Many people make the trip from Denver up into the Rocky Mountains in the winter for snowboarding and skiing. Mountains close to Denver are some of the best places to snowboard in Colorado. If you are riding one of the amazing resorts like Loveland, Vail Mountain, Copper Mountain, Winter Park, Keystone, Breckenridge, Arapahoe Basin, or any other resort not far from Denver that offers some of the best riding, you are bound to have to make the haul up I-70 into the mountains at least once each direction. Lots of people use this route to access the mountains, so a little planning ahead can go a long way. Weekend Warriors and other snowboarders that live in Denver make the commute frequently to score some of the goods, as well as travelers from all over arrive at Denver Airport to visit and ride our wonderful mountains. This highway can get quite busy and cause some delays when getting to where you want to go. Here are some different tips that can help save you time and help make it the best ride day or vacation that you can!
Take a Factory Tour and demo a snowboard
One of the coolest things about being in Denver before going to the mountains is checking out the Never Summer Industries Factory. We are a Colorado snowboard company with all of our snowboards made right here in the USA. Located in the Aurora/Park Hill neighborhood of Denver, The Never Summer Factory is just west of the airport on the way up to the mountains and offers tours, demos, a retail shop, and an incredible team of experts to help you select the right board for you. Taking a factory tour is an awesome time and a great way to get more educated about the process of how the highest performing snowboards are built. You will get to see and learn about each step that goes into building a snowboard and see how the materials and construction enhance the ride of a Never Summer snowboard. Our staff are full of knowledge and stoked to answer all of your questions. Tours are free and open to the public, all we ask is that you book your tour in advance on our website. Book a Factory Tour here. After taking a snowboard factory tour, check out the shop and redeem some of your rewards turns or get yourself dialed on the perfect board. We also offer demos if you’re not sure what snowboard you want to buy yet. This is a great way to learn what snowboard is perfect for you or if you’re looking to add something special to your quiver.
Tips for getting to the mountains efficiently as possible
There are many little things that you can prepare for in advance to make getting to the mountains from Denver as efficient and as easily as possible. I-70 can get pretty wild at certain times of the year. Just check out @i70things on Instagram. Things like leaving early or late in both directions, choosing the right days to go snowboarding or skiing, having the proper vehicle, and other factors can all help you have a better snowboarding experience.
A big factor when driving in missing traffic when heading up I-70 West is leaving Denver early in the morning. Leaving by 6AM instead of 8AM can make a massive difference on the i70 west. Especially if you are weekend warrior or prefer to ski weekends, getting on the road early means beating traffic and beating traffic means getting the best turns of the morning. On holiday weekends, it can be beneficial to leave even as early as 5AM or 6AM to get to the mountain. Just as leaving from Denver early to beat traffic, it is good to plan on leaving the resort before 3PM or after 8PM. The traffic between the mountains and Denver on i70 East can get pretty crazy too between 3-8PM (sometimes can even be longer). An easy way to wait out traffic is to stop for dinner before leaving or something just off of 70 like Eagle, Frisco, Silverthorne, Georgetown, or Idaho Springs. All have some amazing restaurants and experiences you need to check out sometime. A great way to avoid traffic all together is to ride on weekdays instead of weekends. If you have the possibility of riding on weekdays, it is the best and you have to try it just to experience it. Traffic also loosens up in the Spring, when people in Denver are doing other sports like golf and mountain biking. It’s also typically less crowded on the slopes and you can look forward to big spring time dumps or bluebird days for snow surfing in some super fun slush snow. It is also a great time for slopeside live music, pond skims, banked slalom races and other great events, like the Neverland Banked Slalom. April and May are truly great months to shred in Colorado. These events are super fun and we help host lots of them including free snowboard demos. Check out our events page to find one near you (we do some mid week for all of you that want to avoid the crowds). Click here to see our events page.
Colorado’s snowboard season usually goes from mid/late October to May. This varies for all of the mountains, but you can expect to find at least one resort to ride close to Denver between these months. People also find snow all summer to hike to and ride in the summer months, you just have to want to earn your turns. A good thing to note is that if you are driving in between Denver and the mountains between September 1st and May 31st that it is important to have a good vehicle for snowy conditions like an All Wheel Drive (AWD) or Four Wheel Drive (4WD) vehicle with snow tires. As well as a good vehicle, Colorado requires good tires with their new Traction Law. This includes an option of 4WD or AWD vehicle and 3/16” tread depth, tires with a mud and snow designation (M+S icon) and 3/16” tread depth , winter tires (mountain-snowflake icon) and 3/16” tread depth, tires with an all-weather rating by the manufacturer and 3/16” tread depth, or chains or an approved alternative traction device. The roads do get gnarly in Colorado at times, so a combination of these things is your best option.
If you don’t have a good vehicle to make it to the mountain, there are a few different options to get your skiing in. Denver's Regional Transportation District (RTD) has multiple bus routes that provide different routes to the mountains, including popular resorts like Loveland, Winter Park, Keystone, Breckenridge, Vail, and Beaver Creek. RTD will get you up to the various resort towns, and these towns have local bus routes to get you around from there. Another option is to look into shuttles from Denver to the mountains that resorts offer on their own. For Epic resorts, they offer a shuttle service called Epic Mountain Express. Winter Park Ski Train runs between Denver and Winter Park Resort on weekends and holidays during the shred season, and offers a free shuttle service to and from the train station to get you on the hill. An easy google of “shuttle from Denver to (whatever mountain)” can help get you dialed in with an option like that. Taking a rideshare option like Uber or Lyft is a possible option but these can be costly. The final option would be to look into a 3rd party bus service like Bustang.
Tips for snowboarders or skiers that live in Denver
If you live in Denver and visit the mountains frequently to ride, getting a locker at your favorite place to ride is a great way to save time. Lockers vary in price and size at every mountain, but getting one with enough room for all your gear can really speed up your morning process by not having to get everything ready and in the car before leaving your home. Lockers are available at Keystone Resort, Breckenridge Resort, Winter Park Resort, Copper Mountain, and Arapahoe Basin are just a few to name. If you forget something at home that is easy like a balaclava for under your helmet or a snowboard beanie, check out local shops so you don't have to turn around and run back home! (Check out our store locator) If you’re someone that lives in Denver and only goes up a couple times a year, renting or demoing a snowboard is a great option, depending on the time of the season, you can rent from many local shops in Denver and in the mountains. On Holidays and weekends, we recommend getting your rentals in advance a day before heading up the hill, or if it is a weekday, a local shop near the resort is your best bet.
Tips for snowboarders or skiers that are flying into Denver International Airport (DIA)
The ideal time of year to fly to Colorado is normally between mid-December to mid-April if you want to go snowboarding. The best snow conditions for snowboarding are often experienced around this time at Colorado mountain resorts. Depending on weather patterns and other variables, prime time can change from year to year. When making travel plans, it's a good idea to research the snow conditions at the resort you are visiting and weather forecast to be ready for the possibility of unforeseen changes in conditions. Check websites like On The Snow for ski resort reports and snow forecasts. It is best to visit Colorado during the non-holiday season and midweek. This will allow you to avoid crowds for the most part and get the most runs while you’re visiting. Visiting during non-peak weekends and weekdays, you will also save money on travel.
If you rent a car, book a car (4WD or AWD) that fits the qualifications talked about in the section above. This could save you a massive headache, a car accident, or something else that could ruin your vacation. A shuttle could be a better option depending on your lodging situation and the mountain resort that you are visiting.If you have any questions or want to schedule a Factory Tour or Demo, please Contact Us