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Our Marvelous Month-By-Month Look at the Best Time to Ski in Colorado

by Leap on December 15, 2023 2

Best Time to Ski in Colorado - PinterestIt's no secret that Colorado offers some of the finest skiing in the U.S. With the highest altitude lift terrain in the country, the state offers plentiful snowfall and spectacular views! (It also offers some of the most varied and challenging terrain.) We've been hopping with excitement about being back on the slopes this ski season. This post will walk you through the best times to ski in Colorado by month!

The 2023-24 ski season has brought plenty of snowfall and fun times! But it's never too early to start planning ahead for the next ski season. Here is our month-by-month breakdown of the best time to ski in Colorado.

Our Month-by-Month Guide to the Best Time to Ski in Colorado

As you can probably tell, we love skiing in Colorado! There are plenty of blue-sky ski days and terrific conditions that make even us newbie ski frogs hoppy. (My wife, Flora, is our resident ski expert. She has stopped saying "hit the slopes," because she thinks I take it literally. I'm almost afraid to tell her it's not intentional.) Factor all that in with Colorado's central location and abundant airport options, and you've got one of the most popular ski destinations in the world!

Best Time to Ski in Colorado - Frog Family on the Slopes

While we've written about the best and worst times to ski in general, this post addresses Colorado ski resorts specifically. Use this month-by-month guide to help your family plan the best time to ski in Colorado.

Colorado Ski Resort Opening Dates

Before we explore Colorado skiing, month by month, let's talk about projected snow and reopening dates this fall. North America is looking at a pretty good chance of El Niño conditions this winter. What does that mean?

In an El Niño year, ski destinations in the southern Rockies (such as southern Colorado and Utah) may experience above-average snowfall. If you are looking to ski multiple destinations, California ski areas also enjoy enhanced snowfall.

Here are some of the 2023-24 Colorado ski season resort opening dates:

November

While many of the ski resorts open in mid-to-late November, some resorts, such as Arapahoe Basin and Keystone, often open in October! Usually in November, you'll typically find only a handful of lifts open. Snowfall at this time is sporadic, and while most of the resorts have snow-making capabilities, skiing is still fairly limited. Although sometimes early snowfall brings early openings!

Late November is a nice time for an early winter getaway, especially a last-minute getaway, but you have to be OK with there perhaps not being very much snow. Prices are very good on both hotels and lift tickets. Keep in mind that, try as people might, nobody can predict the weather.

December

Best Time to Ski in Colorado - Vail Village Christmas Trees

December skiing in Colorado can also be quite hit or miss, especially in the first half of the month. But the nice part is that you won't have too much competition for the snow. Snowfall can vary significantly from year to year. If there isn't a ton of snowfall, the resorts may still be operating with a limited number of runs and lifts open. It is a great way to celebrate Christmas and the New Year because the ski towns and villages — plus all of the hotels — are decked out for the holidays. Most families should still expect limited snow or skiing at this time, but you can certainly make memorable winter ski memories and enjoy holiday events!  We hopped over to Beaver Creek the week before Christmas once and found the conditions were toadally awesome, with a good mix of runs open, thanks to a few recent snowstorms.

Best Time to Ski in Colorado - Winterfest in Beaver Creek

January

By and large, the masses think January and February are the best times to ski in Colorado. These months are the "best bets" in terms of snowfall. Most of the ski resorts' trails should be open by mid-month at the latest. And aside from the days when the kids are out of school and weekends (for those resorts closest in driving distance from Denver), these are the least-crowded months to hit the slopes. Do keep in mind that January is typically the coldest month for skiing in Colorado, so it requires extra bundling! If you plan to ski during MLK weekend, be sure to book your trip in advance.

February

Best Time to Ski in Colorado - Vail Ski Statue

Typically, February is the best time to ski in Colorado. The base depth of snow on the mountains is at its deepest, and there is plenty of powder still pouring in! By February, the mountains are fully open, so there is a ton of terrain to cover. While the days around Presidents Day are some of the busiest on the slopes, the rest of the month sees lower crowds. If you have your sights on skiing on Presidents Day weekend, book those days before they fill up.

March

This is another popular month for skiers. The crowds are indeed high, especially mid-month with spring break, but it's still a good time to go because of the warmer temps and sunnier days. The mountains are fully operational! If you can, go early enough in the month for lower crowds on the slopes. If you visit during spring break, consider the larger resorts such as Vail and Keystone since they can handle larger crowds and have so much terrain to explore.

April

Some resorts typically close in early to mid-April as wetter conditions arrive. If you want to ski in April, definitely go early in the month. You can also find discounts at this time. Occasionally, the snow gods smile on Colorado, and good ski conditions continue until May. At some of the highest-elevation resorts (such as Breckenridge), snowing can continue even into May and June. Keep hopping back for updates, as the ski closing dates do vary by resort based on weather and snow quality.

I have a few more tips to save on a Colorado ski trip so that you're outfitted for success (and savings) on the mountain. We frogs are always excited to save some green and pass the tips to you, so if you need to book lodging at ski resorts or purchase an Epic Pass or Ikon Pass, be sure to check out our hoppin’ deals and purchase passes before December.

Related: The Best Ski Resorts in Colorado for Families

Related: Here Are Easily the Best Ski Resorts Near Denver Colorado for Families

Keep hopping!

Keep hopping, Leap!
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Oct 2, 2019 at 9:54 a.m. Costumelooks.com Says...

There is an unmistakable taste of party in the air this time of year, but since the nationwide school spring breaks happen on different weeks throughout the month, the ski crowds are still manageable. With warmer temperatures and lots of sun, that celebratory vibe is contagious and this could be the best time of year to make new friends on and off the slopes.

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Nov 22, 2018 at 3:04 a.m. Donny Says...

FYI, Arapahoe Basin isn't owned by Vail. It was for a short time in the late 90s until it was forced by the federal government to divest its ownership, at which point it was purchased by Dream, who has owned it since that time.

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