Every year thousands of people search for deep powdery turns in the Colorado Rockies. When it comes to the best month to ski in Colorado, there is a clear winner (don’t worry, we’ll get there). But the Colorado ski season lasts for several months. In this guide to the top time to ski in Colorado, you’ll get local insight into each month of ski season.
I’ve been a Colorado local for 14 years. It’s my mission to let you enjoy the best of Colorado’s ski season like a local, not a tourist. So if you want real, local advice, keep reading.
About This Guide to the Best Month to Ski in Colorado
Inside this guide to the best month to ski in Colorado, you’ll uncover:
- A rundown on ski season in Colorado
- The absolute best month to ski in Colorado
- Info about what conditions are like in each ski season month in Colorado
- A quick guide to a few awesome skiing hot spots
- Additional local Colorado travel resources
What Months Are Ski Season in Colorado?
Ski season varies by a few weeks each year, but in general, Colorado ski resorts are open from mid-November until early to mid-April. A few resorts that see more snow, such as Arapaho Basin, may open earlier and stay open later. It’s always a good idea to check with the resort for specific information before visiting Colorado.
Local Tip: Winter in Colorado makes for a fantastic time to visit. However, be aware that lots of the top places to see in Colorado aren’t accessible this time of year.
The Absolute Best Month to Ski in Colorado According to Locals
February is the best month to ski in Colorado. Typically temperatures are cold enough to dump some awesome powder, while the snow depths tend to be at the highest. School’s still in session so you don’t have to contend with spring break crowds either.
Local Tip: Just because the holiday tourist crowds have dwindled, resorts are still quite popular on weekends. Especially if you’re enjoying any of the skiing near Denver, expect plenty of traffic near resorts along I-70.
Skiing in Colorado in November
November marks the start of the ski season in Colorado. To be totally honest, it’s not a great time to ski. Often times resorts only have one or two long runs open with patchy coverage at best. There are long lift lines because people are out there for the novelty of skiing again. So you’ll wait in long lines for crummy lines.
Skiing in Colorado in December
Most ski resorts really start opening up in December. Most years – especially recently – it’s been rare that a resort is 100% open in December. You’ll also contend with plenty of crowds over Christmas and New Year. However, if your plan is to enjoy some of the best mountain towns in Colorado all decked out for the holidays with the bonus of getting a few ski runs in, then this is a great time ski in Colorado.
What is Skiing Like in January?
January is another top contender for the best time to ski in Colorado. Some of the top ski towns in Colorado – such as Vail and Breckenridge are in full swing. This is also a great time to see enough coverage in Steamboat’s epic tree skiing too. However, more aggressive mountains like Telluride and Crested Butte still need a little more time to fill in.
January is a big snow month in Colorado, so you may find yourself skiing in some frothy fine powder if you’re lucky!
Backcountry skiers start to make the rounds in Colorado in January. However, be well aware that Colorado has an exceptionally dangerous snowpack. Avalanche conditions often prevent backcountry enthusiasts from skiing couloirs and steep lines – these are typically safest from mid-May to June.
February Skiing in Colorado
February is prime time for resort skiing in Colorado. Temperatures are typically cold enough where the snow is fluffy and all wheels are turning on the chairlifts. It’s the best time to go skiing in Colorado. Just be sure not to book your trip over MLK weekend – as the lift lines get crowded.
Pro Tip: January through March are also prime months for I-70 traffic. If you’re coming from Denver on the weekend, plan on leaving the city no later than 5 am if you want to skip hours of slowdowns. On the way home, leave before 11 am, or expect to sit in delays, especially on Sundays.
Is March too Late to Ski in Colorado?
The skiing in Colorado during March is still great. However, warmer days mean that spring conditions are starting to emerge. Expect some slushier days mixed in with heavier snowfall. Crowds typically amplify during spring break – so be sure to check your calendar before you hit the slopes.
Can you Still Ski in Colorado in April?
Ski season is winding down in Colorado in April. Resorts are still open in early April, but many of the runs may be closed and you might need to contend with a few bare patches. Temperatures are generally pretty warm, you may even want to ski in a t-shirt! For the best conditions, consider heading out early in the morning before things get too slushy.
Where to Ski in Colorado
There are lots of options – 26 in fact – for skiing in Colorado. With so many options from budget-friendly skiing in Colorado to the famous posh resorts such as Snowmass, you’ll be spoiled for choice. A few classic locales include:
Vail Resort. Best known for its back bowls and plenty of varied terrain.
Breckenridge. A huge resort that’s excellent for the all-around skier.
Wolf Creek. A no-frills resort that features the most powder days in all of Colorado.
Crested Butte. Situated next to a picture-perfect ski town, Crested Butte has a few gnarly chutes as well as a laid-back vibe.
Arapaho Basin. A fan favorite among die-hard locals, A-Basin features steep terrain, but shorter runs.
Copper Mountain. Family-friendly skiing and some of the longest ski runs in the state.
Additional Colorado Travel Resources
Ready to explore Colorado like a local? Check out these wintery-fresh Colorado vacay ideas: