Americas largest ski state has dozens of good, though expensive, resorts. Peaks seven, eight, nine and ten offer challenges to advanced skiers, with black diamond trails crisscrossing the mountain faces. Very good intermediate terrain too. Breckenridge now has the world’s highest chair (Imperial Express, to 3,915m) and a new run and gondola allow you to ski right down to town.
Breckenridge is user friendly, as its Ski Easy beginner and intermediate runs are on the bottom part of the mountain, progressing to the steep and deep stuff the higher you go. Boarding is very popular here thanks to the excellent powder-bowls and five terrain parks, including Freeway – one of the nation’s best. Après-ski is very lively with scores of bars and restaurants. Partying starts early and goes on into the early hours, with several real-ale brew pubs.
Telluride is a cool town with some sensational skiing, a bit like Aspen before it became a global brand. Ski bums rub shoulders with movie stars who are here to ski rather than be seen. The town has come on in recent years, boutique hotels joining historic places like the New Sheridan, but it retains its character by being off the beaten track, at the end of a box canyon near the New Mexico line, a helluva five hour drive or, more realistically, a flight from Denver. The Victorian charm remains, side by side with modern glories: the town, at 2,665m, is linked by public transport gondola to Mountain.