While Colorado is known for having some of the best skiing in the world, it is not known for inexpensive ski resorts. I love to ski, but the price of taking a family to Aspen is high. Having lived in Colorado for over ten years, I found the best affordable ski resorts in the state.
Best Colorado Ski Resort on a Budget Option One:
When I ask people if they’ve heard of Ski Cooper, they grin and ask, “Do you mean Copper?” “No, I mean Ski Cooper,” I say.
The difference between Ski Cooper and other more popular ski resorts, is the cost and the lack of long lines. The ski resort is just outside the town of Leadville, Colorado, where you’ll find much more affordable lodging compared to Aspen or Breckenridge. Leadville, Colorado is the best Colorado mountain town for families or individuals looking for ski vacations on a budget. In Leadville, you can find a room for less than $70 a night. In Aspen, you’ll pay at least $150 to $200 for a similar room. At Ski Cooper, two-day lift tickets are $74.00. At Copper Ski Resort the same two-day ticket is $162.00. There are large differences in cost, that might make the difference between going on vacation or staying home. Ski Cooper, is a family friendly resort with short or nonexistent lines and fun, spacious ski runs, and the views are amazing! It is highly recommended for families, and a great place for beginners to learn. At the same time, you’ll also find intermediate to advanced runs for those with more experience. Ski Cooper opens for the season on November 25th. Your chances of the perfect ski day are excellent here as Leadville experiences 310 days of sunshine a year with averages over 127 inches of snow annually.
Leadville is a beautiful Victorian town and is the highest incorporated city (10,152 feet) in the United States. It sits in a high mountain valley surrounded by snow capped peaks. If you enjoy history, the whole town is part of a designated National Historic Landmark District. It was home to H.A.W. Tabor and the famous Molly Brown. From romantic mountain cabins to elegant bed and breakfasts, and the historic Delaware Hotel, you’ll find perfect accommodations at a much more affordable cost than Aspen or other more popular ski towns.
If you visit Leadville and Ski Cooper, I’m sure you’ll agree that this is one of the best Colorado mountain towns for ski vacations, whether your on a budget or not! This option is my favorite.
Best Colorado Ski Resort on a Budget Option Two:
Eldora Mountain Resort in Nederland, Colorado is an excellent choice for families on a budget. This ski resort is not far from Boulder, Colorado, a town with great shopping, people watching and much more. Lift tickets at Eldora are only $65 for a full day for adults, $39 for juniors ages 6 to 15, and children 5 and under are only $8. Eldora is a great mountain for beginners, but offers challenging runs such as the Corona Bowl, a double black diamond. Its longest run is 3 miles and there are 680 acres of skiiable terrain.
The Best Western Boulder Inn offers a Ski Escape Special that includes lodging for two, two adult lift tickets and a complimentary hot breakfast each morning for only $144.99. If you have additional family members you can purchase discount tickets at the front desk.
If you don’t want to spend every day skiing, you can visit the Celestial Seasonings Tea Factory in Boulder for a free tour. For details on the tour and other ideas for free attractions in Boulder, see my article here: www.associatedcontent.com
Best Colorado Ski Resort on a Budget Option Three:
Durango Mountain Resort in southwest Colorado bills itself as “Colorado-Family-Heaven”. The area is truly a winter wonderland. Adult lift tickets are only $67, kids ages 6 through 12 are $37, and students 13 through 17 are $53. A great deal is the Kids Ski Free Package. The package includes four nights lodging, four days adult lift tickets, with free lift tickets for the kids for $199 per night. The lodging is in the resort properties of Purgatory and Cascade Village, right next to the mountain. There are many affordable options in the town of Durango just a short drive away.
If you have family members or friends who don’t like to ski, Durango Mountain Resort offers many other activities. Snowshoeing, an outstanding snowcoaster tubing hill, and even snow-biking are only some of the activities you can choose from. For more information, go to durangomountainresort.com.
If you have a little extra to spend, treat your family to the Cascade Canyon Winter Train. The train offers a 52 mile round trip journey through the San Juan National Forest in the comfort of heated coaches. The train ride is a trip through spectacular winter wonderland that you’ll never forget. See durangotrain.com for details.
No matter which option you choose, you’ll have a marvelous time skiing under the bright blue skies of Colorado.