Find the fresh

Were you a devotee of the Colorado Powder Forecast last winter? This winter, Boulder meteorologist (and super-psyched powder skier) Joel Gratz switched his old powder forecast site to opensnow.com, which has ski forecasts beyond Colorado. But it's still focused on powder in Colorado. But it's more. Look, just check it out, OK?

This could be the winter to expand your horizons and leave I-70 behind.

Well, for a weekend, anyway.

As long as you're here at the University of Colorado for a while, you might as well go check out what other Colorado resorts have to offer.

From Steamboat's notorious powder to Telluride's swank and steeps to Wolf Creek's minimal services and maximal powder potential, there's a lot of variety and character out there... and you might happily escape the crowds, too.

Wolf Creek

6 hours from Boulder

If you hang out at the I-70 resorts a lot, you might be in for a little culture shock at Wolf Creek. That's because Wolf Creek is a ski area, not a resort.

You go to Wolf Creek to ski or ride the massive doses of snow, not hang out with a cocktail or nosh on warm cookies in the afternoon (no offense to Beaver Creek -- love you, xoxo!).


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Plus, you can ski or ride Wolf Creek on the cheap. Hotels are reasonable in South Fork and Pagosa Springs, and lift tickets are only $54 on any given day -- but keep an eye out for sales to go for less.

Info: wolfcreekski.com

Crested Butte

5 hours from Boulder

For some, when the snow is good at Crested Butte, it's the best place in the state to ski.

Those "some" like to tackle insane chutes with tele-steeze and huck big.

But even if you're not one of those skiers, there's plenty to enjoy for a weekend in CB, and beyond the crowd-free slopes. The town itself has a vibe that people fall for harder than the fall lines.

Info: skicb.com

Steamboat

3.5 hours from Boulder

With fun tree skiing (pow!) and wide-open spaces, Steamboat is a breath of fresh air.

Got a weekend? Spend a day cruising the resort, and spend your other day Cat skiing Buffalo Pass, which consistently catches high snowfall totals every year.

Between days, hit the hot springs to soak the weariness out of your legs.

Head to Steamboat on the fly after a storm for maximum enjoyment of the powder there.

Info: steamboat.com

Telluride

7 hours from Boulder

With amazing views from the cruisers (like See Forever where on a clear day you can, well) to a gorgeous sidecountry with more terrain to huck than you can shake your sticks at, Telluride is worth a sorta swanky weekend away.

And in true ski-town style, lifts rise right out of town... and town is small and upscale but accessible. Stop in Smuggler's Brewpub for a microbrew to double check Telluride's down-to-earthness, though.

Then celebrity-watch on the slopes.

Info: tellurideskiresort.com

Silverton

7 hours from Boulder

Silverton is an area that's only kind of an area.

It has one lift into ungroomed, uncut advanced and expert terrain in the snowy, steep San Juans.

It's backcountry with a lift. Sick.

A guide is required most of the time for skiing at Silverton -- and the next unguided ski days aren't until April.

Guided groups consist of eight or fewer people, so gather together seven friends to secure a guide just for your group. Otherwise, you're taking your chances: You could meet new, cool ski buddies who are just as crazy as you. Or not.

Info: silvertonmountain.com