13 Best Ski Resorts in Colorado for Beginners

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If you’re looking to get into snow sports in the United States, skiing in Colorado is surely at the top of your bucket list. However, with the sheer number of ski resorts in Colorado (over 30!), it can feel a bit intimidating if you’re a beginner skier or snowboarder. So here’s everything you need to know about finding the best ski resorts in Colorado for beginners.

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View of Rocky Mountains from the Keystone Ski Resort in Keystone, Colorado
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So what exactly makes a resort “beginner-friendly”? 

It may sound obvious but the ideal ski resort for beginners offers a ski school, with a variety of classes to choose from; a beginner’s learning area; and plenty of green runs (i.e., the easiest ones on the mountain). Sounds simple enough but there’s definitely tons of resorts in Colorado that don’t exactly meet this criteria!

While I love snowboarding, I haven’t gotten to spend as much time as I’d like exploring Colorado and all of its epic peaks. So we called in a Colorado expert, Abby Price of Trekking Prices, to help us out.

Take it away, Abby!

Best Ski Resorts in Colorado for Beginners

1. Keystone Resort

Location: Keystone, Colorado

Keystone Resort has a fantastic ski school for beginners, with private, semi-private and group lessons (and even multilingual instructors!). 

Arial view of Keystone Ski Resort in Colorado
Photo by CascadeCreatives from Deposit Photos

It also offers several learning areas for first time skiers, including a large area near the Summit House, on top of Dercum Mountain—so you’ll have great views while you learn how to shred! This designated area is specifically groomed for beginners to learn and has its own magic carpet to help newbies more easily get up the slope.  

When you’re ready to hit the slopes on your own, there are a decent number of green runs (11 in total), which are scattered across Keystone’s three peaks—meaning that beginners aren’t just sequestered to a small part of the resort. 

Keystone is quite famous for one of its green runs, Schoolmarm, which is incredibly wide and almost four miles long—actually the longest one in the entire resort!

Aerial view of Keystone Ski Resort in Colorado
Photo by CascadeCreatives of Deposit Photo

Where to stay: Staying at the Keystone Lodge and Spa comes with lots of perks, including a free shuttle to the slopes and free elevator tickets to the Keystone Resort for kiddos 12 and under with a two night stay or longer!

2. Breckenridge Ski Resort

Location: Breckenridge, Colorado

Breckenridge Ski Resort, known for its charming ski village and diverse terrain, is another incredible option for beginner skiers. 

Aerial view of Breckenridge Ski Resort in Breckenridge, Colorado

There’s two primary areas for beginners at the resort—the Peak 8 learning area and the gentle terrain of Peak 9, where you can strap on your ski boots and test your skills in an environment that was designed for skiers and snowboarders that are just starting out. 

The ski resort also has beginner friendly ski lifts, like Rip’s Tide; lots of wide trails with gentle inclines; and a terrific ski school, with a huge variety of classes, ranging from private family lessons to women’s programs (taught and designed by women!). 

Chairlift at Breckenridge Ski Resort at Breckenridge,, Colorado

As an added bonus, the town of Breckenridge is ADORABLE, with lots of architecture left over from its days of a Victorian-era mining town- in fact, it offers one of the largest National Historic Districts in the entire state of Colorado. So you’ll have lots to explore when you’re done with the slopes as well!

Where to stay: One Ski Hill offers ski-in, ski-out convenience at the base of Peak 8 (which we know is one of Breckenridge’s best areas for beginners!)

3. Telluride Ski Resort

Location: Telluride 

Telluride is one of the most famous ski and snowboard resorts in the United States—and for good reason! It offers epic ski slopes that are perfect for all ski levels, gorgeous mountain views, and a nearby adorable old mining town with lots of Wild Western vibes

If you’re looking to take a lesson, Telluride is known for having one of the best ski and snowboard schools in Colorado. It’s also less busy than some of the other resorts in Colorado, so it will be a bit less intimidating for beginners who prefer to have a wide and clear run. 

View from the mountains in Telluride Ski Resort in Telluride, Colorado
Photos by unusual111 from Deposit Photos

Of course, the breathtaking views at the resort certainly don’t hurt either!

In comparison to its eye-poppingly massive number of trails (149!), Telluride has a relatively small number of green runs, but it’s definitely still enough to keep any beginner skier busy for a few days. For example, the Galloping Goose run is perfect for newbies—and at a whopping 4.6 miles long, it just so happens to be the longest run in the entire resort!

Where to stay: If you want to stay in a European chalet with stunning views, consider the Hotel Telluride, with an onsite spa and outdoor hot tub that’s perfect for soaking in amidst the crisp mountain air during the winter in Colorado.

4. Steamboat Resort

Location: Steamboat Springs

Another one of the best ski resorts in Colorado for beginners is Steamboat Resort.

Skier skiing down a slope at Steamboat Resort in Steamboat Springs, Colorado

This resort is famous for its “champagne powder”, a type of snow that has a lower water content than most other snow and thus, is much lighter and fluffier and provides an excellent base for beginners to learn on. It also allows for a softer surface to land on if you happen to fall. 

Beyond its famed powder, Steamboat has an excellent ski school and a wide array of terrain for beginners. Unlike beginner runs at most resorts, which are usually clustered together at the base of the mountain, Steamboat has green runs sprinkled throughout its property, usually running parallel with more advanced runs—which makes this the perfect property choice for families or groups with different level skiers.

View of ski slopes at Steamboat Resort in Steamboat Springs, Colorado

Plus, there’s tons of ski-in, ski-out lodging to choose from!

Where to stay: Colorado resort towns are notoriously expensive so if you’re looking for something a wee bit more on the affordable side, head to the Holiday Inn Steamboat Springs, which is just a five minute drive from the ski resort, has a kid-friendly indoor pool, and plenty of bars and restaurants within walking distance.

5. Copper Mountain Resort

Located: Summit County

Copper Mountain is another great option for beginner skiers looking to try skiing or snowboarding in Colorado. 

Ski slopes in Copper Mountain Resort in Summit County, Colorado

It has a ski school with incredible instructors and a huge range of options, including group classes, private lessons, and even multi-week programs for adults or kids. 

There’s three different sections of the resort, with the West Village area being the most beginner-friendly section. Here, you’ll find plenty of green runs and also some blue trails, if you’re ready to advance your skills and try some new challenges.

View of the mountains at Copper Mountain Resort in Summit County, Colorado

For instance, the Woodward Progression Park is an awesome area to go for first timers looking to try obstacles like pipes and rollers for the first time. In fact, Copper uniquely offers a variety of lessons with obstacles, including how to ride on half-pipes, rails, or boxes.

Where to stay: Unlike most ski resorts, Copper Mountain curiously doesn’t have any hotels nearby. Instead, most visitors choose to stay in apartment or condo rentals, like this one bedroom apartment at Passage Point or this two-bedroom apartment. Alternatively, if you prefer to stay in hotels, Breckenridge is less than a half hour drive and has plenty of of lodging options to choose from, like the Grand Lodge on Peak 7, which has tons of on-site amenities, including a sauna to warm up in after a day on the slopes, and an onsite restaurant.

6. Winter Park Resort

Location: Winter Park

Winter Park offers a tremendous ski school and private lessons for children and adults looking to learn from a professional. 

Pine trees with mountains in the backdrop at Winter Park Resort in Winter Park, Colorado

It’s also known for its Discovery Park, an excellent area for first timers with the easiest green runs of the resort. This area has terrific terrain for beginners with several wide trails with low pitch and an easy beginner ski lift. 

But beginner skiers won’t just be confined to Discovery Park. The resort is divided into two sections—Winter Park and Mary Jane—with the Winter Park section having nearly 30 percent of its runs being green.

Where to stay: For a ski-in, ski-out experience, Zephyr Mountain Lodge is located at the base of the slopes and comes with lots of perks, like a fully equipped kitchen and gas fireplace to get nice and cozy after a day on the slopes.

7. Beaver Creek Resort

Location: Beaver Creek

Beaver Creek Resort is a hidden gem of the Vail Ski Resorts family.

While both Vail and Beaver Creek offer beautiful village areas and luxurious experiences, the latter option sees approximately half the amount of annual visitors as compared to its more popular brother and more than 60%(!!!) of its runs are either rated green or blue. Accordingly, this is one of the best ski resorts in Colorado for beginners!

Groomed ski hill at the Beaver Creek Resort in Beaver Creek, Colorado

For those just starting out, head over to the Haymeadow Park, the resort’s dedicated area for beginners. Haymeadow Park offers a magic carpet, beginner-friendly gondola, gentle terrain and even an ice cream parlor, appealing to kids—and kids at heart!

Another cool perk? Beaver Creek’s beginner slopes are primarily located at the summit, allowing beginners to take in the beautiful views of the surrounding Rockies. Why should all those views just be reserved for expert skiers?!

Where to stay: The Pines Lodge is an intimate hotel, with ski-in access, a handy shuttle to get around town, and an idyllic hot tub to relax in the evenings.

8. Aspen Snowmass

Location: Snowmass Village

Aspen is one of the most popular and famous resorts in the state of Colorado. 

Chairlift and ski slopes at Aspen Snowmass in Aspen, Colorado

The resort has four sections—Snowmass, Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, and Buttermilk. Both Snowmass and Buttermilk have a wide array of gentle terrain, including the new Elk Camp beginner area, and bunny slopes to get your footing. Similar to Beaver Creek, many of Aspen’s beginner areas are actually up near the summit of the mountain, meaning you won’t just be relegated to the boring ol’ base.

Snowmass also has an epic ski school, including the Treehouse Kids’ Adventure Center. The Adventure Center is for beginner skiers, aged six and under, in a 25,000 square foot facility that was literally designed by the same people that built Universal Studios. So kids can both learn to ski—and have a blast in the process.

Skiers and snowboarders on a slope at Aspen Snowmass in Aspen, Colorado

Aspen Snowmass is also great for beginners that are thinking about taking on intermediate hills. Many of the beginner areas can be used to access intermediate slopes. In fact, if you leave your shoes at the rental shop for Elk Camp, near the top of the mountain, they’ll literally send your shoes down for you if you happen to graduate to the more challenging slopes that will take you to the base of the mountain.

Where to stay: Limelight Hotel offers the perfect environment to cozy up after a day on the slopes, including a fireplace in the lobby and outdoor hot tubs, plus a continental breakfast to fuel up before your day’s adventure.

Psssst... consider heading to Penny Hot Springs, located less than an hour from the resort, to soak your aching muscles in steamy water after a long day on the slopes. This natural hot spring is located in a gorgeous canyon, along the Crystal River, and best of all, enjoying its toasty waters is totally FREE!

10. Vail Ski Resort

Location: Vail

Many people assume that Vail is strictly for expert level skiers, given its legendary Back Bowls and the fact that over half of its runs are black diamond. Nevertheless, Vail still has over 30 green runs, which is plenty to keep you busy! 

Most of these runs are concentrated on the front side of Vail, but scattered from the top to the bottom of the mountain, allowing you to have a choice of runs and scenery. There’s also beginner-friendly lifts, like the Sourdough Express, which offers an array of short and easy green trails either in or near clusters of trees, which provides a more advanced feeling to otherwise beginner trails.

Photo by fashionstock at Deposit Photos

Additionally, Vail boasts one of the best ski schools in the state of Colorado, with world class instructors and a variety of group or private lessons to choose from. 

Where to stay: Hotel Gasthof Gramshammer feels a bit like taking a step into Austria, with European-inspired furniture and architecture straight out of the Alps. You’ll enjoy a complimentary breakfast here, plus there’s a solid on-site restaurant when you need to carb up after a long day on the slopes.

10. Arapahoe Basin

Location: Dillon

Arapahoe Basin, often referred to as A-Basin, is one of the best hidden gem ski resorts in Colorado. 

A-Basin is typically less crowded because it does not have any accommodations on site. Because of its lowkey vibes, the ski resort tends to be more popular amongst locals. Accordingly, this makes it a great option for those looking to learn how to ski with fewer people around and for a resort that feels a bit less touristy.

Snowy slopes at the Arapahoe Basin in Dillon, Colorado
Photo by welcomia at Deposit Photos

A-Basin is geared more towards intermediate or advanced skiers, but there’s still plenty of runs for beginner skiers. For example, head to the Molly Hogan lift and Molly’s Magic Carpet for lots of wide, easy trails to enjoy.

Where to stay: You may not think of Homewood Suites as being a super luxurious accommodations, but this location has absolutely epic views, a convenient location (just 15 minutes from Arapahoe Basin!), and top of the line staff.

11., Granby Ranch

Location: Granby

Granby Ranch is one of the smaller ski resorts in Colorado but it’s a great place to go for beginners—almost 50% of its trails are rated as easy! For the best access to green runs, stay on the resort’s East Mountain, where you’ll find its Learning Area and the Pony Carpet and the Milestone Lifts, both of which will take you to several easy runs. 

Pine tree on a ski slope in Colorado ski resort

Granby Ranch also offers both group and private lessons for those looking to learn from a professional.

Where to stay: Granby doesn’t have very many lodging options, but, luckily, Winter Park is just down the street! Gravity Haus Winter Park is less than a 25 minute drive away from Granby Ranch and within walking distance to some of the best bars and restaurants in Winter Park’s downtown.

12. Loveland Ski Area

Location: Dillon

Loveland Ski Area is another small, but mighty resort in Colorado. It’s also an excellent option for beginners—for one, it’s one of the most affordable ski resorts in the state. For another, it tends to see less crowds than some of the juggernaut ski resorts, like Vail or Aspen, with quieter (and thus, less intimidating!) slopes. 

Mountains around the Loveland Ski Area in Dillon, Colorado

Loveland has two areas—the Basin or the Valley, the latter of which is exclusively designed for beginners. The Valley only has wide, open trails, so you don’t have to worry about accidentally turning on to a black diamond (happens to the best of us!). There are also several beginner and intermediate trails in the Basin, if you want to shake things up a bit!

Where to stay: The Oasis on Eisenhower is half art house, half hotel, with a wide options of rooms to choose from a room with a single queen bed and a shared bathroom, to a full-blown apartment.  Each room is decorated totally uniquely, with quirky odds and ends, like Yoda figurines or a painting hanging from the ceiling—this will definitely be one of the most unique and coolest places you’ve ever stayed!

13. Eldora Mountain Resort

Location: Nederland

Eldora is known for having less crowds and being a bit more affordable than the big name resorts, like Vail and Breckenridge. For those looking to test their skills for the first time and wish to do so with fewer people, Eldora offers an excellent beginner experience!

Head to the Little Hawk and Tenderfoot Lifts for some awesome green slopes that are perfect for beginner skiers and snowboarders. Plus, the Indian Peaks Lodge is close by which makes for an excellent place to take a break and grab a bite to eat as you continue improving your winter sports skills. 

Woman skiing down a mountain with pine trees in the background

One word of caution, though—Eldora is definitely a smaller resort and thus, it’s beginner runs are somewhat limited. If you’re planning on spending three days or more at the resort, beginners may get bored of the options available to them, if they aren’t yet ready to level up to intermediate slopes. 

Where to stay: Boulder Creek Lodge is the only accommodation in town—but luckily, it has a rustic charm, with a location right next to a river and spacious rooms.

Frequently Asked Questions About Skiing in Colorado

When is the best time to ski in Colorado?

Colorado boasts the longest ski season in the country, typically from early October to late April. 

However, the best time to ski here is between the months of January through March! The resorts typically have enough time to get plenty of snow by mid-January and they tend to get the most powder around February. Plus, resorts have typically opened all their runs at this time, so you’ll have the most options of terrain to choose from.

Pine trees along a ski slope in Breckenridge Ski Resort in Breckenridge, Colorado

Is Breckenridge or Copper Mountain better for beginners?

Both Breckenridge and Copper Mountain are incredible for beginner skiers and snowboarders. 

However, Copper Mountain gets the edge from us, as it offers a wider variety of beginner trails and has several green runs towards the top of the mountain, which is relatively unusual for Colorado resorts. 

In comparison, all of Breckenridge’s beginner trails are grouped together at the bottom of the mountain. Additionally, some of its beginner trails are used by more advanced skiers to get from one run to another, which may be anxiety-inducing at times for skiers that are still finding their footing. 

That being said, if you’re planning on spending more time in town than on the slopes, the town of Breckenridge has a bit more to offer than around the Copper.

Where is the cheapest place to learn to ski in Colorado?

Unfortunately, skiing isn’t exactly cheap anywhere, but some of the most affordable places to learn how to ski in Colorado would be Eldora Mountain Resort, Loveland, and Winter Park.

Snowy mountains in Winter Park Ski Resort in Colorado

Is Colorado a good place for beginner skiers?

Given its huge number of resorts to choose from and world-class instructors, Colorado is an excellent place to learn how to ski. 

That being said, it is important to take lessons from a professional if you don’t know how to ski and stick to learning areas or beginner slopes, for both your safety and the safety of others.

Is Vail good for beginner skiers?

Yes—while Vail is best known for its expert terrain, there’s still plenty of easy slopes to choose from. Plus, Vail is considered to have one of the best ski schools in the country.

Ski slopes with mountains in the background in Vail, Colorado

Colorado has over 30 ski resorts throughout the state, with each one offering something unique! For beginners just starting out, you truly cannot go wrong with any of the resorts recommended above.

We hope this list of the best ski resorts in Colorado for beginners helps you choose the right place for you to take on the slopes for the first time. Do you have any questions for us? Let us know in the comments below.

Thank you for reading our post! Check out our latest stories here and follow us on Instagram (@UprootedTraveler), YouTube, or on Facebook to see what we’re up to next!

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This post was authored in collaboration with Abby Price from Trekking Prices.

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