Whether you’ve skied in Colorado your entire life or it’s your first season using Vail Resort’s Epic Pass, you probably haven’t heard of these local ski areas. Most of these ski areas are affordable and perfect for beginners, often defying the norm of expensive lift tickets and touristy feels. They’re also ideal for the after-work rider looking to make a couple of evening turns.

RELATED: The Ultimate Guide to Colorado’s Ski Resorts

1. Chapman Ski Hill

Chapman Ski Area Lift Matt Morrissey OutThere Colorado
Photo Credit: Matt Morrissey

Location: Durango, Colorado

Located down the hill from Fort Lewis College, this little ski area offers two rope-tows, ski and snowboard lessons, a warming hut, and an ice rink. During non-lift hours, the public has free access to walk up and ski or board down hill. During lift hours, a small fee is required to used the tows. The slope is lit for night skiers during the evening hours. Chapman Ski Hill remains open as long as there’s enough snow to ride.

Lift Operating Hours:

Monday-Friday: 3pm-7:30pm

Sat/Sun: 11am-5pm

Full Day Pass Price:

Youth (4-5 yrs): $5

Children (6-17 yrs): $10

Adult (18-59 yrs): $12

Senior (60+ yrs): $4

2. Hesperus Ski Area

Location: Durango, Colorado

Hesperus Ski Area, situated 11 miles outside of Durango, is a local’s hideout with one operating chairlift and 26 trails covering 60 acres. It’s most popular for night skiing but also has tubing, ski and snowboard lessons, rentals, and a lodge available. If you have a ski bike with a retention device, you can ride up the lift and cruise down the hill. Discounted ticket prices are available for night skiing and half day skiing on Sundays.

Lift Operating Hours:

Mondays: 2pm–9pm.

Tuesday–Friday: 4pm–9pm.

Saturdays: 9am–9pm.

Sundays: 9am–4pm.

Full Day Pass Price:

Youth (<6 yrs): FREE

Children (7-12 yrs): $28

Teen (13-20 yrs): $33

Adult (21-59 yrs): $39

Senior (60-69 yrs): $33

Senior (70+ yrs): FREE

*4th graders ask for the ski FREE Every Day deal and 5th and 6th graders ask about the Passport Program at the ticket window

*Ski Hesperus is currently closed for chairlift safety issues. It’s expected to reopen by the end of the month, March 2017.

3. Lee’s Ski Hill

Location: Ouray, Colorado

Only open in the afternoons and free to the public, Lee’s one rope-tow ski hill is great for young kids and beginners. From the top of the rope-tow, you have 75-vertical feet to ride down. Lee’s Ski Hill is open based on the snow conditions, typically from mid-December to late February.  After a few hours on the hill, soak in the warm waters of the nearby Ouray Hot Springs.

Lift Operating Hours:

Monday-Friday: 3:30pm-5pm

Weekends and Holidays: 12pm-5pm

Full Day Pass Price:


RELATED: North America’s Highest Ski Lift

4. Kendall Mountain Ski Area

Location: Silverton, Colorado

Located at the edge of Silverton, Kendall Mountain Ski Area is an affordable destination to ski and ride. One double chairlift takes you to the top of 4 runs with a 240 foot vertical drop. In addition to skiing, Kendall Mountain offers several other recreational activities for families to enjoy such as snowshoeing trails, a sledding hill, cross country and backcountry skiing, and an ice skating rink. The ski area provides rental services for all the activities they provide.

Lift Operating Hours:

Friday-Sunday: 11am-4pm

Full Day Pass Price:

Youth (<6 yrs): FREE

Kids: $17

Adults: $25

Seniors: $17

5. Lake City Ski Hill

Location: Lake City, Colorado

The small town of Lake City owns and operates the Lake City Ski Hill. The ski hill runs one Poma platter lift up to an elevation of 8,600 feet and has seven runs and a little terrain park. If you don’t own ski or snowboard gear, Lake City Ski Hill provides rental gear, on a first-come first-serve basis, for no additional cost!  Weather permitting, the ski hill is open from mid-December to mid-March.

Lift Operating Hours:

Hours Vary, typically Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Weekends 10am-2pm

Full Day Pass Price:

Children (17 and under): $10 (rental equipment included)

Adults (18+ yrs): $20 (rental equipment included)

6. Cranor Ski Hill

Location: Gunnison, Colorado

Though originally privately owned, Cranor Ski Hill was sold to the city of Gunnison and opened to the public in 1966 under the condition that it would always be operated as a ski area. The Cranor Ski Hill sits on 45 acres and has a single Poma platter. There are four runs available varying in difficulty and a lodge at the base that offers concession items for purchase. Poor snow conditions around the Cranor Ski Hill Area often force the hill to forgo opening at all for the season, or result in late start or early end to the season.

Lift Operating Hours:

Weekends: 10am-4:30pm, & some Fridays 4pm-6pm

Full Day Pass Price:

Youth (<5 yrs): FREE

Children (5-16 yrs): $10

Adult (17-61 yrs): $15

Senior (62+ yrs): FREE

BONUS: Cimarron Mountain Club

Location: Between Gunnison and Montrose

This one’s not cheap, but it is another Colorado ski hill. Tucked in the Cimarron Range of the San Juan Mountains, the Cimarron Mountain Club is a private ski area with over 1,000 skiable areas of virtually untouched terrain. With over 60 runs of beginner to advanced terrain, the Cimarron Mountain Club tops Aspen Mountain in size. Don’t get your hopes up about skiing or riding these slopes, they’re only open to Cimarron Mountain Club property owners.

Lift Operating Hours:
No lifts are available, but club residents and their guests receive unlimited access to snowcat and guided skiing and options to heli-ski for an additional cost.


To ski the terrain, you have to be one of only 12 property owners (or a family friend) of the Cimarron Mountain Club. Each property ranges in price  from $2.7-3.85 million, in addition to paying annual dues between $50,000 and $90,000.

RELATED: More about Cimarron Mountain Club

***Prices and hours of operation were accurate as of publishing date.

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