We’ve already established San Juan as an excellent outdoors destination. With hundreds of miles of hiking trails, several canoeing opportunities, and seemingly limitless outdoor exploration, this is a perfect place to spend time reconnecting with nature. We’ve also established San Juan as a great ski destination; both Telluride Ski Resort and Hesperus Mountain are within the National Forest, providing options for both big resort skiers and lovers of smaller, local mountains. This versatility is what, for us, makes San Juan the premier skiing destination in Colorado. We know, it’s not exactly down the road from big-name resorts like Breckenridge and Vail, but this part of the state should be at the top of every skier’s list. Here’s why.

  • You’ll save money. Large ski resorts near Boulder and Denver know that, regardless of price, they’ll draw a crowd. That’s why a three-day adult pass, at the window, will cost $564 at Breckenridge and $624 at Vail. The two San Juan ski resorts, Telluride and Hesperus, are significantly less expensive; Telluride costs $399 for a three-day adult pass, and Hesperus charges just $117 for three days. Don’t believe us? Compare lift ticket rates and see what you find.
  • You’ll be skiing in a national forest. Okay, so most of Colorado’s ski resorts are located in National Forests. But San Juan is special. Close to Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona, skiers at both Telluride and Hesperus Mountain should be able to glimpse at least one other state from the summit. San Juan is also the second-largest national forest in the state with very little development in the surrounding areas it looks out to the Ute Mountain Reservation to the south and the Rio Grande National Forest to the East.
  • Renting is more affordable. The ski resorts in San Juan offer less expensive lift tickets. They also provide cheaper rates for rental equipment. Use a ski rental calculator to see just how much money you’ll save by skiing and renting in this part of the state.
  • You have options. In the northern part of Colorado, the only available skiing options are large, crowded resorts. You’ll inevitably spend hundreds of dollars to ski there, waiting in lift lines for hours. Conversely, San Juan offers two entirely separate skiing experience. Telluride provides big resort amenities without the cost and crowd, and Hesperus facilitates a local, more down-to-earth skiing community—perfect for beginners, travelers on a budget, or those just looking to explore San Juan National forest.