Ready to go after landing in Aspen. (Aspen-Pitkin County Airport/Facebook)
This season, it will be easier than ever to hop on a plane and head for where the powder is freshest in Colorado.
A half-dozen airports near ski and snowboard resorts continue to ramp up their winter service, linking some 18 cities in the flatlands to the high-mountain reaches of the Colorado Rockies. Airlines fine-tune their winter schedules to catch the most traffic, with Friday-Sunday flights most popular.
Obviously, Denver is the most popular jumping-off point. But winter enthusiasts from Dallas can get to all six regional airports near Steamboat, Vail, Aspen, Telluride, Crested Butte, Powderhorn and Purgatory.
The busiest winter landing strips are Aspen-Pitkin County Airport that sits just below the Aspen-Snowmass complex, and Eagle County Regional Airport, which serves Vail, Beaver Creek and Summit County resorts. At Aspen, United alone runs 20-25 flights a day – nine from Denver and 15 from other cities. Vail remains the busiest winter tarmac, with nearly 40 flights (excluding Denver connections) on any weekend day.
Over the years, Steamboat has pushed hard to get skiers and riders into Yampa Valley Regional Airport at nearby Hayden. This season, four airlines will regularly fly from 14 cities to the northern Rockies resort – with half of them arriving and departing daily.
After failing to fill up the schedule at the Telluride airstrip just outside of town, the southwestern Colorado resort has turned to Montrose Regional Airport for the bulk of its air travelers. It’s a 68-mile drive to Telluride slopes. Silverton Mountain benefits, too.
Crested Butte’s air travel program continues to be solid out of nearby Gunnison, with five daily flights from Dallas, Houston and Denver. Durango-La Plata County airport bring skiers and ‘boarders from Texas, while the airport in Grand Junction has popped up as an alternative to get to Aspen, Powderhorn, Sunlight and the Glenwood Springs area.