Aspen-Pitkin County Airport United Airplane Winter

Fly Directly to these Colorado Ski Resorts with Airports Nearby

While Denver International Airport resides relatively close to the Rocky Mountains, you’re still well over an hour to the closest ski resort. Some people prefer to fly directly to their destination, so choosing a ski resort with an airport nearby is crucial.

There are several ski areas in Colorado that have a regional airport located close, within a forty-five-minute drive. Some of these regional airports might even have a direct flight from your departure city, bypassing Denver International completely, and probably saving funds. Other times you’ll still land in Denver, before boarding again.

Numerous benefits exist to flying into one of these local airports and closer to the ski resort of your dreams. Aside from not having to worry about renting a car (unless you want to), you’ll in no way have to venture on Colorado’s infamous stretch of Interstate-70 ski traffic between Denver and Summit County.

Denver International Airport is the best bet for the ski resorts in Summit County, as well as Winter Park, Granby Ranch, Echo Mountain, and Eldora Mountain Resort. In all other resorts, there is always a closer airport. If flying into D.I.A., at least you can pay for a shuttle driver and relax on your way to most of the bigger resorts near Denver.

Here are the ski resorts in Colorado with airports nearby, in order of proximity:

Aspen – Aspen-Pitkin County Airport (ASE)

Aspen-Pitkin County Airport United Airplane WinterUnited airplane at Aspen-Pitkin County Airport in Aspen, CO. Photo: redlegsfan21

Only a mile and less than 5 minutes of driving will have you from Aspen’s regional airport to its closest ski area, Buttermilk. The other Aspen ski resorts aren’t much further away: 3 miles/8 minutes to Aspen Highlands, 4 miles/11 minutes to Aspen Mountain, and 6 miles/13 minutes to Snowmass.

You’re only looking at about a 10-minute drive to reach your downtown Aspen accommodation too, and then a possible walk to the slopes. The same goes for Snowmass Village.

The Aspen-Pitkin County Airport has 10 destinations it flights to and from throughout the country. So their flight network casts wide coverage for those preferring direct access to the ski slopes. While Denver isn’t as blessed as Salt Lake City with its local ski slopes, Aspen’s local airport literally lands you in between 4 world-class ski resorts. Have fun with more time for the slopes and your apres ski party.

Aspen Mountain Bonnie's Restaurant View from Ajax Express ChairliftAspen Mountain and Bonnie’s Restaurant from Ajax Express chairlift. Photo: Matt Ryall

2022-23 Winter direct nonstop flight schedule to ASE:

*Chicago–O’Hare (ORD)
*Phoenix–Sky Harbor (PHX)
*Houston–Intercontinental (IAH)
*San Francisco (SFO)
Colorado Springs (COS)
Denver (DEN)
Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW)
Atlanta (ATL)
Los Angeles (LAX)
*winter only, others year-round

Telluride – Telluride Regional Airport (TEX)

Telluride Regional Airport WinterWinter at Telluride Regional Airport. Photo:

Not to be outdone by Aspen, Telluride too, boasts its own local airport. The much smaller, Telluride Regional Airport only offers year-round nonstop flights to/from Denver International via Denver Air Connection. It sure beats the heck out of the 6-10 hour drive, weather pending to get there. It’s located in the town only 5 miles to the west of downtown Telluride.

A better option to bypass Denver International could be via Montrose Regional Airport (MTJ). Located only 1.5 hours from Telluride, it’s a much larger airport. It has nonstop flights from throughout the USA, so it’s easy to catch a connecting flight into Montrose. Rent a car or take a shuttle, and maybe stop by Orvis Hot Springs on the way.

2,000 skiable acres of expansive and diverse terrain will be your playground. Telluride Ski Resort rises out of downtown Telluride (along with its free gondola) passing by Mountain Village on the way. This is a separate base village area, adding to the uniqueness and exploratory nature of Telluride.

Telluride Ski Resort Palmyra PeakPalmyra Peak at Telluride Ski Resort. Photo: mobil’homme

2022-23 Winter direct nonstop flight schedule to TEX:

Denver International Airport (DEN)

2022-23 Winter direct nonstop flight schedule to MTJ:

Atlanta, GA (ATL)
Austin, TX (AUS)
Chicago (ORD)
*Dallas/Fort Worth, TX (DFW)
*Denver International Airport, CO (DEN)
Houston, TX (IAH)
Los Angeles, CA (LAX)
New York, NY (EWR)
Phoenix, AZ (PHX)
San Francisco, CA (SFO)
*year-round, others are winter only

Steamboat’s Yampa Valley Regional Airport (HDN)

Yampa Valley Regional Airport Sign Hayden ColoradoYampa Valley Regional Airport in Hayden, CO. Photo: Jeffrey Beall

Located about 40 minutes/28 miles west of Steamboat Ski Resort, the Yampa Valley Regional Airport serves up quick access to the finest champagne powder in the state. It’s the gateway to Northwest Colorado, providing access in 30 minutes or less to downtown Steamboat Springs, as well as Craig in the opposite direction.

Located 3 miles east of Hayden, you probably won’t enter this sleepy little gem if heading direct to the slopes (as most are). You’ll definitely want to base in The Boat and hit up one of its bubbly hot springs.

Hayden’s airport provides a wide array of nonstop flights from throughout the country. Schedule a shuttle to pick you up and you’ll be shredding The Boat’s 2,965 skiable acres in time.

Steamboat Ski Resort Winter ViewSteamboat Ski Resort view from Squirrel’s tent -5 degrees. Photo by: Squirrel

2022-23 Winter direct nonstop flight schedule to HDN:

Atlanta, GA (ATL)
Boston, MA (BOS)
Chicago, IL (ORD)
Dallas/Ft.Worth, TX (DFW)
Dallas Love, TX (DAL)
Denver, CO (DEN)
Fort Lauderdale, FL (FLL)
Houston, TX (IAH)
Los Angeles, CA (LAX)
Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN (MSP)
Nashville, TN (BNA)
Newark, NJ (EWR)
New York, NY (JFK)
San Diego, CA (SAN)
San Francisco, CA (SFO)
Seattle, WA (SEA)
Washington Dulles (IAD)

Beaver Creek & Vail’s Eagle Co Regional Airport (EGE)

Eagle County Regional Airport United Airlines Plane LandingUnited Airlines coming in to land at Eagle County Regional Airport. Photo: Bryce Bradford

Naturally, Colorado’s other two ritzy ski resorts, Vail and Beaver Creek also boast an airport nearby, the Eagle County Regional Airport. In 30 minutes (28 miles) heading east from the airport in Gypsum, you can arrive in Beaver Creek Village, ready to take on the resort. Just another 7 minutes and 5 miles further west on I-70 would have gotten you to Vail’s luxurious villages.

As far as mountain towns go, they are each nice, alpine villages striving for that picturesque setting, which lands on a bit of Disney theme park ambiance. The town of Avon directly off the highway acts as a gateway to Beaver Creek Village, providing even more accommodations, dining, and things to do.

Edwards is even closer to the airport than Avon and also provides chairlift access to access Beaver Creek Resort.

Both mountains are on the same pass, so you can plan on venturing to either ski resort: Beaver Creek or Vail. The terrain is epic at both places, with so much for everybody of all levels. Do a powder dance the night before and prey you dumped on because you’ll have the conditions of a lifetime. To the back bowls!

Beaver Creek Ski Resort TrailsSki trails at Beaver Creek Resort. Photo: Dave Herholz

2022-23 Winter direct nonstop flight schedule to EGE:

Denver, CO — *Denver International Airport (DEN)
DFW, TX — *Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW)
DFW, TX — Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)
Washington DC — Dulles International Airport (IAD)
Houston, TX — George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH)
Atlanta, GA — Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)
Queens, NY — John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)
Queens, NY — LaGuardia Airport (LGA) – New York City
Los Angeles, CA — Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
Miami, FL — Miami International Airport (MIA)
Newark, NJ — Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)
Chicago, IL — O’Hare International Airport (ORD)
Phoenix, AZ — Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX)
Salt Lake City, UT — Salt Lake International Airport (SLC)
San Francisco, CA — San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
*year-round flights, the rest are winter only

Purgatory’s Durango-La Plata County Airport (DRO)

Durango-La Plata County Airport Colorado InteriorDurango-La Plata County Airport in Durango, CO. Photo: Austin Flynn

The thrilling ski slopes of Purgatory Resort await only 50 minutes/41 miles north of Durango-La Plata County Airport. You’ll pass through downtown Durango on the way, which sits only 20 minutes/14 miles northwest of the airport. This makes the best base as you’ll have access to probably the largest mountain town in the state, with around 20,000 people.

Because of its world-class narrow gauge railroad and surrounding adventure found within the San Juans, Durango is loaded with tourist-serving restaurants, shops, and lodging. You can also shack up at the base of the ski resort, 30 minutes north, and seclude yourself away from the minor bustle. Purgatory’s 1,635 skiable acres will keep all levels entertained and mesmerized at the surrounding panoramas.

Purgatory Resort Durango Blue Sky DayBlue bird day at Purgatory Resort.

2022-23 Winter direct nonstop flight schedule to DRO:

Dallas/Fort Worth

Crested Butte’s Gunnison-CB Regional Airport (GUC)

Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport Terminal SignGunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport in Gunnison, Colo. Photo: Orschstaffer

From Gunnison’s airport, less than a forty-five-minute drive (30 miles) will land you at the base of Crested Butte Mountain Resort. It’s a fun laid-back ski area in the center of the Rockies. It’s a pretty big resort too, at just over 1500 skiable acres. For terrain, Crested Butte has a lot of long, fast cruisers, some beginner runs, and a good mix of expert skiing.

CB has both a mountain village and historic downtown. The two are about 5 minutes apart, with free shuttles running daily. You’ll pass through downtown Gunnison on the way, which provides more affordable and additional accommodations. Monarch Mountain also comes into play for those staying in Gunny, 45 minutes east.

The town of CB  has both a cool historic downtown and a separate mountain village, connected by a 5-minute bus ride.

The Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport has just a few winter flight destinations. Dallas is a big hub for American Airlines, so this could play well for people living anywhere south of Colorado, as DFW is a convenient airport to fly into. United operates year-round flights out of Houston too. But it’s always easy to fly into Denver International if required, with daily departing flights to Gunny all year.

Crested Butte Ski Trail Powder DayPowder day at Crested Butte. Photo: Rich Whitlow

2022-23 Winter direct nonstop flight schedule to GUC:

Denver International Airport (DEN)
Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH)
*Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW)
*winter-only flight, others are year-round

Powderhorn’s Grand Junction Regional Airport (GJT)

Grand Junction Regional Airport SignGrand Junction Regional Airport in Grand Junction, CO. Photo: Road Travel America

Only 45 minutes drive (38 miles) east of Grand Junction Regional Airport arrives at the stunning ski slopes on Grand Mesa. Often completely forgotten by Coloradoans living on the front range, the trails at Powderhorn are long, rolling, and with dry, western snow. The resort added a high-speed detachable chair lift to their game, the quad Flat Top Flyer high. So you’ll reach its 1600 skiable acres faster!

Powderhorn Mountain Resort gets about 250 inches of light snow each year. They’ve also upped their game in the 2019-20 season when they began phase one of the Tiny Homes at Powderhorn. You can stay at the mountain base in a townhome, available during the season for nightly rentals.

Aside from the new tiny homes in the main lodge, the amenities at the base are pretty sparse. There’s also the town of Mesa to stay in, located 10 minutes north of the slopes. It’s quiet, so more fun and commodities, consider Palisade or Grand Junction. They’re both on I-70 and neighbors of one another, so opt for Palisade if you prefer a mountain town feel.

Powerdhorn Mountain Resort SnowboardingSnowboarding on the Western Slope at Purgatory.

2022-23 Winter direct nonstop flight schedule to GJT:

Denver, CO
Dallas, TX
Phoenix, AZ
Las Vegas, NV
Mesa, AZ (Seasonal Service) February-May, 2023
Los Angeles, CA (Seasonal Service)

Those are Colorado’s regional airports closest to a big ski resort. If you’re renting a car, consider reading over our winter driving tips for the Rockies. Safe travels!

Author: Bruce Simmons