Posted on 03 Jul 2020

How to choose the best ski resort when planning your ski vacation

It’s a question we get asked all the time, “how do you choose the best ski resort for your ski vacation?”. And while the question is straightforward, the answer is not.

At first glance, Colorado ski resorts have plenty of similarities, great snow, fun black diamonds, smooth groomers, apres-ski hangouts, high-speed chairlifts, vacation homes with hot tubs, ski and snowboard schools, and beautiful mountain views.

Despite the obvious similarities, the personality of each ski resort is as distinct as the snowflakes that blanket us all.

There are ski resorts that are famous for their steeps and others that are famous for their celebrities. There are ski resorts that are loved by fancy foodies and those that have the best shopping and nightlife. Some cater exclusively to families and others appeal more to thrill-seekers.

With a total of 26 Colorado ski resorts to choose from, only a handful of high-end resorts consistently outrank the rest in the most important ski vacation categories (including chocolate chip cookies!). Our favorites? Steamboat, Vail, and Beaver Creek.

And while these notorious best of the West ski resorts can help narrow your choice, the decision between the three isn’t all that easy.

When we look at the deep powder and the genuine friendliness of the people of Steamboat or the incredible diversity and scale of terrain at Vail or the “no detail is overlooked” luxury experience of Beaver Creek, it’s certainly hard for us to choose between the three! It’s like asking us to pick our favorite child.  

With these epic options, the best way to ensure a perfect ski mountain match is to assess your vacation priorities ahead of time (either that or just roll the dice and, rest assured, you will have a fabulous time at any of these resorts).



Vail has it all. It’s considered the flagship resort of Colorado and the leader of the global ski industry. Vail is always raising the bar and setting new standards on adventure, fun, and convenience. From its EpixMixx app to its completely overhauled state-of-the-art snowmaking, Vail represents the gold standard in skiing.

What we love about Vail is the diversity of the Vail experience - it’s huge! From a wide variety of terrain that spans the gamut of extreme steeps to over 11 kid adventure parks, Vail appeals to a broad audience.

You can easily plan either a guy or gal’s ski getaway or a multi-generation family reunion and no one will be disappointed. Plus, Vail’s Tyrolean-inspired pedestrian-friendly village boasts the most epic nightlife, stellar shopping, and some beautiful spas to round-out the amazing ski experience.

Beaver Creek

Beaver Creek Ice Rink

If you’re choosing your ski resort based on the best chocolate chip cookie, no doubt that award goes to Beaver Creek. Its infamous free hot cookies served up by the dozen on silver platters to returning skiers at the end of the day is a favorite experience for fun-seeking families. Beaver Creek is the kind of top-notch resort that thinks of amenities you never knew you needed. 

Beaver Creek Cookie

From its postcard-perfect village skating rink to its decadent on-mountain dining, Beaver Creek’s mission is for you to feel as pampered as possible in a pair of ski boots. They also go to great lengths to ensure that their snow grooming is absolutely immaculate. 

The mountain village is thoughtfully connected by heated sidewalks and escalators so tired legs don’t have to work too hard off the slopes. The entire town is also accessible via Beaver Creek’s extensive free shuttle system. 

Families who want a quiet, lavish, luxury ski vacation that goes well above their expectations bring the brood to Beaver Creek. And for those families looking for a livelier experience here and there can have the best of both worlds as Vail is just a short drive away.


Steamboat Springs Barn

Even though it’s always in the top 10 of best ski resorts in the country, Steamboat’s still that best-kept ski town secret. Those in the know figured out that Steamboat is definitely Mother Nature’s favorite child.

It’s the home of the world-famous Champagne Powder®, with snow so legendary, they had to have it trademarked. And while Beaver Creek has cornered the end of ski day chocolate chip cookie market, Steamboat toasts your adventures at 3 pm with a Champagne Powder® donut hole.

Steamboat has a family-friendly, down-to-earth, real town atmosphere. It hasn’t lost its cowboy roots as evidenced by unique and hilarious events like the annual Cowboy Downhill. And while the town’s history and heritage are much older than the ski resort, it’s obvious that skiing is in Steamboat’s bones. With more winter Olympians than any other city in the world, Steamboat continues to live up to its Ski Town, U.S.A.® moniker.

While it’s a true ski town and a throwback to the Wild West, don’t let its casual cowboy town reputation fool you, you won’t have to stay in a saloon or a stable. In fact, our Steamboat portfolio offers luxurious vacation homes whose amenities range from private hot tubs to home theaters or even a private indoor basketball court, rivaling the most coveted homes in elite resort areas. And the restaurant renaissance of the last decade has caught the attention and taste buds of foodies everywhere.

You truly can’t go wrong with any of these resorts. And they are all easy to get to because steamboat, Vail, and Beaver Creek all have unmatched access with coveted airline connections and extensive nonstop flights from major metropolitan hubs around the country. 

With just 139 days left until ski season officially begins, it’s time to start planning where you want to ski the trees, rack up the vertical, play in the powder, relax at the spa, and have the best family-friendly ski school options.

If you still can’t decide where to spend your 2020/2021 ski vacation, speak with one of our guest services agents and we’ll find the perfect match for your most memorable Moving Mountains vacation. 

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