September 05, 2020 4 min read

Top 5 Lesser-Known Ski Resorts Near Denver

Most native Coloradans will tell you that ski resorts today are overpriced, overcrowded, and overbuilt. Many mountains now feature expensive condos and boutique shopping instead of no-nonsense groomed runs. Is it still possible to find resorts where winter sports enthusiasts can spend less time in line and more time playing in the powder?

Yes, it is.

Grab your best winter gear and hit these top five lesser-known ski resorts near Denver.


#5 – Eldora Mountain 

Distance from Denver

Adult Ticket Price

Acres of Terrain


47 miles (and only 21 miles from Boulder!)


Senior, military, and children’s rates available.

Half-day rates available.


Easy access from Denver.

Smaller crowds. Local vibe.


Eldora Mountain is close - located just 47 miles from Denver and 21 miles from Boulder, so you can skip bumper-to-bumper I-70 traffic and ridiculously long lift lines. Get to the mountain faster, enjoy more time on the hill, and get home long before the Summit County crowds.

Eldora has all the necessities: rental gear, ski or snowboard lessons for all ability levels, and dining options at lunchtime. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the variety of terrain; Eldora offers something for everyone.

Insider Tips:Arrive early! This smaller hill offers limited parking. Visitors can purchase multi-day passes to save on the ticket price or buy discounted tickets from Denver-area sporting goods retailers.


#4 – Copper Mountain

 copper mountain

Distance from Denver

Adult Ticket Price

Acres of Terrain


78 miles


Senior, military, and children’s rates available.

Half-day rates available.


Larger mountain. Varied Terrain.

Base luxuries for the non-skier.


Copper Mountain is corporately owned, but it’s still magnificent. Nearly 2,500 acres of terrain means endless opportunities for skiers and snowboarders of all ability levels.

Copper has lost some of its locals-only ambiance over the years, but it still manages to maintain its hold on Colorado natives. It’s one of the best family ski resorts in Colorado. Union Creek base area gives beginners easy access to ski and snowboard lessons and miles of green and blue runs.

Of course, the real draw at Copper is the expert terrain. Copper’s back bowls are arguably the most enjoyable powder runs – and the most impressive mountain views – in all of Colorado.

The non-skiers in your group can spend the day shopping, sitting in one of the restaurants at the mountain base, or lounging in a lift-side condo.

Insider tips: Park in one of the free shuttle lots. Shuttles run every few minutes and get you closer to the lifts than the pay lots. Discounted tickets available at Denver-area outdoor stores.


#3 – Keystone Ski Area

Distance from Denver

Adult Ticket Price

Acres of Terrain


76 miles

$159 at the window, $121 online.

Child and Senior prices available.

Included in Epic Pass.



Variety of terrain.

Terrain parks for all levels.

Night skiing available.


Keystone Ski Area, part of the Vail-owned resorts system, gives you the benefits of a corporate-owned resort without the crowds. Keystone feels laid back, the way Colorado ski areas should feel.

Keystone wins our vote for the best family ski resort in Colorado. They’re kid-focused, offering a variety of activities for all ages. But don’t let that fool you – there’s still plenty of expert terrain and multiple terrain parks to keep the adults busy, too.

When the sun sets, put on your warmest winter clothing and hit the slopes under the lights. Night skiing and snowboarding is a magical experience, and it’s only offered at a select few Colorado ski areas.

Insider tips: Keystone offers FREE parking near River Run for families and cars with 3 or more people. Plenty of indoor seating for families with sack lunches.


#2 – Arapahoe Basin


Distance from Denver

Adult Ticket Price

Acres of Terrain


64 miles

As low as $45 online



Lowest priced.

Expert terrain.

Locals-only vibe.


If you want to experience an authentic Colorado mountain resort – the way ski areas were before corporations took over – A-Basin is the place to go. It’s a hidden gem, tucked away on a mountain pass between Loveland Ski Area and Keystone.

You won’t find gourmet restaurants, shopping options, or lodging. What you will find is people with a passion for winter sports, affordable lift tickets, and miles of untouched, expert terrain. It’s almost like venturing into the backcountry, but with chairlifts and ski patrol.

Insider tips: Parking is free at A-Basin, but it fills up quickly. Get there early. There are some beginner runs on the mountain, but it’s better suited for intermediate and expert skiers and snowboarders.

#1 – Loveland Ski Area

 loveland pass


Distance from Denver

Adult Ticket Price

Acres of Terrain


57 miles


Discount tickets online and in stores.


Best bang for your buck.
Family-friendly area.

Amazing backcountry trails.


Loveland Ski Area is steeped in tradition. It first opened in 1936 and has held on to its locals-only flare ever since. It’s no frills, just wide-open mountain as far as the eye can see. You’ll love the affordable ticket price, the expansive mountain views, and the variety in terrain.

The mountain is split into two main areas. The beginner area, Loveland Valley, houses ski school, beginner lifts, and family-friendly runs. Loveland Basin is for everything else – tons of expert terrain, bowls covered in fresh powder, and tree runs for every ability level.

Loveland is the best ski area near Denver: affordable, immaculate, wild Colorado terrain.

Insider Tips:Due to its high elevation, Loveland often receives powerful winds. Check the forecast before heading out. Come prepared to hike some of the higher peaks, too – the untracked snow is worth the effort!


Ready to hit the slopes? Make sure you have the right winter gear so you can stay warm on the mountain all day long.

What’s your favorite off-the-beaten-path Colorado ski area? Tell us in the comments!


Becca is a freelance writer, Colorado native, and outdoor enthusiast. You can learn more about her at

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