Obviously Breckenridge is an amazing ski destination that attracts visitors from all across the globe annually to slip, slide, and ski their way down the runs. But what many people don’t realize is that Summit County has some fantastic resorts and destinations that provide just as many exhilarating chutes, bowls, and natural features to navigate through. Continue reading to discover my three favorite Breck alternatives in Summit County.

Keystone Ski Hills

Distance from Denver: 96.5 miles
Number of runs: 135 (approx.)
Longest run: 3.5 miles
Annual snowfall: 230 inches

Keystone is best known for thrilling bowls, deep powder, and a wide variety of family-friendly activities, both in the village and on the mountains. The resort has over 3,100 acres of skiable terrain and has runs that will suit even the most novice of skiers or snowboarders. The back bowls are the spot for free riding, with steep chutes, and plenty of tree-lined areas to navigate through and use as natural features. Perfect for powder hounds and families, Keystone has a variety of activities including ice skating, tubing, snowmobiling, relaxing at the pool and spa, and of course skiing and snowboarding during the day and during the night.

Copper Mountain

Distance from Denver: 77.7 miles
Number of runs: 140 (approx.)
Longest run: 1.7 miles
Annual snowfall: 310 inches

Known by enthusiasts for the free Cat Skiing and indoor freestyle training center, Woodward Copper Barn, the facilities at Copper Mountain are second-to-none. The ski hills are best known for their laid back vibe—on the piste and in the village—and the way that the mountain’s developer segregated the runs, with easy runs for the novice on the right of the mountain, intermediates in the center, and experts on the far left and the back bowls. Another ideal ski hill for families, Copper Mountain also offers a tubing hill, ice skating, snowshoeing, and Colorado’s largest climbing wall.

Arapahoe Basin

Distance from Denver: 63.8 miles
Number of runs: 109 (approx.)
Longest run: 1.5 miles
Annual snowfall: 350 inches

Etched into local ski folklore as “The Legend”, Arapahoe Basin offers the highest skiable terrain in North America, and is beloved for its long season and stellar amounts of Colorado powder. The area above the tree line offers chutes that will be sure to get the adrenaline flowing, cruise-worthy open bowls, and steep mogul-filled terrain. Arapahoe Basin is home to one of the most infamous runs in Colorado, the Pallavicini Trail, which features numerous chutes, cliff faces and steep switchbacks that would challenge even the most seasoned of snowboarding and skiing veterans. When the mountain has a base in excess of 60 inches and the wind is not howling, Arapahoe is easily one of the best kept secrets of Summit County’s mountains and is easily accessible for city dwellers in Denver looking to escape to the hills or for more seasoned riders who are looking to escape the long line ups at Breckenridge or Vail’s world-class ski runs.

Which of these three alternative mountains have you been to? Which was your favorite and why? Tell us in the comments below or on Facebook!

Posted by Tony Giacone on
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