How Much Does Skiing Cost in Colorado

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It doesn’t matter whether you’re into skiing or snowboarding, the respective gear is very necessary to make your lift ticket worthwhile.

Colorado airports are well accustomed to handling ski gear. Despite most airlines charging a fee for checking ski gear, it usually costs you less than rentals.

Also, the skiing cost in Colorado can vary on other factors.

So, let’s have a look!

Why is Colorado Famous for its Skiing?

Why is Colorado Famous for its Skiing

The history of skiing goes back to 2500 BC but by the end of the 19th century, skiing became a popular winter pastime in many colder and mountainous regions of the world, like Scandinavian countries and Switzerland.

Around the same time, Colorado saw mining booms which brought thousands of people to the state. Crossing the winding mountain roads posed a great challenge for travel, especially during winter with trains and horses out of the question.

In the mid-nineteenth century, a man who was famously known as ‘Father’ John Dyer used skis to dispatch mail to the secluded mountain regions and by the end of the century, skiing became an integral part of the daily commuting of the locals around the region. 

As the mining boom came to a close, skiing still grew in popularity in Colorado. In 1921, the Colorado Ski Club hosted the National Ski Tournament of America Championship and soon dozens of small ski areas were opened in the state.

During World War II, an army unit used to do their drills in Colorado to prepare for war in the lofty, snowy altitudes. Many of these comrade-in-arms later came back and set up famous ski resorts like Aspen and Vail.

Now, Colorado is the number one destination in the United States for skiing and snowboarding, and one look at its terrain and wide array of resorts will tell you exactly why.

When is the Ski Season in Colorado?

When is the Ski Season in Colorado

The ski season in Colorado starts usually in early November and till late April. Colorado has the most extended ski season in the whole country with its resorts staying open for about half a year.

However, the ski season is not set in stone and depends on the stretch of the winter season and the amount of snowfall the state receives during the winters. An occasionally snowy winter can extend the ski season.

Arapahoe Basin is a ski resort famous for its extra-long ski season and doesn’t estimate its closing date. It is open well into June, two whole months later than other ski resorts in Colorado. It opens the slopes earlier than other resorts too, from mid-to-late October. 

Is Skiing Expensive in Colorado?

Is Skiing Expensive in Colorado

Being one of the finest skiing destinations all across the country, skiing in Colorado is quite a in demand in the season with masses of people coming to the state from all over the US and abroad.

This huge inflow of tourists makes it obvious the skiing prices are high. Also, whether skiing is expensive or not, depends upon your definition of ‘expensive’. 

Generally, the different resorts have their charges. The average peak season ski lift ticket for a one-day adult pass at a Colorado ski resort costs $143.

Most resorts charge higher on weekends ($146) as compared to weekdays. You can save money by buying lift tickets in the form of season passes and purchasing the lift ticket before the day you intend to ski. 

Adding up the cost of lift tickets, transportation and parking is a major add-up when it comes to your trip’s cost. The most common transportation options include using sky shuttles ($50 each way), rental cars ($75 per day), Uber, Lyft, or other rideshares ($125 each way), and your vehicle for which you will have to pay your gas cost.

During multi-day ski trips, lodging is your first or second largest expense. Still, you have some control over it and you’ll usually have the choice to pick between budget motels and high-end hotels in any ski town. 

Why is Skiing so Costly in Colorado?

Why is Skiing so Costly in Colorado

To run a ski area, a large system and setup are involved. To attract a large customer base to the area, the resorts have to pay a lot of attention to the comfort of the visitors and include providing them with all the best amenities. These amenities include not only lodging and transportation but also maintaining the ski area. 

People love to ski on groomed terrain and just one of those snow machines costs more than most houses. The labor costs are also high and the ski resorts invest a lot in their employees and even provide employees with housing. Making snow, heating buildings, operating lifts in the winter, and others just add up to the basic costs incurred by the resort owners. 

All of these costs make up a huge expenditure on the part of the resort owners and they cover this expenditure by charging a high cost to the customers. This makes skiing expensive on the part of the customers too. 

Top Affordable Ski Resorts in Colorado

After all the information imparted to you, now you must be wondering if it’s possible to go for a skiing trip to Colorado without burning a hole in your pocket. Well, the answer is yes. You just need to look for the right places or resorts that offer you the best services at the minimum cost. And we are here to help you with that. 

Below, we have enlisted a list of the 5 most affordable resorts in Colorado for your skiing trip.

Skiing Cost in Colorado

1. Sunlight Mountain resort

Just up the road from Aspen, a famous ski resort town lies a relatively large resort with a great mix of runs, named Sunlight Mountain Resort.

Apt to its name, it receives over 300 days of sunshine each year and 250 inches (nearly 21 feet) of snow per season, making it one of the most enjoyable and best resorts out there. It is also an excellent family ski resort and its ski school also offers many penny-saving combos.

Nearby, Glenwood Springs renders a wide variety of budget-friendly and mid-range accommodation alternatives. Dining in town is also cost-effective, as you’ll pay what the locals pay, not those ski town prices. Glenwood Springs is a fun town and has plenty of things to do, other than skiing.

2. Eldora Ski Resort

When the cost of fuel, accommodation, lift tickets, and food on the hill are all added up, Eldora Ski Resort ranks high on the list of affordable ski destinations in Colorado.

Being only 47 miles from Denver and 21 miles from Boulder, it can help save the accommodation cost of day-tripping from these or other nearby towns. You can pack your lunch and even the lift tickets are cheap. All these bargains minimize the cost to another level.

With an average snowfall right around 25 feet a season, Eldora generally provides good conditions across its huge skiable terrain. It is also one of the only ski resorts that have 100 percent snowmaking coverage and has 40 kilometers of groomed trails of varying difficulty through the forest, perfect for those who love cross-country skiing.

3. Purgatory Resort

Located just outside Durango, Purgatory resort is one of the budget-friendly ski resorts.

It is one of the top resorts in the San Juan Mountain range. Lift tickets here might be a bit more expensive than some of the other smaller bargain resorts but it is a worthwhile investment considering that kids get to ski here free of cost. Every child 12 years and younger at the time of purchase gets a free season pass.

You can save money on accommodation too. A wide variety of hotels and inns are available to suit every budget in the down-the-road lively town of Durango. Since the town is home to Fort Lewis College, you can also find plenty of excellent budget eateries catering to students.

4. Loveland Ski Area

Loveland is only 53 miles from Denver, making it quite close to the city or the Denver International Airport. It’s a great, cheap spot to ski or board with some of the best snow in the state.

Loveland has incredible deals on advance lift tickets, especially if you pre-purchase them in blocks of four. So, even if you plan to ski just a few times this winter, you can still buy a season pass. It provides benefits like three free ski days at many other resorts that pay for the cost of the pass and the resort also offers free snowcat lifts to more advanced terrain.

Loveland is one great budget ski destination for families, not only does it provide low-cost tickets but it’s also an excellent place to take lessons.

The Loveland Valley area has its lift and is only for those just starting out and for the more advanced skiers, the Loveland Basin area has a strong mix of intermediate through to advanced trails, including some exceptionally good wide-open bowl skiing.

5. Cooper Ski Area

Being in the same mountain neighborhood as Vail, Breckenridge, and Beaver Creek, Cooper provides all the same amazing snow conditions but with lower prices. It is a friendly place with good facilities and great snow and you can get incredible bargains on lift tickets here to cost you almost half of the cost of large resorts just down the road.

Cooper claims their all-natural snow offers the softest snow surface in Colorado. You can find terrain for all abilities, from beginner areas to glades. Just down the road, there’s a fun town of Leadville where you will be able to pile on more savings with reasonably priced accommodation and meals.

Final Words

So, whether you are super rich or a bit strapped for cash, people with both high and low budgets are heartily welcomed into this realm of snow-capped and rocky high-altitude mountains.

Colorado will give you a skiing experience worth savoring throughout your life.

Apart from skiing, Colorado also provides a variety of fun activities you can enjoy when you are off the slopes.

So, this skiing season books your tickets to this snow-topped paradise and get a skiing experience you won’t forget. 

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