Colorado has long been a top destination for ski trips and the Ikon Pass has made it easier than ever to check off some of the best resorts in one trip. We've put together the ultimate road trip to hit some of our favorite Ikon Pass resorts in Colorado, so you can get the most out of your ski vacation.
Getting Here and Around
Begin your journey in Denver by driving out or flying into Denver International Airport. Hosting more than 20 airlines and 190 non stops destinations, domestically and internationally, there is no shortage of ways to get to Colorado. If you're flying in, try for a window seat so your excitement can start by seeing the snowy peaks from above! Once you have arrived, grab yourself a rental car and hit the road. As you will be traveling almost entirely in the mountains, an all wheel drive or 4 wheel drive vehicle is highly recommended. Set your sights on I-70 West and get going.
Denver International Airport to Arapahoe Basin - 88 Miles
"The Legend", or more locally known as A-Basin, offers a pure Colorado ski experience. A no-frills resort with some of the best inbound skiing this state has to offers. Don’t let its small size fool you, A-Basin’s 1,400 vertical feet and 9 chair lifts, boasts over 70% black to double black trails and still plenty of slopes for the beginner. They are also known for having the longest ski season in Colorado with closing dates often going into June and even sometimes July. A-basin is the perfect first stop if you are looking to dive head first into some Colorado skiing, especially if you're taking your trip early in the season.
Visit Il Rifugio on top of A-Basin. Nestled at 12,456 ft, this European style bistro is North America's highest restaurant and features incredible views and a cozy atmosphere.
Arapahoe Basin to Copper Mountain - 24 Miles
Following a leg-aching first couple of days, it's time to make your way to the next destination - but there's a pit stop to make first. Head west on US-6 towards Breckenridge/Frisco for a quick lunch stop. Be sure to check out downtown Frisco, a quiet town right off 70 filled with shops and restaurants. If you're looking to hit A-Basin and Copper for multiple days, this is the perfect central spot to stay. If you're just passing through, we recommend breakfast or lunch at Butterhorn Bakery. Their tasty sandwiches on homemade bread and house-made pastries are the perfect fuel for a day of skiing hard.
A short drive away, sitting in the base of 10-mile canyon, is Copper Mountain. Over 2,400 acres of ski-able terrain makes Copper one of the largest resorts in Colorado. The naturally divided terrain splits the mountain into beginner, intermediate and advanced terrain, so no matter your level, you'll have the convenience of plenty of appropriate runs nearby. Spaulding and Copper Bowls offer advanced skiers incredible slopes at and above tree-line.
At the base of Copper Mountain guests are treated to a neighborhood feel instead of your typical resort village. After a long day of skiing, the Villages at Copper are the perfect stop to rest the legs and start the apres-ski. If you have a sweet tooth then you must stop into Sugar Lips Mini Donut Shop, these little guys are made fresh and so tasty.
Copper to Steamboat Springs - 100 Miles
Your next leg brings you back East on 70 then turns north up Highway 9 where you will be treated to some vastly different landscapes, from the heart of the mountains to the flat grasslands.
In a couple hours you will arrive at the quaint town of Steamboat Springs. This iconic destination is where classic ski town meets western traditions and the area has produced more Olympians than any other US town. Steamboat boasts almost 3,000 skiable acres, one incredibly long ski run at 3 miles long and a diverse terrain that is perfect for any level skier. Their legendary Champagne Powder Snow will take your powder day to the next level. For the non skier, Steamboat is also home to an alpine slide, miles of snowshoeing trails, snowmobile tours and you can always take a scenic ride on the gondola.
Use the free Steamboat Springs Transit to move between the village and downtown after the skiing stops. There is no shortage of dining, drinks and entertainment to be had. Creekside and The Laundry in Downtown Steamboat should be on your list for incredible breakfast and dinner.
Soak those sore legs at the famous Strawberry Park Hot Springs. While you're there, you can book a traditional massage or try Watsu aquatic therapy.
Looking for lodging in Steamboat? Check out our favorite spots.
Steamboat Springs to Winter Park - 99 Miles
Travel back through the Yampa Valley over Rabbit Ears Pass, heading east. Tired of being in the car? Stop at Never Summer Brewing in Granby for a quick break before finishing the short drive to Winter Park.
Despite being the closet major ski resort to Denver, Winter Park gives off the feeling of being remote and tucked away in the Rockies. With over 3,000 skiable acres, spread across multiple peaks, Winter Park has something for everyone. For the die-hard skier, do not miss a chance to ski The Cirque, over 300 acres of off piste skiing serviced by a one-of-a-kind snow cat/sled. Beginner skiers will get their fix on Winter Park Mountain with almost 50% green and blue skiing.
Much like Steamboat, here you will find two distinct areas to head after the day is done. The village at Winter Park is host to various restaurants, bars, and shops. Pizza Pedl’r is a local favorite for quick and cheap eats. If you are looking for more variety then head down the road to the town of Winter Park; Idlewild Brewpub and Restaurant has something to please everyone and its delicious.
Need a place to stay in Winter Park? We have the perfect spot.
Back to Denver International Airport - 89 Miles
A short drive over the scenic Berthoud Pass drops your back onto I-70 for a straight shot back to the Airport. If time allows before your flight, make a stop in Idaho Springs, the once booming gold mining town, now the perfect pit stop off the highway. Be sure to try Tommyknocker Brewery, serving up locally made beers as well as a tasty casual menu. This restaurant pays homage to the mining heritage of the area in a fun environment for the whole family/ If you are looking for a more hearty meal, Smokin' Yards BBQ is some of the best BBQ food you will find in the Centennial State.
The Ikon Pass is the perfect companion for your Colorado ski trip, but you can only buy them for the next couple of weeks. Get your pass now so you can have your most iconic winter ever.