Are you ready for another season of deep snow, sunshine and smiles with friends and family? We have your ticket.
Grand Targhee, Wyoming
The opportunity to spend your day blasting through fresh pow draws people to Grand Targhee—but once they arrive, they quickly realize how much more the resort has to offer. A laid-back vibe coupled with a culture built around mountain adventure makes skiing and riding here a dream.
You can spend the day here exploring away at your own pace, tucked away on the western side of the Tetons, free from endless lift lines and crowded runs. There’s challenging hike-to terrain, and, best of all, endless secret stashes. Toss in Wyoming’s only cat-skiing, a Kids Adventure Zone and an expansive system of Nordic, snowshoe and fat-bike trails, and you have the perfect winter escape. After a day out, head to the new inside/outside bar at the Branding Iron right at the base area for handcrafted cocktails and a tasty après menu. Best of all, Targhee offers numerous stay-and-ski deals to ensure that a visit does not leave you wondering where all your cash went. And if you are really looking to make a big splash, book a trip for spring. The resort often gets walloped with deep late-season storms and the Teton Surf Classic, a surf-inspired, snowboard-only event, cardboard box derby, and pond-skim shenanigans.
Grand Targhee averages 500 inches of powder annually and 2,602 acres of uncrowded terrain.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
As one of the crown jewels of the American ski landscape, Jackson Hole has been the promised land for skiers and snowboarders for over half a decade. Peppered with dramatic drops, ridiculously tight couloirs, and an innumerable number of powder stashes the resort is the ultimate winter playground. Due to its prime location in Wyoming’s Tetons, the resort averages a ludicrous 450 inches of snow a season (over 500+ last season), ensuring that any visit here will be epic. But there’s more than just sick skiing here, the resort also is loaded with top-notch facilities, programs and a bevy of on-mountain amenities. Plus, the surrounding landscape is cowboy country and that Western vibe is an essential component of Jackson Hole’s DNA. Stetson hats and stocking caps are equally represented here. Let’s face it, Jackson Hole should be on any serious snow lover’s to-do list every season. Knock out some runs with the Golden Ticket, which offers half-price lift tickets and demo rentals to passholders from any resort from November 28 to December 20 and March 26 to April 12.
The Solitude Station Learning Center located mid-mountain is the place to learn to ski or ride, polish your skills or advance so you rip like the locals. It just celebrated its one-year anniversary and this state-of-the-art center allows its professional instructors a place to work with folks away from the crowds at the base area. You can rent your gear here, eat in a private dining area or just relax while waiting for the kiddos. If you are a more advanced skier, consider booking a one-day lesson. Besides the tips and tricks the center’s professionals can impart, you also will get a day of no lift lines and—better yet—an expert leading you to all the mountain’s hidden powder gems.
You’ll find a variety of lodges, hotels, and cabins to choose from in Teton Village. Plus, the town of Jackson Hole with its B&Bs and hotels is only a short shuttle bus ride away. Taking the family to Jackson Hole has never been easier thanks to the resort’s outstanding Kids Ski and Rent Free Program. Book the First Turns Package by December 15 and save big on lift tickets and lodging.
Jet into Jackson Hole on non-stop flights arriving daily on three different airlines from 13 major airports. If you book your airfare, lodging and lift tickets through the resort’s website, you can grab a $300 per person air credit per ticket.
Is there a better spot to unwind in the West? We doubt it. You can kick back with tasty margaritas and live music on weekends at the fabulous Mangy Moose. Another gem in the base area is the RPK3, located right next to the iconic aerial tramway that shuttles skiers and riders up 4,139 vertical feet. An expansive deck paired with tasty treats and fresh brews make this the place to be.
Venture out of Jackson’s inbounds bowls via numerous marked gates for access to steep chutes, untrammeled glades and colossal hucks. Just be sure you have your avalanche gear, proper training and obey all closures. Or better yet, hire one of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort’s professional guides.
It’s a bucket list experience that any winter lover should visit at least once in their lifetime.
Boulder Adventure Lodge
The A-Lodge offers a wide range of accommodations that will appeal to all budgets and temperaments. Start with Boulder’s only hostel room: Its sturdy, comfortable, rustic-pine bunks sleep 12 in three connecting rooms and a connecting common area. And climbers and mountain bikers get a 15-percent discount when booking it direct. Private rooms include standard and deluxe doubles and queens, a wheelchair-accessible queen and a deluxe queen suite. All have pet friendly (and pet-hypoallergic) options and feature Jeremy Collins adventure artwork. Looking for romance? The Jacuzzi Queen Room is ideal for the Colorado adventure couple: It features a large in-room jacuzzi tub for two, a queen bed, private bathroom, mini-fridge, microwave and a front porch near the Fourmile Creek. Located on the second floor, The Adventure Suite provides the best view at the A-Lodge and features a private queen bedroom, a living room with a pull-out couch and a full kitchen—great for a small family. Perfect for a for a large group or family, The Sunset Cabin includes three private bedrooms, a living room, a full kitchen and dining area, a private bathroom and a private yard with a grill. The lodge also hosts the only camping and #Vanlife site options within five minutes of downtown Boulder.
This is adventure central: The front desk will book tours ranging from snowshoeing to backcountry skiing to fly fishing. During the winter, guests can purchase discounted lift tickets to nearby Eldora and hop a shuttle to the ski resort on weekends. Feeling mindful? Come up to the A-Lodge Wednesday mornings at 6 p.m. for yoga or Thursday evenings at 5:15 p.m. for meditation and a trail run.
Located just five minutes away from downtown, the A-Lodge serves up an easy, refreshing vacation close to the bustle of boulder.
YMCA of the Rockies
Snow Mountain Ranch, Colorado
This is not the YMCA gym and swim of your youth. Snow Mountain Ranch is one of the premier family and fitness spots in the West. The sprawling property offers over 100 kilometers of groomed trails for Nordic skiing, snowshoeing and fat biking on 5,100-acres, nestled in the mountains in the heart of Grand County. While that should be enough to keep most folks busy, there’s still so much more here: Families can ice or roller skate, hit the indoor climbing wall, frolic in the indoor pool and much, much more.
A diversity of facilities and an impressive fleet of winter rental gear suited for any age (including tow-behind ski chariots for toddlers) make Snow Mountain Ranch the perfect place for sharing the beauty of the Colorado winter with the entire family. Beyond the incredible snow sports, a day pass or a stay at Snow Mountain Ranch gives a family access to the indoor pool, the craft shop (crafts range $1-$25), the library and the Kiva recreation center (roller skating, volleyball, basketball, badminton, tennis, pool, ping pong, etc.).
Every day the ranch offers both group and private Nordic ski lessons to boost your time on the trails. If you are just starting out, the learn-to-ski package gives you trail access, rental gear and a group lesson for just $70 (adults), with an option for overnight guests at just $55, while kids are only $40. If you want to explore the ranch with a guide, sign up for periodic free skiing and snowshoe excursions that will fulfill your adventure itch.
Trail passes run $25 for adults (ages 13+), $10 for children (ages 6-12) and free for children ages 5 and under. If you’re staying overnight on Snow Mountain Ranch property, your trail passes are included with your stay! Or, purchase a multiple day Nordic trail pass. Snow Mountain Ranch also offers up a five-time punch pass for $110, and it can be shared between family members.
Snow Mountain Ranch gives you a wide range of lodging options. There are three on-site lodges with multiple rooms, private cabins that can fit the whole family or rustic yurts that will give you the feel of the wilderness (just make sure you bring an extra warm sleeping bag).
The gentle rolling terrain of Snow Mountain Ranch provides the ideal training ground for those interested in learning to backcountry ski. Intro to Backcountry A/T Skiing is offered throughout the winter and is an un-intimidating experience for those who want to learn about skiing in the backcountry.
Snow mountain ranch offers both group and private nordic ski lessons every day.
Loveland Ski Area
New this year
The word you should get used to saying this year is Snowstang. It’s a new offering that Loveland is providing in conjunction with the Colorado Department of Transportation. Instead of sitting in your car cursing the traffic, you can kick back in a plush seat on a direct bus line that will be running every weekend from December 12 through mid-April. With pickup locales at Union Station and the Denver Federal Station it’s a no brainer. Round Trip tickets cost $25 with discounts for children, seniors and disabled passengers. Pair that with last seasons new lift Chet’s Dream, a high-speed quad that runs from the base and you can hit the hills quickly and simply.
Tucked into its own special corner away from the crowds, the Loveland Valley area offers families and beginners the perfect spot to master the skills needed to tackle the steeper slopes up mountain. It’s a quick shuttle bus ride from the larger area at Loveland Basin and has its own restaurant and lodge.
Beholden to no one—Ikon and Epic passes carry no water here—Loveland relishes in offering affordable day and season passes. At only $439 their season pass is ridiculously affordable and, get this, for first timers they offer an Adult 3-Class Pass. For the same low price as a season pass you also get three lessons to hone your skills before a winter of fun. If committing to a season seems too much don’t worry, they still offer their 4-pack at just $169. On top of all that their day pass only costs $89, with discounts available for advance purchases on skiloveland.com, so there really is no excuse not to hit Loveland this season.
In an effort to offer the best value to its loyal fans, Loveland has partnered with the Powder Alliance and several other areas across the globe. All told, pass holders get a whopping 102 bonus days at other resorts including Monarch and Purgatory in Colorado and Grand Targhee in Wyoming. It also includes spots further afield, such as Marmot Basin in the Canadian Rockies and La Parva in Chile (where you can ski in the austral winter).
The Rathskeller, one of the most iconic après spots in the state, is the place to head after a day shredding. The bar features eight different beers on tap, including its very own Pine Bough Pale Ale made in collaboration with the Tommyknocker Brewery located just down I-70 in Idaho Springs. There is a full bar, some serious snacks and big screen TVs galore to watch the Broncos game. You might even forget to head back to the slopes when you are surrounded by frantic fans.
If you are seeking untracked lines, make sure to sign a waiver at the ticket office for a free Ridge Cat Pass. Yes, that’s right, we said free. Then head towards Gate 1 off Lift 9 where the Ridge Cat will pick you up. From there, enjoy free snowcat skiing along the Continental Divide and explore some of Loveland’s most exhilarating terrain. Take in the amazing 360-degree views as you are whisked along the north side of The Ridge in the comfort of the 18-passenger cat. Once there, you get access to chutes, steeps and couloirs at 13,000 feet. Quite often you can jump untracked lines on Field of Dreams, Velvet Hammer, Tickler, 13,010 and Marmot when conditions permit. Just remember, these expert shots can only be accessed via the Ridge Cat or a hike, not the lifts, which means they hold new snow longer. Ridge Cat access is provided on a first-come, first-served basis when conditions permit. Skiers and riders are required to have a valid season pass or lift ticket in addition to a Ridge Cat Pass. Want to earn your turns? Pick up a free Uphill Access Card, and you can skin two designated uphill routes on the mountain. Just remember, uphill access is not permitted during Loveland’s operating hours (8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.).
The adult 3-Class pass gives newbies three free lessons to hone their skills as well as a season pass so you can fall in love with the sport for life.
Chicago Ridge, Colorado
From its birthplace as a training site for the fabled 10th Mountain Division during World War II to today, Ski Cooper is one of Colorado’s true gems. Perched high upon the Continental Divide, it offers unparalleled views, deep powder and a laid-back vibe that’s sorely missing at many of today’s modern resorts. It’s possible to spend a day here and never stand in a lift line. Where do you find that anymore? It’s also one of the highest resorts in Colorado, with a base area that sits at 10,500 feet, so you are assured an authentic day here with soft, all-natural snow.
New this year
Just in time for this season Ski Cooper is adding a new lift and new double black diamond terrain for the upcoming season. The Tennessee Creek Basin will cover the east-facing slopes of Cooper with lift-served steep trails, glades and tree skiing spanning across 14 new trails this season. This will round out the terrain offerings at Cooper starting with amazing wide-open beginner runs, long blue cruisers and steep tree and glade skiing.
If you want to get after it then sign up for a day on the Chicago Ridge Snowcat. It offers an all-inclusive package that includes the newest powder skis, avalanche beacons, lunch, snacks, and to finish off a memorable day, drinks from Katie O’Rourke’s Irish Pub to celebrate the stoke as the sun goes down.
Every Saturday evening from December 21 through March 28 they offer a reservation only dinner up top at the Mountaintop Yurt where their chef will serve a meal made from locally sourced ingredients and wines. You will be ferried there and back by snowcat all while soaking up the beauty around you.
With adult lift tickets at $62 and children’s at $39 Ski Cooper is one of the few spots left in the state where a day of skiing won’t break your bank.
Cooper’s renowned Ski & Ride School is here to help you love your time on the snow. Under the direction of seasoned professional Bill McGinty, the instructors are highly qualified, and incredibly friendly. You’ll feel comfortable in private and group lessons and multi-week programs. Cooper has acres of dedicated learning terrain, served by Colorado’s longest public Magic Carpet conveyor lift, so you’re sure to have plenty of room to get comfortable on the gentle slopes. As your skills progress, head to some of the finest easier “Green Circle” terrain in the country to practice your skills, until you graduate to smooth intermediate “Blue Square” cruising runs, and finally to advanced “Black Diamond” slopes where you can really put your skills to the test.
Ski Cooper is adding a new lift, 14 new trails and new double-black-diamond terrain this season.
Independently owned Powderhorn Mountain Resort is redefining value for skiers and riders in Colorado with their Mission: Affordable Program.
To bring the slopes to the masses they offer one of the best valued day passes in the state at $79. Couple that with their free to learn-to-ski program that offers beginners three days of free rentals, lessons, and access to their Easy Rider Lift. Even better, once you have completed that program you are eligible for a season pass at only $69. Bring a friend along and learn something new this winter. Nestled on the edge of Grand Mesa the resort offers stunning views, over 1,600 acres of terrain, and 250 inches of powder a season. In a further effort to make skiing accessible to all, they are rolling out a Tiny Home village this year with six ski in/ski out micro homes located right in the base area. Plans call for over 100 in the next few years. How’s that for forward thinking? Lastly, make sure you visit the new umbrella bar located under the Flat Top Flyer lift for towering glass walls, serious snacks and a full bar.
Powderhorn still offers one of the state’s cheapest day passes at $79 per day.