Telluride, Or ‘To-Hell-You-Ride’, is tucked away in a box canyon of southwestern Colorado’s San Juan Mountains, a long ways from the more congested resorts off of I-70 closer to Denver. The town has garnered a lot of attention for what it has to offer off the mountain as well; it’s spectacular mountain vista views, rich mining history, and upscale shopping and dining make Telluride a world-class destination. In addition to the mountain’s notoriety for mogul skiing and a massive terrain park, Telluride is a powder skier’s paradise; with its hike-to terrain on Bald Mountain, Black Iron Bowl, the Gold Hill Chutes, and Palmyra Peak, there’s never a shortage of good untouched snow to be had. Combining an average annual snowfall of 309”, one of the highest concentrations of 14’ers in North America, and next to no lift lines, Telluride will always be one of the best spots in Colorado to hit up on a powder day.
Located 20 miles west of Salida and 155 miles southwest of Denver in south Central Colorado’s Sawatch Range, Monarch’s claim to fame is they never make snow, and they certainly don’t need to. Situated right on top of the Continent Divide, with an average annual snowfall of ~350” and hardly ever any lift lines, Monarch is a powder skier’s utopian getaway resort. Known for its ski town authenticity, there’s nothing artificial about this place; there are five lifts that service a relatively small 800 skiable acres, as well as challenging, earn-your-turn, hike-to terrain that keep the best powder stashes on the mountain.
3) Ski Cooper
Located 131 miles southwest of Denver and 10 miles from Leadville atop the Tennessee Ridge, Ski Cooper has remained a secret ski spot amongst Colorado locals. Ski Cooper’s terrain in small and sweet, and just like Monarch, they never make snow nor do they need to. There’s nothing ritzy about Ski Cooper and that’s the way they like it; ski-town authenticity at its finest.
Aspen / Snowmass and the four mountains that comprise Aspen Ski Company’s list of resorts aren’t as remote as other Colorado resorts on this list, but with four different options to choose from; Aspen Mountain, Snowmass, Aspen Highlands, and Buttermilk, there’s powder to be had; you just need to know where it hides! Aspen attains a lot of publicity for its ritzy shopping and dining, but its massive skiable acreage of 5,303 acres and 43 lifts servicing 329 trails is the real attention grabber here for powder skiers. While beginner and intermediate skiers stick to the greens and blues, Aspen has tons of gated backcountry skiing to offer its real powder seekers. With an average annual snowfall of 300”, make sure to check out the hike-to-terrain of Highlands Bowl at Aspen Highlands.
Copper Mountain is one of the most versatile ski resorts you’ll ever come across; with its western side conducive for beginner skiing, the central part of the mountain with tons of blues, its eastern side with fast-paced groomers, and an upper part of the mountain with tons of steep and deep, challenging terrain. As most skiers are flocking to Vail and its corresponding resorts on a powder day, Copper’s 15 lifts that service its 2,601 skiable acres has one of the lowest skier per acre ratio of all North American resorts. And although Copper is known for its frigid temperatures and strong winds, there’s always powder to be had if you know where to ski, that is. Make sure to check out the Spaulding Bowl off of the Storm King T-bar and the Union Bowl when seeking out the white stuff, where the cornices are steep and the powder is deep.