Colorado has the most ski resorts, and the most skier days in the US for  reason. It’s the heart of ski country, with big mountains reaching over 12,000’, big snowfall, and typically big sunny days on its high elevation, highly scenic Rocky Mountains. Colorado has a dozen world-class ski resorts with beautiful alpine villages, luxury ski hotels near the lifts, and great après ski.

There is arguably no better big ski mountain than Vail, its the original with two great ski villages at its base, and over 5,200 acres including fresh powder awaiting you in the Back Bowls. Vail is among the best planned ski resorts anywhere. Vail Resorts now owns 14 ski areas, 5 of which are in Colorado and on the same Epic ski pass.

We also love Beaver Creek, smaller and more private feeling than sister resort Vail – The Beav’ is a luxury ski resort with top service and swift lifts, the best grooming and gorgeous on mountain lodges. For luxury ski lodging at Beaver Creek, you have ten top ski hotels from the Ritz Carlton Bachelor Gulch to the Park Hyatt and Westin in Beaver Creek village, surrounding the centerpiece ice rink and great restaurants and shops.

Breckenridge is the busiest but also one of the biggest ski resort sin Colorado, with tons of terrain on 5 peaks and several moutnain villages including downtown Breck which is loaded with shops, bars and restuarants- great for Breck apres ski strolling and sipping and browsing.

We’ve skied all of Colorado, the I-70 ski corridor as its called, from Copper Mountain, to Loveland and Winter Park, A-Basin, Breckenridge, Keystone and our favorites, Vail and Beaver Creek. We have also skied Colorado resorts Aspen – Snowmass & Aspen Highlands, Steamboat, Telluride, Crested Butte and Purgatory at Durango – more remote Rocky Mountain resorts with extraordinary scenery, ideal for destination vacations. See Colorado Ski Videos.

More on The West’s Best Skiing

Aspen is the ski town for celebrities and expert skiers alike. Aspen has 4 ski unique mountains – Snowmass, Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk (home of the Winter X-Games) all on one ticket. Aspen’s  après ski is equally rich and varied, from shopping chic boutiques to hob nobbing at the finest ski hotels, St Regis, Hotel Jerome, Limelight and Little Nell. These all have great après ski bars,spas, dining and  nightlife. If you prefer condominium lodging, The Viceroy at Snowmass  has nicely appointed suites, overlooking the slopes of Snowmass- the largest of Aspen’s four ski areas.

Steamboat is a classic cowboy ski town with a great vibe to boot. We like staying at Steamboat Grand Hotel, a four diamond, steps to the gondola for first tracks in  Champagne powder. For après ski, Strawberry Park hot springs is an amazing natural steam and whirlpool spa. In the evening, take the gondola to a mountaintop dinner at Hazie’s or a sleigh ride to Ragnar’s for a candlelit cabin dinner.

Telluride is ideal for a luxe ski vacation, with epic terrain, elegant lodging and dining, extraordinary views of the San Juan mountains, swift lifts, and high elevation for great snow! Staying in Telluride’s Mountain Village at the Fairmont Franz Klammer or The Mountain Lodge Telluride provides posh condo style living, steps from the ski lifts or a gondola ride down in to town.

These are our favorite Colorado Ski resorts for a luxury ski vacation, our favorite ski hotels in the Rockies for top mountain lodging, fun après ski – Vail village and Aspen are the best, and friendly Coloradans who embrace the outdoor lifestyle and enjoy active adventurous living in the snow.

“The best thing about skiing backwards is you can see where you’ve been.” – Warren Miller