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Where To Ski Within Two Hours of Fort Collins

The time has come to put away your swimsuits and sunscreen in exchange for your puff jackets and snowboards. Colorado is home to some of the most renowned ski resorts, making it a popular hub for residents, tourists and athletes from all over the globe.

Colorado’s winter resorts are projected to open anywhere from Nov. 11 to Dec. 26. But before hitting the slopes, make sure to stop by the Colorado’s Convention Center in Denver where the 26th Annual Colorado Ski and Snowboard Expo will be held from Nov. 10-12. For only $15, you will receive a $10 getskitickets.com gift card, a year subscription to SKI magazine and the opportunity to scope out the hottest new gear and equipment to keep you prepared on the slopes all season long.

Photo by Davis Bonner

There are many elements skiers and snowboarders search for when picking their ideal places to shred. For your trip, consider the distance and the traffic you may experience along the way. As for the resort itself, take a look at the cost, terrain and the type of powder. These factors will all play a role in your decision for the perfect skiing location.

“When picking a slope, I look for conditions of the slopes such as snowfall and how packed down the snow is, because the more packed the snow, the harder to snowboard in,” Avery Hanzlicek said, a junior psychology major at Colorado State University.

Eldorado Mountain receives an average snowfall of 300 inches per year that keeps all 62 trails in prime condition. Eldorado Mountain is one of the closest resorts in proximity to CSU with a distance of 69 miles. There are 11 green trails (beginner level), 40 blue trails (moderate level) and 11 black diamond trails (expert level). Along with the abounding number of slopes, there are wonderful amenities provided. The Lodge, Indian Peaks Lounge, Timbers Tap Room and Coffee and The Lookout at Corona constitute the restaurants on the mountain where you can relax and unwind from a run on the slopes.

94 miles away, Echo Mountain sits pretty alongside the Continental Divide in Idaho Springs, Colorado. Echo Mountain has had a rocky history, changing every other couple of years from a private ski race training facility to being open to the public. New ownership in October 2016 brought the resort out of bankruptcy and has been a success ever since, offering fairly inexpensive ski passes and lessons. A college season pass is being offered for $229, a $20 discount from the regular adult season pass. Intermediate level slopes account for 75 percent of the runs, while 10 percent are beginner level, 10 percent are black diamond and 5 percent are double black diamond.

skier in front of snowy colorado mountain
Photo by Davis Bonner

Echo Mountain is fitting for snowboarders like Heidi Kim, an undeclared sophomore at CSU, whose talents mostly lie within the blue slopes.

“Blues fit me best because I can’t jump slopes and that’s the level I’m at right now,” Kim said. “Hopefully I’ll be able to try running a black slope this season.”

Rated 4.6 stars is Loveland Ski Area, located in Dillon, Colorado, approximately 116 miles away from Fort Collins. There are two main areas that comprise Loveland Ski Area: Loveland Valley and Loveland Basin. For beginners, Loveland Valley should be the first place you check out. Free transportation offered by the resort will lead you to where you can master your maneuver skills and practice technique in a more mellow environment before entering the world of more experienced snow-riders. Loveland Basin is where ski and snowboard lovers can divulge in their passions and put their skills to the test on blues and blacks.

Only 6 miles further than Loveland Ski Area is the Arapahoe Basin Ski Area. Founded in 1946, A-Basin has offered a thrilling ski-snowboard experience for 71 years. However, the 2017-2018 season is the perfect time to snag a pass because the resort is expanding by a whopping 468 acres. The terrain will expand into the Beavers and the Steep Gullies. Steep Gullies will be completely open for this season while only a portion of the Beavers will be available before the 2018-2019 completion season starts up. This trail is a good option for those who have more experience in the snow sports world because 93 percent of the trails constitute more difficult to extreme trails.

Whether you are a newcomer or a master of the slopes, there is surely a place for you to experience the wonderful adventures that lie in store for you in the Rocky Mountains. Take advantage of your home in Fort Collins, Colorado and seize the day.

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