8 Best Ski Resorts in Colorado for Beginners

Colorado is crazy well-known for skiing. There are more than 20 ski resorts across the state that cater to every type of skier, from first-time skiers to advanced skiers.

There are even resorts and ski towns for skiers who would rather apres ski, shop boutiques or celeb watch than gear up and take on mountainous snow-covered terrain.

Colorado is also known as a fantastic place to learn to ski thanks to long ski runs, loads of green trails and plenty of white, fluffy powder that’s easy for beginners to manage.

Best Skiing for Beginners in Colorado 

Nearly all the state’s ski resorts are convenient to Denver International Airport, too. As in, you can drive to most all of them within three hours.

Some ski towns, like Vail and Steamboat Springs, have their own airport. From there, it’s anywhere from a 15 to 55 minute drive to the ski slopes.

Here are the eight best ski resorts in Colorado for beginners, including teens, tweens and young children.

Beaver Creek 

Beaver Creek-Best Place to Learn to Ski
Photo Credit: Flicker/dherholz

Beaver Creek Ski Resort is well-known for its innovative and engaging approaching to teaching children to ski, thanks in large part to a ski adventure camp (ages 7-14) that has kids skiing through teepees and western-style covered wagons.

For kids, there are 13 different lesson packages geared toward beginners, including experiences that include the entire family. Sign up for a half-day, a full-day, group or private.

Beaver Creek Resort has a ski guarantee too. As in, if a child can’t ski by the third day of lessons, their fourth day of lessons is free. No wonder it’s one of the best ski resorts for first-timers.

For adults, there are group lessons for those who have never skied before. Not ever, not one time. It’s nice to not be alone when learning to confidently negotiate easy ski trails.

There are also lessons for adults have skied just once before. It’s comforting knowing there are so many options for adults and children alike to help guarantee success on the slopes.

Beaver Creek is also known for its adaptive program. Blind and disabled skiers are able to have a go on the slopes thanks to first-class, one-on-one training from ski instructors.

Finished for the day or maybe taking an afternoon break? It’s freshly-baked cookie time. At 3 pm each day, look for complimentary cookies at the base of the Centennial Express ski lift.

At Haymeadow Park, look for a novice-friendly chairlift, gentle terrain, even a teepee. Inside the teepee, listen to children’s stories as a family.

Go ice skating in the middle of Beaver Creek Village or take a guided snowshoe tour at McCoy Park. There’s even a renowned performing arts center to check out in your free time.

Beaver Creek is 100 miles from Denver. It’s well worth the drive this year too thanks to 250 acres of new ski terrain for novice and intermediate level skiers.

Need a hotel room? Here are the latest deals and details on places to stay in Beaver Creek.


Keystone-Best Place to Ski in Colorado for Beginners
Photo Credit: Flickr/reid.neureiter

Many ski resorts in Colorado are family-friendly, drawing in eager snow-loving parents with “kids ski free” promotions, fun-filled day camps and ski lessons for kiddos as young as three.

At Keystone, you’ll find group, semi-private and private lessons for skiers of all levels. They do their absolute best to get new skiers up and comfortable on the snow-packed terrain.

For families, Keystone offers family private lessons through their Ski & Ride School. This allows skiers to learn and master new skills as a family. They even offer ski lessons and workshops just for women, taught by female ski instructors.

Beyond skiing, Keystone offers loads of children’s programs, like ice cream parties, fireworks, parades and hands-on activities, like “snow science.” It’s all part of their renowned Kidtopia program, which also includes socials, face painting and craft-making.

Make time to see and play at the world’s largest snow fort atop Dercum Mountain. It’s the perfect stop to make on the way to snow tubing or to breakfast or lunch at Summit House.

Ice skate on Keystone Lake or in the center of River Run Village. Snow biking, snow tubing and scenic sleigh rides also gain high marks with winter-loving littles at this mountain resort.

Kids ski free every day of the ski season when parents book two or more nights in one of Keystone’s designated stays, like Hyatt Place Keystone and Keystone Lodge & Spa. You can also book a stay in a private home.

Keystone is just 75 miles from Denver. On arrival, enjoy free designated family parking and complimentary red wagons to haul your gear (and your kiddos) to and from the slopes.

Need a hotel room? Here are the latest deals and details on places to stay in Keystone.

Copper Mountain

Copper Mountain-Beginner Skiing in Colorado
Photo Credit: Flickr/wdayton

Copper Mountain may be better known as a haven for adventurous skiers thanks to more than 70 advanced-level ski runs, multiple terrain parks and an indoor ski barn, but it’s also one of the best Colorado ski resorts for beginners.

For one, there are lessons for all levels to help skiers build confidence on the slopes. For kids, class sizes are small to help instill a love for snow sports from a young age.

Ski lessons for children run from 9:30 am to 5 pm each day. Kids are broken up by age, then by skill level, to help ensure the best possible learning experience.

Lessons for kids ages 6-17 include an intro session at the indoor ski barn to be redeemed any time during the ski season. For adults, choose either a half-day or full-day group ski lesson.

Beyond skiing, there’s a thrilling, high-speed alpine coaster, as well as a five-lane snow tubing hill. Enjoy ice skating on West Lake in Center Village. Spend $40 in restaurants and shops to receive a free ice skate rental at City Pop.

On weekends (Fri-Sun), meet up in Copper’s West Village at 1 pm for a three-hour guided snowshoeing tour. The tour is free and family-friendly (more beginner terrain). Bring your own snowshoes or rent a pair for $20.

At the Snow Playground, kids can run, jump and play, as well as spin on a snow tube merry-go-round. There’s also an easy-going lane just right for snow tubing and sledding.

Since kids need a night out sometimes, take them to the nightly Kids’ Night Out on Fridays and Saturdays from 5:30 pm to 10 pm.

They’ll get to eat pizza, play games, watch movies and make crafts. Copper Mountain is less than 80 miles from Denver.

Need a hotel room? Here are the latest deals and details on places to stay in Copper Mountain.


Vail-Skiing for Beginners
Photo Credit: Flickr/jrm353

Vail may be one of the dominant ski resorts in Colorado, but it’s also one of best ski resorts for beginners. That’s thanks largely to more than 30 green ski runs.

Vail has lessons for every type of skier, including adults, children, even disabled skiers. A world-renowned adaptive skiing program ensures visitors of all abilities can get on the slopes.

For kids and families, the resort has both group lessons organized by age. Vail also offers private ski and snowboard lessons that allow every member of the family to get up on skis.  

A week-long ski program called Ski Girls Rock was designed to empower teen and tween girls (ages 7-14) as they improve ski skills and grow self-esteem. Two dedicated women’s programs allow for on-slope learning in a fun and supportive ladies-only environment.

When you need a break, take the Eagle Bahn gondola to Adventure Ridge, a massive snow park the size of a football stadium. You’ll find ski bikes, a kids’ snowmobile track, snow tubing and an alpine coaster.

Stop in the Nature Discovery Center, which is operated by the Walking Mountains Science Center. It’s the region’s highest altitude science center, boasting hands-on exhibits.

Sign up for a guided family snowshoe exploration with a naturalist from the Walking Mountains Science Center. It’s designed for kids ages 4-9 and parents.

If you have older kids, there are also free one-hour snowshoe guided tours for participants ages 10 and up. The snowshoe tour is free and snowshoes are provided.

Off-slope, you’ll find plenty of shopping, restaurants and apres ski in the two villages, Lionshead and Vail Village. Vail is less than 100 miles from downtown Denver.

Need a hotel room? Here are the latest deals and details on places to stay in Vail.


Breckenridge-Best Beginner Skiing in Colorado
Photo Credit: Flickr/smcgee

At Breckenridge Ski Resort – or just plain, Breck – you’ll be up on skis, tackling snow-covered terrain in no time. If you want to just do the pizza or French fry, you’ll have loads of fun with that too.

Kids will have a blast at Breck. There are so many different types of lessons. Join a group or a “quad squad” (a small group). Kids can also go solo with a private lesson.

Breck also runs one-day and three-day Ski Girls Rock programs. Much like Vail (which owns Breck), these small group lessons help empower young teen and tween girl skiers.

For adults, there are a whopping 11 different types of beginner ski programs. These range from a three-day first time ski (or snowboard) lesson to a women’s ski camp taught by women for women of all levels and abilities.

Women & Wine is a brand-new program that includes a half-day ski lesson and a glass of wine. This lesson is offered on Wednesdays from early-January to early-March.

Off the slopes, ride the high-thrills alpine coaster or go tubing at nearby Frisco Adventure Park. Dog sledding is another great family option thanks to Good Times Adventures. Go indoors for learning at the Mountain Top Children’s Museum.

For a family-friendly apres ski, try Downstairs at Eric’s. You’ll find pizza, burgers and an arcade with classic games, like Ms. Pac Man and Donkey Kong.

Steps away, indulge in rich hot chocolate and sweet treats, like cookies, ice cream and cupcakes, at Clint’s Bakery. They’ve also got a delightful Salty Chocolate Caramel Mocha.

Breckenridge is less than 85 miles from Denver. It’s an easy drive through the scenic mountains after a flight into Denver International Airport.

Need a hotel room? Here are the latest deals and details on places to stay in Breckenridge.

Winter Park 

Winter Park-Best Ski Resorts for First Timers in Colorado
Photo Credit: Flickr/cfavero

For a relaxed ski vibe that won’t put in a dent in your wallet, look to Winter Park. It’s been rated the #1 Ski Resort in North America two years in a row. It’s easy to see why.

At Winter Park, they know that every guest is unique, so there’s no one-size-fits-all ski program. Everyone learns differently and instructors want to see every single person succeed.

For kids, group skiing for beginners are a great way for them to quickly get up on skis. Book lessons at least seven days in advance for the very best prices.

The resort also offers private lessons for adults and kids, including snowboard lessons. A dozen green trails cater to first-timers and novice skiers. 

Beyond skiing, there are too many outdoor activities to count to keep every member of the family busy, like snow tubing, snowcat tours, ski biking and snowmobiling.

On Friday afternoons, look for Mini Rail Jam. From 4-5 pm each week, from early-January to late-March, little skiers and boarders (ages 6-12) show off their rad tricks and skills. It’s epic.

In the evening, stroll Cooper Creek Square in downtown Winter Park. Pop in boutique shops, like Haven, or warm up with a latte at Mountain Grind. Throughout the season you’ll also find live music and entertainment.

Winter Park is less than 70 miles from Denver. It’s a short drive, but you can also take the ski train for a relaxing two-hour excursion to the base of the ski hill at Winter Park.

On Saturdays and Sundays, plus the first two Fridays of each month, take Amtrak’s Winter Park Express from Denver’s Union Station to Winter Park (from January 10 to March 29).

Need a hotel room? Here are the latest deals and details on places to stay in Winter Park.

Steamboat Springs

Photo Credit: Flickr/mfoubister

Known as Ski Town USA, Steamboat Springs is home to dozens of Olympic athletes, including medalists Travis Mayer and Johnny Spillane.

On any given day, you may find yourself skiing alongside hopefuls at Howelsen Hill, the nation’s oldest ski area and home to North America’s largest ski jumping complex.

For kids, there are all kinds of lessons, including the Steamboat Signature Five Program. This high-touch program is limited to just five students, ensuring a more personalized approach to teaching young students to ski with confidence (best for ages 6-17).

A parallel children’s program – Ski Week – is the premier group ski lesson for children. It’s also focused on rapid skill development, only with slightly larger class sizes.

For those seeking adaptive lessons, Steamboat offers a nationally-recognized program to teach adults and children with autism, as well as cognitive and physical disabilities. They are even equipped to teach injured veterans how to ski at Steamboat.

Off the slopes, there’s plenty to do too, like the Outlaw Mountain Coaster. It’s the longest alpine coaster in North America, twisting and turning along more than 6,280 feet of track.

Go snow tubing at the Yee-Haw Tubing Hill at Saddleback Ranch. You can also sign up for snowshoe or snowmobile tours, as well as scenic gondola rides up to the top of Mt. Werner.

In town, stroll the “Walk of Fame” for a look at bronze plaques set into the sidewalk for each hometown Olympian. At the Tread of Pioneers Museum, the “Ski Town USA” exhibit shares why Steamboat Springs is home to more Olympic athletes than any other town.

Steamboat Springs is 160 miles from Denver. However, a regional airport in Steamboat Springs offers service to/from major cities, including Atlanta, Chicago and Boston.

Need a hotel room? Here are the latest deals and details on places to stay in Steamboat Springs.

Crested Butte 

Crested Butte-Best Places to Ski in Colorado
Photo Credit: Flickr/whitlow

A thriving mining town in the 1800’s, Crested Butte is now a popular ski town. More than 120 groomed ski trails, including 28 green trails, draw visitors to this part of Colorado.

Here you’ll find lessons for all ages and abilities, including full- and half-day lessons for kids as young as three. There are three-day adventure camps for kids on select long weekends.

Teens will love that there are dedicated lessons just for them (ages 13-17). As in, no learning the pizza and French fries alongside tiny tots.

Ever dreamed of skiing with an Olympian? You can do so at Crested Butte. Book a two-hour, half-day or full-day ski lesson with Wendy Fisher, a world champion freeskier.

Off the slopes, book a sleigh ride dinner, go for it on a winter zipline tour or stroll Elk Avenue for colorful Victorian-style storefronts, delightful boutiques and art galleries.

Explore the town’s rich history at the Crested Butte Mountain Heritage Museum. Exhibits on display range from “Coal Mining in Crested Butte” to “History of Skiing in the Butte.”

Back outside, gear up for fat biking, winter horseback rides and snowshoe tours, as well as snowmobile tours in the Crested Butte backcountry.

Crested Butte is more than 225 miles from Denver (a 4.5-hour drive by car). However, Gunnison-Crested Butte Airport offers service to/from select cities, like Chicago and Houston.

Need a hotel room? Here are the latest deals and details on places to stay in Crested Butte.

Do you have a favorite mountain resort to add to this list of the best ski resorts in Colorado for beginners? Let me know in the comments section below.

Best Ski Resorts in Colorado for Beginners