The Closest Snow Ski Resorts to Texas Worth Visiting This Winter
Ski lifts and après ski cocktails are closer than you might think.
In a state as big as Texas, we’re privileged to have some of the most diverse landscapes across our nearly 269,000 square miles of Lone Star greatness. Mountains, forests, lakes, oceans, canyons, deserts—all just a road trip away from nearly every major city. Yet even with all those activity-packed destinations, we somehow lost out on the ski resort lottery (unless climate change makes the Franklin Mountains in El Paso an option one day in the not-too-distant future).
Fortunately, air travel makes it possible to be on the slopes ready to ski or snowboard within a matter of hours. Even if you’re not into winter sports and après skiing and town exploration suit you better, picture-perfect winter wonderlands await. From neighboring New Mexico to Arizona, Colorado, and Utah, you can hop on a nonstop commercial flight from DFW or Love Field to a major airport within a short drive of all these winter parks. Or fly directly to popular ski towns, including Taos, Crested Butte, Aspen, and Denver/Boulder via semi-private, hop-on/hop-off service from Love Field on a JSX flight or aboard an Aero plane.
Read on for our top picks in the gorgeous southwest, think snowy thoughts, then bundle up for wintry adventures close enough to Texas to hit the slopes in record time.
Angel Fire, New Mexico
An impressive 81 trails await skiers and snowboards of all skill and experience levels, including newbies and adventure-seeking adrenaline junkies. The 10,677 peak elevation of Angel Fire Resort offers a gorgeous vantage point with mind-blowing views. The resort also boasts the only night skiing in New Mexico, which has to be one of the coolest cold-weather experiences. Off the slopes, sledding, tubing, and snowshoeing can also be enjoyed for non-skiers, as well as anyone wanting a change of sport for a few hours.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Albuquerque’s artistic sister to the north, Santa Fe, has the smallest ski resort on our list with 660 acres and 86 runs accessible by seven lifts. But what it lacks in size it makes up for in heart. Its friendly staff is one of the things Ski Santa Fe prides itself on most, so it’s an ideal spot for intimidated beginners to get their feet wet (but hopefully not frostbitten). Three webcams showcase the action.
Located on the western slope of Mount Humphreys (the tallest point in Arizona should you need that for any upcoming trivia nights), Arizona Snowbowl rises above the horizon north of Flagstaff. The skiable terrain covers a lucky 777 acres with 55 runs, the longest clocking in at two miles. The highest starting point sits 12,000 feet above sea level and can be accessed by foot, or take a lift to an only slightly lower 11,500-foot starting point. Ski season typically runs from November through late April with more than 260 feet of snowfall on average. Know before you go with a look-see at the webcams.
Ruidoso, New Mexico
Located just over 100 miles from the Texas border, the quaint resort town of Ruidoso is a great home base for winter adventurers, with accommodations including Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort & Casino, as well as numerous private cabins for rent. And a few miles away 12,000 feet up Sierra Blanca, Ski Apache is the closest ski resort to Texas from nearly anywhere in the state. It’s got 11 ski lifts granting skiers access to 55 runs on more than 750 acres of skiable terrain. Ski Apache may be smaller than most, but it’s also one of the most affordable options. Check out the live webcam for up-to-the-second conditions.
With four skiable mountains within its resort collection, including Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk, and Snowmass (the largest), you’ll find anything you desire in one destination. If you’re looking for low-key, easier-to-ski options (we’re looking at you, Buttermilk) or you prefer something a little wilder like Aspen Highlands, it’s easy to pick one resort or bounce around between the full quartet—all with a single lift ticket. Best of all, ski season here typically runs until mid-April, so you can enjoy bluebird days during less-crowded months. Sneak a peek at lots of peaks via their multiple webcams. Plus, Aero offers nonstop service direct to Aspen from Dallas Love Field.
Fly into nearly any major Colorado airport for access to Copper Mountain, celebrating a different element on the periodic table with its golden anniversary this year. Set a goal for the 12,441-foot summit—or any of the more than 140 trails in between—and enjoy an incredible 2,507 skiable acres. The longest trail down is a most-bang-for-your-buck 5K in length, but you can truly test your skill and endurance on 25 kilometers of cross-country skiing through the White River National Forest. Lodging can be found for as low as $100 per night in local rental properties, or book a stay in Copper Mountain’s first hotel, Element 29. Once you’ve decided where to stay, log into the webcams to get an idea of the snowy fun ahead.
Crested Butte, Colorado
Test your endurance on Crested Butte’s challenging 2.6-mile run, one of 121 different trails available to skiers and snowboarders. With more than 1,500 accessible acres and a peak elevation of 12,162 feet, it would take several days to explore everything the resort has to offer. Mountain cams keep you up-to-the-minute on weather conditions. Book a room at The Lodge at Mountaineer Square and you’ll only be 100 yards from the closest lift.
Taos, New Mexico
Meanwhile, back in the Land of Enchantment, another easy fly-in option can be found 133 miles outside of Albuquerque (a convenient nonstop option), but Taos Air (operating via JSX) has the most convenient access with direct flights from both Austin and Dallas. Taos is a magical historical town with numerous lodging options to suit any want or need, as well as multiple world-class restaurants to keep you well-fueled. Taos Ski Valley operates 14 lifts and a whopping 110 runs, including more than three dozen challenging Double Black Diamonds, making it a haven for expert skiers and snowboarders. Of course, you’ll find even more options for beginners and intermediate-level athletes, too. Catch a live look at the mountains right now and get to booking.
Deer Valley, Utah
Fly into Salt Lake City and you’ll have access to 10 nearby resorts, but Deer Valley Resort is one of our all-time faves—mainly because it limits the number of skiers on the mountain each day so you have the ultimate experience without crazy crowds. A total of 21 lifts take you to 103 groomed trails and seven bowls, with a variety of terrains suitable for everyone from the newest newbies to the most die-hard experts. Lodging in Deer Valley skews ultra-luxury, so it’s a wonderful place to visit for loads of pampering, including our go-to, Montage Deer Valley, and the glorious (hint, hint), 35,000-square-foot Spa Montage. Purchase your lift tickets in advance, then track the weather and view live cams as anticipation builds for your visit.
Steamboat Springs, Colorado
For 60 years, Steamboat Ski Resort has been welcoming locals and visitors from around the globe to its 170 trails spread out over 2,965 acres. One of Steamboat’s unique attributes is that it covers an entire mountain range with Mount Werner, Sunshine Peak, Storm Peak, Thunderhead Peak, Pioneer Ridge, and Christie Peak all within its borders. Spend some time watching the webcams and start making a bucket list of trails for your visit, whether you’re planning to ski, snowboard, or alternate between the two throughout your stay. Condos, townhomes, cabins, and hotels can be snagged at a wide range of price points for any budget. (Pro tip: always look for one with an outdoor hot tub for the true Steamboat experience.)
Winter Park, Colorado
The closest major mountain destination to Denver, Winter Park is where to go if you want to get on the slopes as fast as possible. The cold-weather paradise is set on 756,000 acres of public land (stop and ponder those numbers for a minute), 3,081 of which are set aside for skiing on 171 trails. Tubing, snowshoeing, SNO-GO ski biking, sunset guided tours (skiing and snowshoeing), and moonlit adventures add to the allure. Head over to the live mountain cams for a glimpse at what’s happening right now (unless you’re reading this at night).
Commemorate Telluride Ski Resort’s 50th anniversary this winter season with 360-degree views of the San Juan mountains, which boast the highest concentration of 13,000-14,000-foot peaks in the continental United States. Much of the terrain at Telluride trends toward rugged, expert-luring trails (including the Galloping Goose Double Green that meanders 4.6 miles down the mountain). Yet despite having much to appeal to the most advanced skiers and snowboarders among us, each of the 17 lifts offers a beginner-level run so people of varying skill levels can still ride up together and plan their après-ski adventures. And by now, you know the drill: webcams tell the latest story on the mountain.