Just 50 miles from Denver, below the Continental Divide and straddling Interstate 70, is a mega-resort that feels more like a local’s hill. Loveland Ski Area sprawls over 1,670 acres above the Eisenhower Tunnel, offering some of the best above-timberline skiing in Colorado. In fact, most of the ski area is above timberline. But there’s an amazing variety of terrain up here, and intermediate skiers will enjoy cruising through some of the less-steep aspects. For the expert, the sky is the limit. There’s even a free snowcat to take you high above the lift-served terrain (just be sure to get an extra pass at the ticket office beforehand.) And despite the proximity to Denver, Loveland is spread out enough that it rarely feels crowded. So no matter your skill level, get up there above timberline and slay the Rockies at Loveland. And did we mention that with a season from October to May, only Arapahoe Basin boasts a longer season.
“I was sick, I told my editor on the phone. No, it had nothing to do with the big snow. That business taken care of, I drove from Colorado Springs to Denver and on to Loveland. I only drive I-70 to ski on weekdays because of the heinous weekend traffic. And who do I meet in the lift line but my editor, who had apparently also come down with a sudden illness. We did some runs and laughed about the coincidence – and never spoke of it again. Nobody ever said on their deathbed, “I wish I had worked more and skied less.”
- To experience the true beauty of this ski area (and keep finding untracked snow) try working your way clockwise around the mountain. You’ll wind up on 8 Chair, from which it’s an easy walk in the tunnel under the interstate to reach the base area for lunch or après ski cocktails.
- If the snowcat is running, pick up your free ticket before heading up the mountain. It’s a long way down back to the ticket office from the cat if you didn’t.
- Bring a camera. Loveland boasts some of the most stunning views of any ski area, especially from 9 Chair, which deposits skiers at 12,700 feet atop the Continental Divide.
Recommended season(s): October to May.
—R. Scott Rappold