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Telluride Vs Aspen (Which Resort Is The Best?)

Telluride Vs Aspen

Colorado is a famous destination for skiing and snowboarding, as there are a lot of ski resorts available in the area. But when it comes to choosing a resort, there goes a question mark. 

Telluride and Aspen are two ski resorts you’ll find in Colorado. Both offer world-class skiing and snowboarding, but there are clear differences.

In this post, I’ll compare Telluride vs Aspen so that you can decide where to visit on your next trip.

Telluride Vs Aspen 

The main difference between Telluride and Aspen is that Telluride is much smaller, cheaper and gets less crowded than Aspen. Telluride is also great for beginner skiers and offers a decent amount of green runs.

aspen vs telluride

On the other hand, Aspen is larger and offers better terrain and great for advanced skiers. It also has better snow and has a great lift system. Plus, you’ll find more restaurants, shops, nightlife, and entertainment.

Also read our comparison of Telluride vs Breckenridge resort

Let’s take a look at some of these in more detail:

Size and Skiable Area

When it comes to the size and the skiable area, Aspen is the clear winner. Aspen is a winter resort complex with four mountains (Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk, and Snowmass) with a total of 5500 acres.

On the other hand, Telluride is a single mountain with around 2000 acres of skiable area – it’s not so small either.

Lift System

Aspen has a total of 40 lifts allocated to all four mountains. They have 3 gondolas and a lot of quads and surface lifts. Telluride only has 17 lifts which includes 2 gondolas.

Aspen lift system

If you’d like to enjoy picturesque mountain views, then Telluride should be your option, although Aspen offers more in terms of lift access. 

This is because Telluride is an isolated mountain with a history of mining, whereas Aspen is more commercial and upmarket.

Terrain

Aspen has a whopping 336 ski runs! It has something for skiers of all levels. Telluride offers 136 trials which range from gentle green circles and blue squares to black diamonds.

If you’d like to explore double black diamonds, Aspen Highlands would be your best bet.

Telluride has three terrain parks, but Aspen has a lot more. Buttermilk has two terrain parks; one is a world-class one which hosts X Games of ESPN, while Snowmass mountain has three terrain parks.

So if you’re an adrenaline junkie, then Aspen is the place for you! Telluride might be a more suitable option if you prefer to enjoy some mellow runs, as it offers more natural terrain.

Also read our guide on Who Owns Ski Resorts.

Best for Beginners

If you are a beginner skier, it’s better to visit Telluride resort as it has a reasonable amount of beginner-friendly runs – 16% of its trails are marked for beginners.

On the other hand, the Aspen mountains offer only a handful of easier runs and terrain compared to Telluride. 

Best for Intermediates

If you are an intermediate skier, Aspen would be your best bet. Most runs in all four mountains are appropriate for intermediate skiers, offering plenty of variety. 

Best for Intermediates

But don’t get disappointed in Telluride, as it offers around 45 trails (30%) that are suitable for intermediate skiers.

Best for Advanced Skiers

Aspen is the best for advanced and expert skiers which offers a wide range of more challenging terrains. From steep rock-lined chutes to wide-open bowls, there’s something for every expert skier in Aspen. 

Telluride is known for its more forgiving terrain, though it still offers plenty of thrilling runs – afterall 55% of its runs are marked as advanced.

For true daredevils, both resorts offer heli-skiing and extreme runs. But if you’re looking to push your limits, Aspen is the place to be!

Snow Quality And SnowFall

Aspen has a longer ski season than Telluride, and the snow quality is significantly better than Telluride. Of all four mountains in the Aspen resort, Snowmass gets the most snow than the other three mountains.

Aspen gets around 302 inches of snow, while Telluride only gets 216 inches of snow every year.

Snow Quality And SnowFall

However, the temperature of both resorts is somewhat similar except from February to April. From February to April, Telluride is marginally colder than Aspen.

Crowds

Aspen is a lot more crowded than Telluride. The resort gets packed with people from all over the world during peak season as it offers a variety of entertaining options such as film festivals, music festivals, and gaming events.

So expect to be rubbing elbows with everyone from movie stars to pro athletes in Aspen.

On the other hand, Telluride has a much smaller and more laid-back atmosphere that’s perfect for a relaxing ski vacation.

Also read our comparison of Keystone Vs Copper Mountain

Villages And Dining Options

Being a famous ski resort, Aspen offers plenty of villages and dining options. You can find everything from high-end restaurants and clubs to casual eateries and bars in Aspen’s villages. 

Telluride, on the other hand, is a bit more low-key and provides fewer dining options. But you can find some great restaurants in this small mountain town.

Accommodation Options

Aspen is full of high-end resorts and hotels, which provide plenty of luxurious accommodation options for anyone looking for a ski vacation.

Accommodation Options in aspen

Telluride, however, is not as well-known and therefore provides fewer hotel and resort options compared to Aspen. 

Cheapest Resort

If you are looking for the cheapest resort, both of these resorts won’t fit the bill.

Aspen is considered to be the most expensive ski town in the US and has world-class resorts with prices to match, while Telluride’s offerings are more moderate and lower-priced.

Price-wise, Telluride will save some bucks but don’t expect the same level of luxury and amenities as you’ll find in Aspen. Ski lift day passes cost around $50 -$80 here. 

Nightlife

When it comes to nightlife, the two resorts couldn’t be more different. Aspen’s streets are alive with bars, nightclubs, and restaurants, while Telluride is known for its laid-back atmosphere and less lively scene.

Yet, Telluride has a decent selection of bars, pubs, and cafes that offer a cozy atmosphere for afternoon and evening relaxation.

Verdict

If you’re looking for a luxurious ski resort with all the modern amenities, Aspen is the obvious choice. But if you’re looking for something more lowkey and family-friendly, Telluride could be a better fit.

Both offer stunning natural landscapes and plenty of activities, but in the end, the choice is yours. So which one will you choose? Let us know in the comments!

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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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