Plan the Best Time to Ski in Colorado for Perfect Snow, Events, and Solitude

When to Ski in Colorado: A Month-by-Month Guide

Plan your Colorado ski trip with this guide to the season with snow conditions, activities, and popular times.

Scenic views of North Peak in Keystone, CO.

The best time for a ski trip to Colorado is whenever you can make it happen. Still, there are a few month-specific considerations to keep in mind that will dictate the overall experience and activities available. Planning the perfect ski trip to this picturesque state involves careful consideration of the timing, as each month of the snow season unveils a unique set of experiences with advantages and challenges. 

This quick guide aims to help you decide the best time of year for skiing in Colorado based on any preferences or snow dreams you might have. We’ll examine factors such as snowfall, ski conditions, prices, and crowds and highlight some of the best ski resorts and events that define the skiing scene. 

 

When is the Best Time for Skiing in Colorado? 

 

The best time for skiing in Colorado is considered to be from February to March, when peak conditions typically occur. While you can have an amazing experience at any time during the winter, understanding what makes each period unique helps you decide what works best for you. There are three main periods of the season to consider: early season conditions in December, peak conditions from February to March, and later season spring conditions starting in late March.


Winter Wonderland

(December-February)


Embarking on a ski trip to Colorado during the heart of winter offers the quintessential experience, usually marked by abundant snowfall and a festive atmosphere. December is when most resorts here start ramping up into full gear, and the holiday decorations and events can set the stage for a magical skiing adventure. Base coverage isn’t typically huge in December, but there is still a good chance for fresh snow and good conditions. January and February are excellent ski months in Colorado, with colder temperatures and steady storms creating high-quality snow at most mountains. 

The winter wonderland created during these months does come at a bit of a cost. This is usually the busiest time of year, and things can book up early during this peak season, reflecting the high demand for snowy slopes. The popularity of skiing during the holidays translates into busier slopes, particularly around Christmas and New Year. If you can navigate sharing the mountains with fellow snow enthusiasts, December to February is an excellent time to experience the magic of Colorado’s ski resorts.  


Powder Paradise & Spring Skiing

(March-April)


March and April offer a slightly different skiing and riding experience as the heart of winter transitions into spring. The milder temperatures and longer days provide an appealing backdrop for anyone who might be timid of the cold, but don’t let that fool you into thinking snow conditions are bad. March, in particular, is known for receiving a good amount of snow (sometimes the snowiest month at a few mountains), and favorable ski conditions persist if things don’t get too warm. 

Spring skiing is alluring, which can draw considerable numbers of skiers and riders to the slopes. Weather during March and April can be variable and hard to predict, ranging from sunny days to late-season heavy snowfall. If you like more temperate conditions and want to make the most of your spring break, late winter and early spring might be your ideal window. 


Late Spring

(May)


If you are looking for a quieter skiing experience, late spring to early summer is a possible alternative. Not every Colorado ski resort is open into May or beyond, as it depends on snowfall and any land leases with the Forest Service in place. Breckenridge is one of these resorts that is usually open later into the spring. Crowds begin to thin out as the ski season winds down, providing a more serene atmosphere on the slopes.  

There are a few obvious trade-offs to planning a trip in May. Even if a resort is still open, it might start closing certain trails as the snow melts, limiting available terrain. Warmer temperatures, especially at lower elevations, can really affect snow conditions. Still, for anyone looking for tranquility, warmer temps, and favorable pricing, the tail end of the ski season in Colorado has its charm.  

 

Ski Resorts and Events


Beyond the season considerations, the choice of ski resort significantly shapes your skiing or riding experience. Colorado boasts several world-renowned ski destinations, each with its own character and attractions. 


Vail


Vail stands out for its expansive terrain and luxurious amenities. It’s not just a ski destination; it’s an immersive experience all season long. There are also signature events like Vail Legacy Weekend and outdoor concerts right on the mountain. 


Breckenridge


Know for its authentic mountain town charm and world-class skiing, Breckenridge is a favorite among dedicated skiers and visitors of all kinds. If you plan your trip in January, you can catch the International Snow Sculpture Championships, where artists transform massive blocks of snow into intricate sculptures. This isn't a resort event, but still worth checking out. There are other events throughout the season here, from the annual pond skim to ski and snowboard competitions. 


Crested Butte


Crested Butte offers a small-town atmosphere coupled with diverse skiing terrain. When the snow is falling, it’s best to stay on the mountain and get as many laps as you can, but there is plenty to do after a long ski session all season long. The mountain hosts several ski races and competitions while also offering concerts and other events. 

 

Visitation Tips

  • Consider flying into Denver International Airport for convenient access to various ski resorts. Most resorts are only a few hours from the airport, and most major cities in the US (East Coast included) are only a few hours flight from DIA. 
  • Plan for potential weather-related delays and adjust travel plans accordingly.
  • Book accommodations well in advance, especially during peak seasons. 
  • Explore alternative lodging options in nearby towns for more affordable alternatives. 
  • Research and purchase ski passes early to take advantage of discounts.
  • Multi-resort passes, like the Epic Pass, offer flexibility when choosing ski destinations. 
  • Dress in layers to accommodate changing weather conditions. 
  • Bring Sunscreen and lip balm to protect against the sun and high-altitude exposure. 
  • Allow time for acclimatization upon arrival to avoid altitude sickness. 
  • Stay hydrated and be mindful of alcohol consumption due to increased altitude effects. 


Whether you prefer the snowfall of deep winter or the milder conditions of spring, Colorado offers a skiing experience for everyone. By incorporating these tips and insights into your planning, you can ensure a memorable and enjoyable ski trip in the stunning snow-filled landscapes of Colorado.