Calling all cross-country or downhill skiers! The Winter Park area is practically where recreational skiing started, and with all of the resort and backcountry options, it maintains its 'mecca' status today.
Alpine skiing and cross-country skiing opportunities within the Winter Park area are abundant. Take your pick of either straight-up resort style or au natural, via the backcountry.
Alpine (or downhill) Skiing Locations
The Winter Park Ski Resort
This world-class resort has over 3,060 skiable acres, covering five mountains (Mary Jane, Winter Park, Vasquez Ridge, Vasquez Cirque and the Parsenn Bowl); it is known for its renowned ski school, the moguls at Mary Jane, its impressive Terrain Park, and the fact that it is home to the NSCD (the National Sports Center for the Disabled). There are two bases that provide lift tickets to this resort: the Mary Jane side and the Winter Park side. A retail Village, with boutiques, restaurants and an ice skating pond, is located at the Winter Park Base and lodging options are available.
- Season/Hours: The ski season typically starts late November and ends late April. The weekday hours are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on weekends/holidays, the hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The restaurants generally remain open until 9 p.m.
- 2013-2014 Rates: $75-$95 for Adult Tickets (depending on season)
- Contact Info: 800-729-2907 or 303-316-1564.
This Granby resort is a Colorado GEM ski resort, designating it as special due to its off-the-grid location, more affordable lift tickets, shorter lift lines and family-friendly atmosphere. It offers skiers 37 designated trails over 406 skiable acres. There are lodging options at the base, with an outdoor patio for diners to watch the skiers filter down the mountain, and lodging is available.
- Season/Hours: The ski season typically starts mid December and ends early April. Hours of operation are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- 2013-2014 Rates: $59-$64 for Adult Tickets (depending on season)
- Contact Info: 888-850-4615 or 970-887-3384.
Backcountry Skiing at Berthoud Pass
What makes this backcountry skiing location unique is that it used to be an operating resort, so even though there are no ski lifts or amenities, a skier can still download a trail map on-line and/or easily find the best 'slopes' to ski down by just trekking out onto the mountain.
- Season/Hours: There are no specified seasons, but generally you'll find skiers out there from mid-November until late April.
Guided Snowcat Skiing with Powder Addiction
The only operation of its kind in the Winter Park area, this guiding company offers trips daily, giving their patrons access to over 2,600 acres within the Jones Pass area. All trips include transportation to and from the Village at Winter Park, lunch, safety gear, two free beers at the end of the day and more! Ride in style within the warm snowcat to ultra-fresh tracks - an average day touts about 7-10 runs on terrain varying from 10,500 ft. to 12,500 ft.
- Season/Hours: The season typically starts mid November and ends at the end of April. Hours of operation: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Cost: $300-$400 per person, per day
- Contact Info: 970-726-5442.
Devil's Thumb Ranch
This resort in Tabernash offers over 100k of nordic trails over 5,000 acres, with mountain and meadow views prevailing; the meticulously groomed trails are perfect for classic and skate skiing. There are dog-friendly trails, so either keep dogs on a leash or go skijoring (skiing with your dog via a harness) and there's a lit 3k loop available for night skiing. Lodging and dining options are available, including a coffee shop and two restaurants.
- Season/Hours: Opens in early/mid December and closes late March/early April, snow depending. Weekday hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Weekend hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the night trails are available until 9 p.m.
- Cost: $20 for an adult day pass, $8 for ages under 12 and over 65. (Guests of the Ranch ski for free.)
- Contact Info: 970-726-8231 or 800-933-4339.
Snow Mountain Ranch Nordic Center
With 100k of groomed trails for both the classic and skate skier, this nordic center in Granby also boasts a biathlon range (cross-country ski/rifle), skijoring (skiing with your dog via a harness), designated (leashed) dog trails, and a 2k lit trail for night skiing. Lodging is available and there is a cafeteria-style dining option on the grounds (but not at the center itself).
- Season/Hours: Opens in early-mid December and closes late March/early April, snow depending. Hours of operation: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and the night trails are available until 9 p.m.
- Cost: Adult and Child (6 and older) $15 day pass. Free for kids 5 and under, as well as overnight guests.
- Contact Info: 970-887-2152 ext. 4170 or 303-443-4743.
Grand Lake Touring Center
This touring center doubles as an alpine golf course in the summer; the meandering trails encompass 30k, and it also acts as a trailhead for backcountry trails leading through public lands. They often offer 'full moon' ski nights and spaghetti dinners, with a clubhouse offering bar menu options.
- Season/Hours: Opens late November and closes late March, snow depending. Hours of operations: 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
- Cost: $14 for an adult day pass; $5 for 16 and under.
- Contact: 970-627-8008.
Latigo Nordic Center
Not only does this dude ranch in Kremmling offer 60k of groomed trails, a skier can also access backcountry trails that travel through miles and miles of national forest. The lodge offers gourmet dining and lodging.
- Season/Hours: Opens mid-December and closes late March, snow depending. Hours of operation: 8 a.m. until dusk.
- Cost: $16.00 for a day pass.
- Contact Info: 970-724-9008 or 800-227-9655.
The SolVista Basin Ski Resort
Though primarily a downhill resort, this ski area has about 40k of nordic trails that are groomed about once a week; either access the trails from the base, or for a nominal fee, you can ride the lift to the summit and access the trails from there. Lodging and dining options are available at the base.
- Season/Hours: Opens mid-December and closes mid-March, snow depending. Hours of operation: 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
- Cost: Cross-country skiing is free, but it's $5.00 if you want to ride the lift to the summit.
- Contact Info: 800-754-7458 or 970-887-3384.
The Winter Park area gives skiers countless backcountry trail options, including within Rocky Mountain National Park, the Byers Peak, Never Summer and Indian Peak Wilderness areas, and the Arapaho National Forest. Check with the Sulphur Ranger District for trail maps and other information: 970-887-4100.
Share Your Thoughts
- Backcountry Snowsports Alliance
The Backcountry Snowsports Alliance ecourages winter backcountry users to be safe, responsible, and respectful to fellow users. The Alliance provides educational information on safety, skills, and communication.
- Helicopter Skiing Directory
Find a heli ski operation based on location and personal accounts.
- Skiing Heritage
Skiing Heritage is a historical and entertaining quarterly magazine. Its website posts archived articles and offers a way for people to subscribe to the journal.