The Blue Mesa Reservoir is an excellent destination regardless of season. Whether you prefer the beautifully blue waters of summer or the snow-peaked mountains of winter, you’ll find a great vacation spot in and around Gunnison and the greater Reservoir area. To that end, the area has several fantastic ski resorts; with more than 200 bluebird days each year and guaranteed fresh snow, you don’t want to miss out on this great winter opportunity.
Crested Butte Mountain Resort—As one of the most popular ski resorts in Colorado, Crested Butte offers great riding and a wonderful little ski town. The resort is well-known for extreme ski and snowboard terrain, priding itself on being a laid-back and down-to-earth resort. With 472 skiable hectares and a nearly 3,000-foot vertical drop, this is a great destination for thrill-seekers.
Monarch Mountain—A relatively uncrowded mountain, Monarch Ski Resort boasts plenty of powder and a laid-back attitude. This is an excellent option for an affordable family vacation—lift tickets, food, ski rentals, lessons, and accommodations are relatively inexpensive, and the small resort (324 hectares) makes keeping track of the family very easy. If you want something a bit more challenging, expert skiers and riders can take the short hike to Mirkwood Basin for steep bowls, chutes, trees, and cliffs.
Aspen Snowmass—Aspen is one of Colorado’s most infamous resorts. With world-class facilities and plenty of snow, this resort draws skiers and riders from around the world. Aspen Snowmass is made up of four separate ski resorts within a 10-mile radius, and each is covered by the same lift ticket. Though glamorous as far as skiing experiences go, the trails have a great variety of options for skiers of all levels.
Ski Cooper—This small, family-friendly resort is a favorite among Blue Mesa Reservoir visitors. Its affordability and generous beginner terrain make it an excellent option for those just getting their mountain legs. Additionally, Ski Cooper is one of the oldest ski resorts in Colorado, providing history-lovers with an added benefit.
Rainbow Lake—While in the area, don’t miss out on a wonderful Nordic skiing opportunity! The Rainbow Lake trail begins at the Blue Mesa Reservoir and follows Forest Road 724. With a gentle ascent, the trail approaches the East Fork of Dry Creek, passing by small beaver ponds, dams and huts. Skiers will also enjoy several small up and downhill ridges, wildlife viewing opportunities, and several turn-around options.