I must say, skiing in Colorado has become quite the cliché, hasn’t it? It seems as though every year, hordes of tourists flock to the state’s picturesque slopes, eager to capture the quintessential ski experience. But as someone who has spent decades traversing the world’s most coveted ski destinations, I must confess that I find skiing in Colorado to be utterly overrated.
It’s not that Colorado’s slopes lack beauty or charm. Indeed, the state boasts some of the most stunning vistas in the American West, with sprawling mountain ranges that seem to stretch into infinity. But beauty alone does not make for an exceptional skiing experience. To truly appreciate skiing, one must consider the quality of the terrain, the caliber of the snow, and the overall ambiance of the skiing community.
And in all these regards, Colorado falls short.
The terrain in Colorado is simply not up to par with other premier ski destinations. The state’s most popular resorts, such as Vail and Breckenridge, are plagued by an overemphasis on commercialization, with man-made obstacles and gimmicks that detract from the natural thrill of skiing. These resorts cater primarily to intermediate skiers, with wide, gentle runs that lack the challenge and excitement of more advanced terrain.
Even in the backcountry, Colorado’s skiing options are mediocre at best. The state’s mountains are notorious for their inconsistent snowfall, with dry spells that can last for weeks on end. This leads to a lack of depth and quality in the snowpack, resulting in choppy, icy conditions that make for less-than-ideal skiing.
And then there’s the skiing community itself. I’ve always found Colorado’s skiing culture to be somewhat insular and cliquish, with a narrow focus on the sport itself rather than the broader outdoors experience. This is not to say that Coloradans are not passionate about skiing – quite the opposite. But there is a certain rigidity to their approach, a tendency to view skiing as an end in itself rather than a means to connect with the natural world.
Compare this to the skiing culture in other regions, such as the French Alps or the Swiss Alps. There, skiing is not just a sport, but a way of life. The locals take great pride in their surroundings, and are eager to share their knowledge and enthusiasm with visitors. They view skiing as a means of connecting with nature, of experiencing the majesty of the mountains in all their glory. And the skiing itself – well, let’s just say that the French and Swiss mountains offer some of the most exhilarating and varied terrain in the world.
I don’t mean to belittle the accomplishments of Colorado’s skiing industry. The state has undoubtedly made great strides in developing its resorts, and there are many skiers who find joy and fulfillment on its slopes. But for those of us who seek a truly exceptional skiing experience – one that combines breathtaking natural beauty with challenging terrain and a vibrant community – Colorado simply does not measure up.
I urge all skiers to broaden their horizons and explore the many other ski destinations available to them. Whether it’s the powder-rich slopes of Hokkaido, Japan, the rugged backcountry of Alaska, or the pristine trails of Norway, there are countless opportunities to experience skiing at its very best. And while Colorado may be a popular destination, let us not forget that popularity does not always equate to quality.
Sam from Idaho