The closest resort to Denver, Loveland Ski Area is a small family resort nestled in a cozy mountain valley, boasting some of the best terrain in the state. Two-thirds of the terrain is suitable for beginner and intermediate skiers. Much more relaxed than some of the mega-resorts, it has 77 trails spread out over 1,365 acres/553 hectares of skiable terrain. There is a great area for kids in the basin area of the resort, and you can get an inexpensive hot lunch, which is a novelty there.

One of Colorado's original ski resorts, Loveland is still regarded as a "local" hill, closer to Denver and cheaper than the fancier resorts. Known as a low-crowds, low-hassle ski experience, the resort often gets tons of snow, but it can be very cold and windy, especially near the exposed ridgeline of the Continental Divide.

Loveland Ski Area is about 60 mi/100 km west of Denver. Take Interstate 70 and Highway 6 West (Exit 216, near Georgetown). For more information, phone 303-571-5580, or toll-free 800-736-3754. Visit the Web site at

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