain. 

Learning to Ski in Beaver Creek

The ski school at Beaver Creek Resort offers private and group lessons that you can enroll in to learn to ski and snowboard. 

All the instructors are highly qualified, and they make a video for analysis, allowing you to see and correct your mistakes for quick learning. 

Après-Ski 

Some of the exciting activities to engage in after skiing include, snow tubing, watching fireworks displays, and eating fresh cookies. 

When it comes to accommodation, Beaver Creek offers ski-in/ski-out options in its luxurious hotels, condo units, and vacation homes. 

You can also take a free shuttle ride to the nearby Avon for more accommodation and dining options. 

#4. Copper Mountain 

Copper Mountain
  • Vertical Drop – 2,738 feet 
  • Skiable Terrain – 2,527acres 
  • Ski Lifts – 24 

If you are looking for a beginner-friendly ski resort that will give you the best value for your money, Copper Mountain is a perfect ski destination.

This ski area has transformed over the years and now offers superb skiing with modern amenities to its guests while still maintaining its down-home atmosphere. 

The ski mountain has pretty much everything you need as a beginner skier from your ski trip, from endless winter activities to ski-in and ski-out accommodations. 

Snow conditions are usually attractive at Copper Mountain, and all the runs receive a lot of grooming to ensure that every skier and rider get the best share of the snow. 

The vast ski terrain featured in this resort means that you’ll have lots of space to learn to ski and practice your skills without much interference from more advanced skiers. 

You just have to go to the beginner area, which is located between East Village and Center Village to access acres of green runs. 

If you are big on other winter sports and events, you’ll want to check the website for the latest events before visiting to ensure that you have something exciting to do after skiing. 

Learning to Ski in Copper Mountain

Copper Mountain Ski Resort offers lessons to skiers and snowboarders in groups with a maximum of 10 kids or adults. 

But if you would like to learn alone, you can enroll in private lessons, which are much more effective. 

Once you gain confidence, you can head to the beginner terrain park and practice small jumps and other tricks. 

Après-Ski 

Copper Mountain offers 25 km of trails for cross-country skiing across the gorgeous White River National Forest. 

Non-skiing activities to engage in while vacationing at Copper mountain include snowshoeing, snow tubing, ice-skating, Zip lining, riding the Rocky Mountain Coaster, and exploring the resort’s snow maze.

#5. Winter Park Resort 

Winter Park Resort
  • Vertical Drop – 3,060 feet 
  • Skiable Terrain – 3,081 acres 
  • Ski Lifts – 25

If you are looking for an easily accessible ski area and don’t enjoy driving when it snows, you can board a train from Denver to Winter Park Ski Resort

This is the fourth-largest Colorado Ski Resort that offers an incredible ski terrain of more than 3,000 acres. 

While a large percentage of the resort’s terrain favors experienced skiers, there are plenty of opportunities for beginner and intermediate skiers. 

You might think that the beginner ski trails, which occupy about 24% of the slope are less, but the truth is that it’s still a lot given the resort’s overall size. Beginner skiers will have over 40 runs all to themselves. 

The ski terrain spreads across two distinct mountains, so you can be sure of impressive sceneries when skiing at Winter Park Ski Resort.

Learning to Ski in Winter Park 

The best way to learn to ski in Winter Park Ski Resort is to book your lessons before visiting the resort, given that this is a popular mountain. You don’t want to experience any disappointments. 

Booking early can also be a cheaper way to learn to ski in Winter Park since you may be entitled to offers and discounts. 

The snowboarding and ski lessons are usually adapted to suit different abilities, but you can sign in for private or family lessons. 

Après-Ski 

Après-Ski activities at Winter Park include snow biking, snowmobile tours, moonlight ski touring, snowshoeing, and snow tubing. 

The mountain village is full of life, with various dining options, great food, and fantastic shopping. 

Whether you want to stay in a condo unit or a townhome, accommodation options are endless in Winter Park. 

#6. Aspen Snowmass 

Aspen Snowmass
  • Vertical Drop – 4,406 feet 
  • Skiable Terrain – 5,517 acres 
  • Ski Lifts – 40 

Aspen Snowmass is an impressive ski resort to visit as you get to explore four incredible mountains with one lift ticket. This includes Snowmass, Aspen Mountain, Buttermilk, and Aspen Highlands. 

It’s easy to explore these mountains because there are lifts to take you from one peak to the other. You can also use the mountain shuttle services to navigate the mountains. 

Snowmass is the largest mountain of the four, and it’s well-known for providing the best family-friendly skiing in Aspen, making it attractive to beginner skiers. 

If you are traveling with your family, your kids will love the child-friendly amenities and the stunning village. 

You can learn to ski at the high-altitude Elk Camp, which will give you panoramic views of the mountain rather than skiing in the base area. 

Assay and Fanny Hills are also perfect for beginners to practice skiing and snowboarding. 

Once you get enough skiing in Snowmass, you can progress to Buttermilk and Aspen Highlands for more beginner and intermediate trails. Then sum-up your adventure at Aspen Mountain, which features more advanced and expert terrain. 

Learning to Ski in Aspen Snowmass

The best place to learn to ski when visiting Aspen is Snowmass, as it features more beginner terrain compared to the other mountains. 

Even so, there are different ski lessons at Buttermilk and Aspen Highlands. 

Après-Ski 

While Aspen Snowmass is known to provide great kid-friendly fun, there are a lot of enjoyable things adults can engage in after skiing and snowboarding. 

You can choose between snowcat dinners and Ullr nights or do both after riding the alpine coaster. 

Then visit one of the resort’s bars and restaurants to enjoy meals and drinks after a long skiing day. You don’t have to worry about where to stay since accommodation options are unlimited at Aspen Snowmass. 

#7. Keystone Ski Resort 

Keystone Ski Resort
  • Vertical Drop – 3,128 feet 
  • Skiable Terrain – 3,148 acres 
  • Ski Lifts – 20 

With excellent green ski runs at the base of the mountain, Keystone Resort is a great ski area for beginners looking to learn skiing and snowboarding. 

It’s a perfect ski resort to visit with your family as a beginner, as there is free parking and several activities to keep your family entertained. 

The ski slopes are properly organized at Keystone such that it’s pretty easy for beginners to progress to more challenging terrain as they gain confidence. 

If you are traveling with your kids, childcare services are available at Keystone for youngsters aged six months and above. 

Learning to Ski in Keystone 

Keystone Resort offers some of the best ski and snowboarding lessons. And depending on your specific needs, you can benefit from the adaptive ski program. 

You can start your learning journey at the base of the mountain, which has three beginner areas, then head on to the top of Dercum Mountain for more practice riding downhill.

Once you’ve built confidence and mastered your skills, you can take on a challenge at the famous 4-mile run known as the Schoolmarm. 

Après-Ski 

Après-Ski activities in Keystone Ski resort include snow tubing, sleigh rides, snow biking, exploring maze tunnels, shopping, and fine dining. 

When it comes to accommodation in Keystone Resort, you are spoilt for options. Its River Run Village has plenty of condos and hotels to choose from. 

#8. Steamboat Ski Resort 

Steamboat Ski Resort
  • Vertical Drop – 3,668 feet 
  • Skiable Terrain -2,965 acres 
  • Ski Lifts – 21

Another excellent Colorado ski resort that provides great opportunities for beginner skiers and snowboarders is Steamboat

Steamboat Ski Resort is a classic ski area that has won several awards for being one of the best ski resorts with family-friendly amenities in Colorado. 

If you want to learn how to ski or snowboard, you can visit Steamboat for your first ski trip, as this ski hill has plenty of terrain for beginners. 

What’s fascinating about this ski resort is that it has embraced change and developed new terrain and infrastructure to ensure that guests enjoy modern amenities in the ski mountain. 

The learning area has also been moved up the mountain so that beginners have some lovely views to watch while training. 

Learning to Ski in Steamboat 

Steamboat Ski Resort offers ski and snowboarding lessons to both kids and adults. Those between 5 and 12 years can join the kids’ programs, while teenagers and adults have their own programs. 

These learning programs are usually matched for the ability to ensure that your little ones get the most out of the lessons. 

If you want to learn with your family or friends, you can enroll in private lessons to ensure that you spend as much time together as possible during your ski trip. 

Après-Ski 

When you are done hitting the slopes for the day, you can visit Steamboat Springs, the resort’s ski town that boasts a casual western vibe. Here, you’ll enjoy festivals and dining customized to this theme. 

Apart from skiing and snowboarding, there are many winter fun activities to engage in, including horse-drawn sleigh rides, snowcat tours, ski biking, and riding the mountain coaster. 

You can also ice skate or visit a geothermal hot spring to relax and soak up your hurting muscles. 

#9. Crested Butte Mountain Resort 

Crested Butte Mountain Resort
  • Vertical Drop – 3,062 feet 
  • Skiable Terrain 1,547 acres 
  • Ski Lifts – 14

Located in the southwest region of Colorado, Crested Butte is a year-round ski resort that boasts the largest ski town in Colorado. 

It provides its guests with the most beautiful sceneries and rich history to explore. And there is a large terrain of more than 1,500 acres, so you don’t have to worry about large crowds on the slopes. 

Like other ski resorts for beginners in Colorado, Crested Butte has several beginner areas that are easily accessible with various lifts. 

You can start with Pine Conveyor Lift or Aspen Conveyor Lift, then move up the mountain to choose between West Hall and Peachtree Lifts to access green and blue slopes. 

Once you gain confidence on the snowy slopes, head to the Red Lady Express Lift, which will take you to a selection of green trails that run down the mountain. 

Learning to Ski in Crested Butte 

Crested Butte is home to one of the best ski schools in Colorado. The ski school in this resort allows you to take ski lessons directly from an Olympian skier if you take private ski or snowboarding lessons. 

The lessons are available for both kids and adults looking to learn how to ski and snowboard. And if you buy your lift ticket early before booking your lessons, you’ll enjoy a 20% discount. 

Après-Ski 

Once you finish skiing, you can drop your kids at Adventure Park and head to the charming Elk Street to learn the mining history of this area. 

You’ll find a wide range of dining options in Crested Butte, from Butte 66 to Ten Peaks Umbrella Bar. For accommodation, there are ski-in/ski-out options at Crested Mountain and many condo units within the mountain and nearby. 

#10. Arapahoe Basin 

Arapahoe Basin
  • Vertical Drop – 2,530 feet 
  • Skiable Terrain – 1,428 acres 
  • Ski Lifts – 9 

If you are looking for a budget-friendly and laid-back ski resort in Colorado, Arapahoe Basin is your best bet. 

Many people overlook this ski resort by visiting popular ski mountains like Vail, so it’s almost impossible to find it crowded. This gives beginners a conducive environment to get their feet on the snow. 

About 38% of the slopes in Arapahoe Basin are beginner-friendly, giving you plenty of space to practice and build experience skiing or snowboarding. 

The resort’s Molly Hogan double lifts and several magic carpets at the base area will give you access to a vast beginner area. Here, you can practice your moves and build confidence riding on the snow. 

And when you are done with the green runs at the base, you can move on and take the high-speed Black Mountain Express lift that will take you up the mountain for more beginner runs. 

But you’ll need to be careful with the high-altitude beginner slopes, as it’s easy to get distracted by advanced and expert skiers.

If you feel that faster skiers will intimidate you, it’s wise to stick to the slower skier area for an enjoyable experience. 

Learning to Ski in Arapahoe Basin

Whether you are traveling alone or with your family, you’ll love learning to ski in Arapahoe as it provides lessons that suit different ages and abilities. 

These lessons are available to skiers and boarders aged three years and above and can be private or group sessions. 

Après-Ski 

Arapahoe offers plenty of dining options to its guests, from specialty-themed dining to smoked BBQ. 

There is no on-site lodging at Arapahoe Basin, but you’ll find several hotels and inns in the neighboring towns. For larger vacation homes, you can stay in Denver. 

Activities to engage in after skiing downhill include snowshoe tours and freestyle riding at the resort’s terrain parks. 

#11. Wolf Creek 

Wolf Creek
  • Vertical Drop – 1,604 feet 
  • Skiable Terrain 1,600 acres 
  • Ski Lifts – 10 

If you are looking for a ski mountain that usually has the best snow conditions throughout the ski season, Wolf Creek is known to receive the most snow compared to other Colorado ski resorts. 

With an annual snowfall of up to 430 inches and robust groomers, Wolf Creek is always reliable when it comes to great skiing conditions for beginners and experienced skiers. 

What makes Wolf Creek a capable contender among the best ski resorts for beginners in Colorado is that over 50% of its ski terrain is suitable for beginner and intermediate skiers. 

If you are a complete beginner, you can start with the Lynx Lift or Nova Chair, which will take you to shorter green runs for learning and practice. 

From the short runs, you can advance to the longer green glades and blue runs, which are accessible with the Bonanza and Raven chairlifts.

Most blue runs have speed restrictions, so you won’t have to worry about advanced skiers distracting or running over you.  

Learning to Ski in Wolf Creek 

Whether you are a complete beginner or looking to build experience skiing in Wolf Creek, you can always be sure of getting the best value for your money. 

The ski and snowboarding lessons on this mountain are well-organized and have dedicated packages for new skiers and boarders offered by qualified trainers. 

If you bring your kids during the ski trip, they can learn how to ski and snowboard as long as they are five years old and above. 

Après-Ski 

If you want more adventures on the mountain, Wolf Creek offers 4 km of groomed Nordic trails and snowshoeing trails. 

You’ll find several straightforward shopping and dining options at the resort’s base. Lodging is available in the surrounding areas and suits different budgets and family sizes. 

#12. Loveland 

Loveland
  • Vertical Drop – 2,210 feet 
  • Skiable Terrain 1,800 acres 
  • Ski Lifts – 10 

Being one of the highest Colorado ski resorts, Loveland is an incredible ski area that has amazing snow conditions for skiers and snowboarders to enjoy.

It’s an easily accessible ski area, as you’ll arrive at the base within 1.5 hours from Denver International Airport. 

The small ski mountain opens early in the ski season since its high altitude ensures that the slopes are skiable in early November or even late October. 

There are fantastic ski trails on the Loveland ski area that cuts across two base areas, including Loveland Basin and Loveland Valley. 

Beginners will have a lot of fun at Loveland as ski lifts 1 to 7 lead to gentle slopes, which are well-groomed and have 100% snowmaking coverage. 

If you don’t have the equipment needed for skiing and snowboarding, you don’t have to stress about anything as you’ll get everything you need at the Loveland Valley, from skis to ski boots. 

Learning to Ski in Loveland Ski Area 

Loveland offers ski and snowboarding lessons to adults (15 years and above) and kids aged between 4 and 14. 

These lessons can be group or individual, depending on the type of experience you are after. There are also special learning programs, customized to suit different needs and abilities. 

Après-Ski 

When you are done hitting the slopes, you can visit the fireside room featured in Loveland Valley to warm yourself up. You’ll also find several dining options on the mountain. 

There is no on-site accommodation, but you will find many hotels and inns on the nearby Georgetown and Silver Plume. 

FAQs

FAQs

Q: Can You Ski in Colorado as a Beginner? 

A: Yes, you can ski in Colorado as a beginner. Colorado is home to many ski resorts that suit beginner skiers and snowboarders. 

The best beginner-friendly Colorado ski resorts include Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Loveland, Copper Mountain, Aspen Snowmass, Winter Park, and more. 

Q: Is Aspen Good for Beginner Skiers? 

A: Yes, Aspen Snowmass is good for beginners. This ski resort has four interconnected mountains, with Snowmass being the largest. 

It has a vast ski terrain and three terrain parks for skiers and snowboarders of all abilities. 

If you are a complete beginner and want to visit Aspen Ski Resort, we recommend starting with Aspen Snowmass and Buttermilk, as they have a wide variety of beginner slopes. 

Once you gain experience and confidence on the snowy slopes, you can progress to Highlands and Aspen Mountain for more practice. 

Q: Which is the Easiest Ski Resort to get to in Colorado? 

A: The easiest Colorado ski resort to visit as a beginner is Copper Mountain. You can visit this ski resort for your first ski trip, as its beginner slopes are gentle and easily accessible. 

Other resorts in Colorado that beginners find easy to access include Breckenridge, Winter Park, and Loveland. 

Final Thoughts 

Final Thoughts

If you are looking to get started in skiing or snowboarding, Colorado has some of the best ski resorts you can ever visit as a beginner. 

While most people think that the popular ski resorts in Colorado are only meant for advanced skiers, the truth is that even beginner skiers can have a lot of fun in such ski areas. 

Feel free to visit any of the ski resorts listed in our review for an incredibly life-changing experience on the Colorado Mountains.

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Picture of Lisa Hayden-Matthews

Lisa Hayden-Matthews

An avid Skier, bike rider, triathlon enthusiast, amateurish beach volleyball player and nature lover who has never lost a dare! I manage the overall Editorial section for the magazine here and occasionally chip in with my own nature photographs, when required.
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