The Resort: No need to steer clear of this high mountain playground due to its chi-chi reputation, since Aspen's world-class skiing and snowboarding can be enjoyed by everyone. And, with 4 mountains and over 3,900 acres of prime skiing available, there is PLENTY to enjoy. In fact, for the $159 cost of a 1-day adult lift ticket, you get access to all 4 of Aspen's mountains, including Snowmass, Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, and Buttermilk, making it a relative bargain. This means over 3900 acres of the backcountry, black diamond, intermediate, and beginner
The Town: Aspen is characterized not only by its multitudes of restaurants, nightclubs, shopping, and
Affordable Lodging: So far as affordable accommodations, there are hostels such as the St. Moritz Lodge, where a night's stay can cost as little as $75. Airbnb or other local renters are also worth looking into for low-cost accommodations, and keep in mind too that for those willing to stay a few miles down-valley in Glenwood Springs, lodging costs can go down dramatically from Aspen's premium accommodations. Want to really enjoy Aspen like a local while not only saving
The Resort: With up to 148 trails featuring beginner slopes, black and double black diamond runs, terrain parks, and hike-to slopes for advanced skiers and snowboarders, this resort is a blast for everyone. Even better, its combination of high-quality runs over the best powder the Rockies have to offer — and its low ticket price of $115 for an adult day pass could easily qualify this as Pugs Mountain for its value! In all seriousness, whether you come to rip double black diamond chutes or spend the day exploring the woods on Nordic skis, you can't go wrong with this one-of-a-kind resort. Or, as one anonymous reviewer put it, "I've never had a ski vacation quite like Telluride. Simply the best in Colorado, if not the U.S."
The Town: This former Victorian mining town is set in a box canyon below picturesque, forested peaks, and still retains its timeless old western spirit. And, with some of America's top chefs calling Telluride home, there is no wonder Conde' Nast readers ranked it among their top 20 cities for foodies. With a collection of restaurants featuring everything from brick oven pizza to free-range steak, food choices will be the least of your worries. Catch up on calories while enjoying handcrafted beers at Smuggler's Brewpub before enjoying live music at the Fly Me to the Moon Saloon. Wake up the next day to Cowboy Coffee's fresh roasted Java before hitting the slopes and repeating — total paradise!
Affordable Lodging: As with any of these 5 resorts,
The Resort: At Breckenridge, skiers and snowboarders are treated to 187 trails covering over 2908 skiable acres, 40% of which are high alpine terrain. How's THAT for plenty of skiing to go around? Oh, wait, we forgot to mention that the resort spans 5 peaks so that beginners, intermediates, and black diamond fiends can all have plenty to choose from, so even at $157 for an adult day pass, you get what you pay for. Even better, order online 7 or more days in
The Town: Not only will you love this Victorian-era town for its great skiing, nightlife and gold-mining history, you'll also love its lively, fun-loving attitude as well. Once you're there, you're sure to feel the "Breck Effect" as you take in the high-mountain air and enjoy any of the
Affordable Lodging: For one of the best ski town deals going, try the Bivvi Hostel, where you and 3-others can get 4 nights in a private dorm for as little as $269 per person, and even less if you choose their shared 4 or 6-person options. They also have higher priced luxury suites and private rooms available. No matter what you opt for, it comes with wifi, use of the outdoor hot tub, complimentary breakfast, and everything else an active outdoor adventurer could want. Did we mention they serve beer and wine until 8 pm daily? Yep, they have that too.
The Resort: Ready to tackle the legendary terrain of Vail? You're in for a treat. At 5,289 acres of skiable terrain, not only is Vail one of the largest ski resorts in the world, but you will love its array of bowls, chutes and terrain parks which include plenty of skiing and snowboarding for all levels. In fact, with 195 named runs, the longest of which is a full 4-miles long, you are going to need to take advantage of a multi-day or even season pass here to experience all of it. And, even though Vail has one of the highest adult 1-day lift tickets costs at $161 (when you order online and over 7 days in advance), it covers multiple resorts including Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, and Keystone Resorts. However, Vail does get crowded at times due to its popularity, although as one reviewer put it, "Regardless of how crowded it may seem at times, there's always plenty of space on the back side to get away from it all. Will continue to come back. Absolutely love this mountain!"
The Town: Ready to indulge in a little Aprés-ski? This high-mountain
Affordable Lodging: For those who value affordability and community, there is the Bunkhouse, Vail's answer to the needs of those more interested in spending their hard-earned dollars on the adventure than on expensive hotels. With its hip atmosphere, clean, comfortable surroundings, multiple amenities, convenient location and beds for as little as $71 per night, there is no need to look anywhere else. However, this place is popular, so in the event of a sellout, there is always
The Resort: While it may not have quite the enormity of a place like Vail, Steamboat Springs nonetheless features 165 trails spanning, 2965 skiable acres, and 18 lifts. Skiable regions include its legendary Champagne Powder in the trees for the experienced powder-hound, and plenty of terrain parks and runs for all skill levels. Mountain access includes an eight-person gondola and seven high-speed lifts, and there is even night skiing available. An adult lift ticket goes for as little as $139 when you order online and one week in advance. Those who are lucky enough to spend the season here can also save with the purchase of a season pass, which
The Town: What could be better than a town which not only features some of the world's premier skiing and snowboarding? Well, true to its name, Steamboat Springs is adjacent to the soothing waters of natural geothermal hot springs! The town's relaxed atmosphere, steaming hot springs, nightlife, and world-class skiing make this a favorite for ski-bums world-wide. This authentic mountain town features over 46 restaurants along with shopping, live music halls and a bar scene for those hearty enough to party into the night and still cut fresh powder in the morning. Get your aprés on at the Slopeside Grill before going for some serious carb-loading at Vaquero's, where the burritos are big and the prices are low. Next, head to Schmiggity's for some live music before wrapping it up with a sampling of some mountain brews at the Mountain Tap Brewery — just remember that you have to do it all over again tomorrow, so don't stay out too late!
Affordable Lodging: While Steamboat Springs has its share of luxury hotels, there are also hotels with rates as low as $79 per night for 2 people, as well as
With 5 great resorts to choose from — all of which feature the best Colorado Rocky Mountain powder you can imagine — your only challenge is figuring out which ones you can visit during your ski vacation.
With the friendly, laid-back attitude any of these towns have to offer, along with the active, high mountain lifestyle, you're liable to arrive a tourist — and leave a local.
And, with the money you save on affordable lodging, you will have plenty left over for some quality Pugs polarized sunglasses to protect those peepers on sunny, high altitude days. After all, with Pugs legendary affordability and style, you're not only going to look great while you ski, you'll have more cash in your pocket for the things that count: grub, beer, and MORE SKIING