Ski season isn’t set in stone. When planning your Colorado ski vacation, it’s helpful to know that most ski resorts do fall within a general window: November-ish through April-ish. The majority of them tend to open late November or early December, and they try to stay open as long as possible. But that window tends to start closing early April when the spring sunshine begins to melt the snow.
An occasionally snowy winter can extend the ski season, however. For example, the Purgatory Resort in southern Colorado, commonly associated with Durango (even though it’s about 30 miles away), opted to extend its ski season due to the snowfall. It announced it would push its closing date to late April. For skiers, that’s like Christmas in the springtime.
It’s not uncommon for ski resorts to change their dates in the middle of the season, so keep your eyes on resort websites for announcements that may contribute to a last-minute springtime ski vacation. Often, ski resorts will announce extended dates late March or toward the end of their season, when they realize the snow is going to hold out for a while longer than planned.
The 2019 - 2020 Colorado Ski Season
This season, most ski resorts opened in early November and will end in early April. However, there are some exceptions, which open in early December and close in late April. Below are the dates for the upcoming winter season:
- Keystone: November to April
- Breckenridge: November to April
- Copper: November to TBD
- Vail: November to April
- Crested Butte: November to April
- Steamboat: November to April
- Beaver Creek: November to April
- Telluride: November to April
- Aspen: November to April
- Snowmass: November to April
- Buttermilk: December to April
- Aspen Highlands: December to April
Check back later this season for updates on Colorado resort extensions. Many resorts stay open well into May depending on early snowfall and the snow they make to keep the powder fresh. Places like Breckenridge, Vail, and Aspen - the more touristy ski resorts - often close in April no matter the snowfall totals as they gear down for the off-season.
Also, find the snow report here, which provides day-to-day accounts of snowfall, base depth, lifts open, acres open, and other weather conditions. These conditions change daily so when you're planning a trip to the mountains - check your conditions.
You can view each ski resort's webcams to check out conditions for yourself, too. (Or dream about it from afar as you plan.) This is also a great way to see which resorts are packed to try to avoid the lines.
The Ski Resort with the Longest Season
Arapahoe Basin is known for its extra-long ski season, one that makes Loveland's early May closing seem uneventful. A-Basin, as it’s called generally stays open until early June.
It opens the slopes earlier than other resorts, too. You can expect lifts to start running during mid- to late-October. This can offer more than a month of bonus ski time on the front end and as many as two months on the back end. Not only does A-Basin offer Colorado’s longest ski and ride season, but it claims to offer the longest season in all of North America.
A-Basin, located on the Continental Divide in Summit County, usually sees more than 350 inches of snow every year, which translates to some of the best skiing in the world (and also some of the toughest runs around). A-Basin’s terrain stretches across nearly 1,000 acres. Get up to the top quickly with its high-speed chairlift; the summit hits 13,050 feet above sea level. Then pick from more than 100 trails to make your way down.
The 400-acre Montezuma Bowl hugely increased the resort's skiable terrain when it opened in the 2007 season. You'll find this on the backside of A-Basin, and it is reserved for more advanced skiers. Its 36 runs are blue, black and double black, making A-Basin a draw for the die-hard locals and ski fanatics. With A-Basin's long season, they can get their fix all the way into the summer. It’s no wonder Arapahoe Basin’s nickname is “The Legend.”
Edited by Melissa Popp.