Fresher Powder

Colorado gets all the skiing fanfare for good reason, but if you’re looking for a change of scenery, bountiful mountain ski resorts await—many just a day’s drive away. We rounded up a few of our faves and included top après-ski activities in each place, from New Mexico to Montana.

Photo: courtesy Taos Ski Valley

Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico
Driving Distance from Denver:
4 hours, 54 minutes

The first ski resort on earth to become a certified B Corp—a.k.a. devoted to socially and environmentally-ethical business practices—is home to 12,481-foot Kachina Peak, which is chockablock with everything from hair-raising chutes to pristinely manicured slopes. What else would you expect from a ski resort founded six decades ago by Swiss German ski legend Ernie Blake? Après-Ski Spot: The ski-in, ski-out Bavarian Restaurant at the foot of Lift 4, where dirndl-donning waitstaff serve up fondue and house-made apple strudel.

Photo: Kevin Cass, courtesy Grand Targhee Resort

Grand Targhee Resort, Wyoming
Driving Distance from Denver: 9 hours

Some 500 feet of snow annually gets dumped on this Jackson Hole-area favorite, where downhill skiing is only the beginning: activities also include cat skiing, snowshoeing, Nordic skiing and even fat biking (which is, yes, just as thrilling on snow days). Bonus: you can add a side trip to jaw-dropping Grand Teton National Park. Après-Ski Spot: The Branding Iron restaurant, where dishes include Maple Leaf Farms duck rillettes with fig marmalade and pickled onion.

Photo: courtesy Park City Mountain Resort

Park City Mountain Resort, Utah
Driving Distance from Denver:
7 hours 32 minutes

It should come as no surprise that a town Robert Redford put on the map is cinematic, but nothing prepares you for Park City Mountain Resort—the largest ski and snowboard resort in the nation, with a whopping 7,300 acres, 41 lifts, 348 trails and 13 bowls. It’s so large, in fact, that it maintains a fleet of 40 snowcats to manicure the snow’s surface for the most pristine powder possible. Après-Ski Spot: The show stopping spa at Montage Deer Valley, where treatments include warm basalt stone massages and oxygen-infusion facials.

Photo: courtesy Sun Valley Resort

Sun Valley Resort, Idaho
Driving Distance from Denver:
11 hours, 41 minutes 

The chairlift was born here back in 1936, proof positive that 2,054-acre Sun Valley Resort, which was built by Union Pacific Railroad that same year, takes skiing seriously. But regulars love it for what it isn’t—crowded—raving over line-free rides up their 18 lifts. Did we mention the resort averages sunny days during 80% of their ski season? Après-Ski Spot: The 1939 Roundhouse, a reservation-only spot on the crest of Bald Mountain known for its 5-course fireside dinners (don’t miss the chocolate fondue with lemon lavender pound cake and candied bacon).

Photo: courtesy Whitefish Mountain

Whitefish Mountain Resort, Montana
Driving Distance from Denver:
15 hours, 22 minutes

Often touted by insiders as “The Next Aspen,” this 3,000 acre gem near Glacier National Park has 113 marked trails—and an uber-long 3.3 mile run, aptly named Hellfire. We love that these slopes offer weekend night skiing and have something for everybody; 12% of their runs are labeled “easier” and more than half are black diamond or above. Après-Ski Spot: Locally beloved Spotted Bear Spirits, a vodka and gin distillery that uses heirloom Montana-grown produce in their cocktails. Our fave tipple: the Ramblin Blues, made with limoncello, soda and blueberry sage shrub.

Photo: courtesy Telluride Ski Resort

Fun facts about three storied Colorado ski resorts

Telluride Ski Resort

Much of Telluride was a boarded up ghost town of 19th century mining cabins when Ron Allred, who’d developed Avon, Colorado (home to Beaver Creek Ski Resort) founded this universally beloved ski mecca in the 1970s. Now the San Juan Mountain stunner is home to more than 2,000 acres of skiable terrain and 148 trails with monikers like Happy Thought and Satisfaction. 

Photo: courtesy Crested Butte Mountain Resort

Crested Butte Mountain Resort

Some 234 inches of snow a year fall on this comparatively intimate resort, where 15 lifts and 121 trails splay out over the 1,547 skiable acres. There’s extreme terrain galore and myriad things to do beyond downhill shushing—from snowshoeing to fat biking—thanks to the 1.7 million acres of untrammelled national forest at your feet.

Photo: courtesy Strawberry Park Hot Springs, Steamboat


This 169-trail ski star gets around 46 fresh powder days a season—so it’s no wonder 98 Olympians choose to call the town of Steamboat Springs (population: 13,212) home. But the best part of skiing here may just be that the area is home to 150 mineral springs bubbling up from the earth; stop by Strawberry Park Hot Springs to soak your sore muscles in steaming al fresco pools, just as mother nature intended.