It’s (nearly) officially winter, and we’re ready to put in some serious slope time. And while it is easy to get into the same routine year after year, why not try something new? Whether you’re a novice skier or snowboarder, or an old pro who is looking for something different, Colorado’s resorts have much to offer beyond the standard lift ticket. Here are some high-country gems you might not know about. The best part? They’re (mostly) free.

Wolf Creek

Ridge and Beyond Tour: Each day Wolf Creek offers the free Ridge and Beyond Tour, a one hour skiing/snowboarding tour of Wolf Creek’s more challenging bowls and ridgeline terrain. Intermediate ability required.

Arapahoe Basin

Rail Jams: A-Basin hosts rail jams throughout the 2011–12 season. Freestyle skiiers and tricksters will love this.


First Tracks: If you’re looking for pristine groomers and untracked powder, be sure to sign up for First Tracks. You still need a ski pass, but you’ll have access to the slopes before the lifts start running.

Copper Mountain

Tucker Mountain Cat Skiing: Copper Mountain offers free snowcat rides to remote Tucker Mountain, which offers more than 273 acres and 1,200 vertical feet of high alpine bowl terrain. Snowcats depart from the base of the Mountain Chief lift from 10:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on select days.


Beginners Ski Free: Guests who purchase a 3-Class Pass from Loveland’s Ski & Ride School will receive a free season pass so they can practice their newfound skills all season long.

For a list of deals and free activities at these and other resorts, click here.

—Image Courtesy of Colorado Ski Country/Purgatory at Durango Resort