Skiing and snowboarding are family friendly at two Colorado Gems - Monarch Mountain (west of Salida) and Ski Cooper (west of Leadville). Both are smaller than the I 70 ski towns, but offer lower prices, and shorter (often non-existent) lines. Both offer snowmobile and snowcat tours as well. If you like to go play in the snow on your own, we have many great areas for snow shoeifng and cross country skiing. A special treat in the area is dog sledding - read one family's account of the Monarch Dog Sled Rides!
Monarch Mountain provides everything you could want in a ski area. Its family friendly, and way less expensive than the mega resorts. Lift lines are all but nonexistent most of the time, and even during holidays, generally don’t exceed 10 minutes! The place gets over 300 inches of natural snow most winters, so they don’t need snow making, and there is much less ice than you find at the areas that do use snow machines. There is a good mix of beginner through expert terrain, and they even have bowl skiing via snow cat! Its just 20 minutes due west of Salida. Snowmobiling available - Monarch and All Seasons.
Buena Vista Area
Ski Cooper, located atop Tennessee Pass, near Leadville is approximately 27 miles South of Vail on U.S. Highway 24, is Eagle County's oldest and Colorado's fifth oldest ski area. Building on its unusually rich history and prime location, Ski Cooper has in recent years earned recognition as one of the nation's most successful and innovative smaller ski areas. You can also take snowcat tours or go snowmobiling.
For those who just need to spend a day at one of the famous mega mountain resorts, you can get to Copper Mountain or Breckenridge in about 90 minutes.
There are great snowshoe, cross-country ski and snowmobiling opportunities in the Chalk Creek area. Brown's Creek, St Elmo and the road to Hancock (a few miles before you get to St Elmo) all have great trails.