Skiing has a long history throughout Europe, dating all the way back to the Middle Ages, and yet, wasn’t introduced to America until the 1900s. When the winter sport finally hit America, it became a sensation prompting the opening of ski resorts throughout the mountain towns of Colorado, Utah, and Idaho. Colorado, in particular, continues to dominate winter sports tourism, accruing close to 85 million annual visitors. Below we’ve compiled a list of the top ski destination towns in Colorado and where you can set up camp in your RV if you visit during the winter months.
The town of Aspen was founded by miners in 1879 and was originally named Ute City after the Ute Native American tribe that inhabited the area. The name was formally changed to Aspen in 1880. The history of skiing in the town first began with the simple snowshoe in 1880, evolving into leather foot straps over ten-foot wooden boards in 1890, to eventually the first skis manufactured in 1932. The first Aspen ski lodge opened in 1936, and the rest is history. Today, Aspen attracts over one million skiers annually.
Founded in 1946, Aspen Ski Company encompasses four mountains: Snowmass, Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, and Buttermilk. This highly-rated ski resort boasts 362 trails and 41 lifts across two towns. They offer traditional winter sports such as skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, and tubing, along with snowbiking. They also offer early morning runs called “First Tracks,” where skiiers can hit the trails before everyone else, or even “Powder Tours” where skiiers can ski untracked runs on soft, powder snow with catered lunch. It’s also incredibly kid-friendly with daily programs and events just for kids. You can read all about everything Aspen Ski Company offers on their website.
Finding a place to camp in your RV can be tough in the Aspen area due to many of the campgrounds (and even some highways and roads!) being closed until spring. This is where your handy Harvest Hosts membership comes in! A little over an hour away is Stoneyard Distillery which has four reservable spots for RVs of any length. Be sure to grab a drink after a long day of hitting the trails in exchange for your overnight accommodations with no camping fees.
Crested Butte was founded in 1878. What used to be a coal mining town has since turned into a huge ski destination. Because of the booming coal mine industry, the town attracted many wealthy investors, businessmen, and travelers, which prompted the building up of the town to accommodate them. Before trains and cars, skiing was a common form of travel in Colorado, particularly in this area. It became a recreational sport after World War II, and the first resort opened in this area in the mid-sixties.
Crested Butte Ski Resort
You’ll almost never run out of things to do at Crested Butte Ski Resort. In addition to skiing and snowboarding, they offer zip lining and an adventure park. They also offer a Ski & Ride School and a “First Tracks” option to hit a fresh run.
Crested Butte Nordic
This nonprofit maintains 50km of scenic ski areas and provides trail passes and rentals to children under 16. While they may not offer all the bells and whistles of a typical resort, their focus lies on educating youth and adults alike by providing instruction and backcountry tours, along with programs for ski enthusiasts of any age. Crested Butte Nordic also has several dog-friendly trails if you’d like your pup to tag along.
Crested Butte RV Park
Crested Butte RV Park is conveniently located in Crested Butte so you can spend more time skiing. They are big rig friendly and are open year round. They offer full hookups along with an on-site dog groomer, wifi, restrooms, showers, and hot coffee.
Breckenridge, often affectionately referred to as Breck, has a rich history dating back to 1859 when gold miners entered the territory. Gold mining continued to be the main association with Breck for the next 100 years until the first trails for skiing were cut in 1961. Now Breck remains a hotspot for winter and summer activities alike.
Breckenridge Ski Resort
This highly rated resort is one of the most popular in the Vail and Breckenridge area. Breckenridge Ski Resort has five accessible peaks, all varying in difficulty. They always have a wide variety of events, and activities, such as high alpine skiing, ice skating, a scenic gondola ride, and an alpine rollercoaster.
Tiger Run Resort
Just a short drive from Breckenridge, Tiger Run Resort is a luxury RV resort that offers full hookups year round due to their heated water risers. Here, you can find a pool, hot tub, game room, laundry facilities, showers, and more. Be sure to reserve your spot in advance, as this park tends to fill quickly.
In 1874, the first settler, James Crawford, arrived in Steamboat Springs and built his homestead there because of the impressive mineral water and hot springs. Soon Crawford convinced several businessmen, and even a newspaperman, to move to the area as well. The first newspaper of the area, the Steamboat Pilot, began publication in 1885. By the early 1900s, James Crawford became the mayor and began building up the town to accommodate more residents. When the railroad arrived in 1909, ranchers turned the area into one of the largest cattle shipping areas in the West.
In the early 1910s, a Norwegian man named Carl Howelsen arrived and introduced skiing as a sport to the locals. Soon tourists began visiting the area for skiing, and the avid skiers began searching for more challenging terrain. Continuing with its trailblazing roots, Steamboat Springs continues to be a tourist destination for world-class winter sports each year.
Steamboat Ski Resort
This renowned resort has every winter activity imaginable from scenic gondola rides, to snowmobile tours, First Tracks runs, night skiing, sleigh rides, snowshoeing, tubing, and more. Steamboat Ski Resort also has a hotel on site and restaurants to enjoy after a day out on the trails.
Steamboat Springs KOA
Luckily this KOA is open year round so you can indulge in both summer and winter activities, while retiring to your RV. Steamboat Springs KOA offers full hookups, cable, wifi, a seasonal pool, mini golf, laundry, and a dog park, making this a comfortable choice to return to after a long day of hitting the slopes.
As you can see, Colorado continues to rank in the charts for the best U.S. skiing for many reasons. RV camping in this state can make the experience even more comfortable and memorable. Check out any of these beautiful mountain towns and corresponding campgrounds for a winter RV skiing trip you’re sure to never forget.
What’s your favorite Colorado ski town? Have you taken a ski trip in your RV? Tell us about it in the comments!
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