Resort Guide 2013-2014: Colorado

Jake Black Photo Jeff Brockmeyer Breckenridge Colorado

Jake Black. Breckenridge, Colorado. Photo: Jeff Brockmeyer.

Words: Ben Gavelda

Harry and Lloyd weren’t crazy for hightailing it to Aspen (although the movie Dumb and Dumber was shot in Breckenridge, both good shred spots nonetheless). Colorado is an iconic region in snowboard culture from old log jib days at Vail to Kingpin films park sessions and current global contests. It’s the gateway to riding in the West and regarded for its early season snowfall, bluebird days, friendly locals, massive runs, dry snow, scenic beauty, direct town-to-lift access, consistent parks and, well, being high. Colorado is the only US state entirely above 1,000 meters, and weed is legal so there’s that, too.

The most well-known and easily accessible areas lie off the I-70 corridor that stretches from the Front Range foothills westward into the Rocky Mountains. Directly off this main vein lay the spreads of Vail, Beaver Creek, Copper, Breckenridge, A-Basin, Keystone, Loveland, Winter Park, Steamboat Springs and other off-the-beaten path locales. Colorado has 27 total areas in operation across the state, some of which thrive while others simply sustain in relative remoteness, harboring hidden pow stashes, colorful locals and crusty 1980s skier mentalities. It’s true, Colorado has a lot of moguls, and it can be boring and flat in places. But there are exceptions, like the thriving Summit County park scene, the rugged San Juan Mountains, highway accessible backcountry, numerous touring huts and deep dumps in the Southwest. Weather is capricious and snow can drop on any given day, but the Centennial State enjoys upwards of 300 sunny days a year on average. Waist-deep Halloween opening days at Wolf Creek are no myth and pros flock to Colorado for early season riding because the parks are some of the earliest up in the country. If you’re debating a visit, just remember there’s a reason John Denver sang that one song.

Check out the next page for our top 3 freeriding resorts in Colorado…