This time of year is seemingly punctuated with one question: ‘What’s your New Year’s resolution?’ Instead of the myriad cliché resolutions out there, which have the same shelf life as that eggnog in the back of your fridge, why not set out to do something that brings a smile to your face?  A resolution involving skiing or riding is always a good call, but rather than vowing to hit ’X’ number of days on the hill, I suggest that you resolve to go out and explore some new resorts.  Here is a list of 5 resorts in Colorado that everyone needs to hit this season, plus some of the classic runs at each one. Some of these are a little bit off the beaten path, or further away than some people feel like traveling, but they are all worth the trip.

Crested Butte

Image by http://www.skicb.com

Crested Butte:  This is by far my favorite place to ride in Colorado.  The terrain is as challenging as you want it to be, plus the mountain, town, and views are all incredibly stunning. With 542 acres of in-bounds double black terrain, there are unbelievable lines and aspects to explore all over the mountain. Seriously, whether you want to get crazy and scare yourself the entire time or just cruise the groomers with family, CB truly has something for everybody.  Also, the town, people, restaurants, and night life are all just a bit different than what you will find at other resorts. This place has a soul, one which is as infectious as it is charming.

Runs to check out at Crested Butte:

  • Funnel
  • Anything in the Teocalli Bowl
  • Hard Slab into The Glades
12_27_2011_Monarch_John_Trousdale_10-650x462

Image by John Trousdale via blog.coloradoski.com

Monarch:  If you’re going to take my advice and head to CB this winter (which you should), you’re probably going to have to go over Monarch Pass.  You might be tempted to just drive on past the Monarch ski area because it seems small.  Don’t.  You need to schedule a day or two to check this place out!  It’s a little mom & pop ski area, but the conditions and terrain are awesome.  You’ll hardly ever wait in a lift line, and even a few days after a storm, you can still find fresh tracks everywhere!  This isn’t your typical resort, so don’t expect to do much else besides ski or snowboard, which if you ask me, is a huge plus.

Runs to check out at Monarch:

  • Mirkwood Trees
  • The cornice on Curecanti
  • Gunbarrel

Silverton-SnowSilverton:  Well, there’s not a whole lot to say about Silverton besides; just go.  Oh, and get the guided tour. It’s worth it.  The quality of snow is only eclipsed by the intensity of the terrain. Silverton is still awash in the ski-pioneer spirit, and I don’t care how good you are, you will be able to find something that easily takes your breath away.  This place is steep, never groomed, and there are NO beginner or intermediate runs.  If that doesn’t sound fun enough though, they also offer heli-trips.  You know you want to go…

Runs to check out at Silverton:

  • Anything they let you ride, or anything that you can handle.
  • Seriously, it’s all good!

 

snowmass

Image by Jeremy Swanson via Facebook.com

Snowmass:  Snowmass is bigger than most people think which makes it easy to escape the crowds without losing out on all the amenities of a high end resort. With over 3,300 acres of skiable terrain, it’s easy to find something fun to ride. Trees, parks, groomers, bowls, glades; it’s all there; you just have to go explore.  Even after the lifts stop turning there is plenty to do, since Snowmass is well known for a variety of fantastic après and dining options.  You won’t be disappointed!

Runs to check out at Snowmass:

  • Rio
  • Powerline Glades
  • Cirque Headwall

 

telluride-1

Image via Boundforsnow.com

Telluride:  Everything about Telluride is just plain striking. First off, it’s pretty much breathtakingly beautiful. Looks aside though, this place is ideal for avid skiers and riders as there is an array of fantastic terrain spread over 2,000 skiable acres. Whether you want to placate your sense of adventure with their premier hike-to areas, or simply ski perfect corduroy while taking in the remarkable views, you will walk away from this resort with a smile on your face. There is also a gondola from the town to the Mountain Village which makes it easy to check out all of the amazing shopping, après, and dining options.

Runs to check out at Telluride:

  • Little Rose
  • Crystal
  • Audrey

Whatever your New Year’s resolution ends up being, I hope you find yourself in the mountains as much as possible. Happy New Year!