There’s a distinct Old West feel to the Colorado Rockies, home to some of the highest ski areas in the world.
The elevation – base areas sit nearly 3,000 meters above sea level – is partially to thank for the area’s famous champagne powder, which stays soft throughout the season. After a winter storm dumps fresh snow, gliding down a mountain is pure, weightless magic.
Looking for Luxury? Find it in Vail
Just two hours from Denver, Vail is lined with renowned hotels, restaurants, boutiques and art galleries – a luxurious paradise for affluent skiers and shoppers. On the front side of the mountain, 4,300 meters high, the slopes are wide open. Many are relatively mild in pitch and perfect for families. On sunny powder days, you can see the majestic Mount of the Holy Cross – a natural cross symbol made from snow – from several spots.
Plaza in Vail for shopping and dining
Chic and Rustic Aspen, Perfect for Skiers
Although it’s home to celebrities and designer shops, the town of Aspen – which dates back 150 years to the silver mining era – is surprisingly rustic. It features four ski areas, each well-suited to a particular type of skier. Aspen Mountain looms over the town with its long, steep runs perfect for experts. Snowmass has a variety of intermediate terrain. Aspen Highlands is ideal for skiers who prefer a quiet, less-crowded experience, and Buttermilk is home to the Winter X Games and a massive half-pipe and terrain park for both snowboarding and freestyle skiing.
Skiing on Aspen Mountain
Popular Glenwood Region
There’s plenty to do in Colorado off the slopes as well. The historic town of Glenwood Springs, at the confluence of the Colorado and Roaring Fork rivers, is one of the most visited areas in the state, in part thanks to the Glenwood Hot Springs Pool, the largest mineral hot springs pool in the world. This region is also popular for the underwater caverns at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. This subterranean world is open year-round and features hundreds of shiny cave formations you won’t find anywhere else. Several above-ground thrill rides, including roller coasters, suit those looking for a different type of adrenaline rush.
A winter scene at Glenwood Hot Springs Lodge in Glenwood Springs
Outdoor Adventures at National Parks
Colorado is also home to four national parks – Rocky Mountain, Mesa Verde, Great Sand Dunes and Black Canyon of the Gunnison – which means there is easy access to hiking, wildlife viewing and scenic drives.
Taking in the view while exploring Rocky Mountain National Park