Best prep tips for your first Colorado ski trip

Invigorating oxygen-rich air, bedazzling snow-capped mountains, stunning sun-kissed scenery, and tons of virginal powder is waiting for you when you book a ski trip to Colorado. If you’re looking for the best travel adventure, a ski-capade in Colorado will definitely answer your call to the wild.

But what if you’ve never been skiing in the grandiose “Centennial State”? Not to worry.  Here are a few top-notch tips that will have you standing happy in your ski boots for your first Colorado ski trip.

Photo by Joe Dudeck on Unsplash

When to go

While native Coloradans will argue that the entire state is awe-inspiring any time of the year, there are prime times to go for optimal skiing experiences. With a few exceptions, most ski lodges in Colorado are open from mid-November and start winding down operations around mid-April.  These timeframes can change depending upon the snow conditions.

The most popular time for skiing in Colorado is typically January or February because you’re almost guaranteed decent glide time with an abundance of snow.  However, most ski aficionados already know this, so expect to navigate through a lot of people on the slopes.  

Ideally, early March is a good time to book your first Colorado ski trip.  It’s warmer, sunnier and the mountains are full-on with mind-blowing ski-time adventures. If you aim to go in March, try to avoid going during Spring Break to avoid big tourist crowds.

Where to ski

When it comes to bombing down the snow-packed mountains, Colorado is a host to a slew of class-act opportunities.  Therefore, where you choose to ski boils down to what kind of adventure you seek, and what type of accommodations you require. 

If this is your first time skiing in Colorado, choose a resort that caters to your experience level. The most well-known ski resort for beginners is Telluride, a gem of a place to ski in the Rocky Mountains. This resort opens over half of its mountain range to beginners on bunny slopes as well as intermediate skiers.

If you have some ski-time under your belt, you may want to book your stay at Wolf Creek Ski Area in Pagosa Springs, CO. It boasts the most snow out of all the resorts in Colorado, and the ski conditions are pristine for any level of skier.

If you’re on a budget, then think about Ski Cooper in Leadville.  It’s not as popular as other resorts, because it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles. Even without snow machines pumping out snow or fancy condos, Ski Cooper still offers beautiful terrain, and all-natural skiing experiences that will make any newbie fall in love with the sensational sport of skiing. It’s also easy on your pocketbook.

Of course, if you’re a greenhorn at skiing, your best option is to pick a resort that offers professional ski lessons and training.  Most resorts do have instructors to help new skiers get accustomed to the sport.  However, some are better than others, so keep this in mind when you choose the best place for you to ski.

Photo by Chase Baker on Unsplash

What to pack

Obviously, it’s going to be cold, so you’ll need to pack winter gear to keep you warm. You may want to take a snowsuit, or you could opt to purchase one once you get to Colorado, as they can be bulky to pack.  Also pack hats, boots, gloves, and warm wool socks. 

The key to packing for a Colorado ski trip is layers.  You might be sweating one minute in the bright sun, and shivering in your ski boots the next. Packing layers will help you peel off clothes or add on as needed.

In terms of ski equipment, most resorts have rentals, so you won’t have to lug around those cumbersome ski poles when you travel. However, you may want to pack ski goggles, hand and foot warmers, and sunglasses.

Regarding personal care, bring your usual suspects such as hand sanitizer, sunscreen, lip balm, and other items you need on any normal day.  Be aware, however, Colorado skiing can do a humdinger on your skin. Between wind burn, sunburn, and arid cold temps, you’re going to need a supercharged stem cell moisturizer to protect and hydrate your skin from the elements on the slopes.

Schedule downtime

If you are new to skiing, know this: It takes a mammoth toll on the body.  Expect to be sore the next day after your first time on the slopes.  And while the scenery is bodacious, the weather can be brutal. Keep these things in mind on your first ski trip to Colorado. 

Carve out time in your itinerary to go to a spa, sauna or masseuse to soothe sore muscles.  Also enjoy the ambiance of the area by indulging in local food in front of a rocking, rustic fireplace.  And whatever you do, have an excellent time shredding the gnar!

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  • Amy Saunders

    Oh, yeah! That’s what I’m talking about. You see, my family and I have been dying to spend our winter break in Colorado and we’re finally able to do that next weekend. It was really nice of you to describe just how accessible the ski resorts and slopes are in the area as well. I’ll definitely consider these options when I finalize our reservations after this.

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