Travelers preparing for the upcoming ski season in Colorado Ski Country USA (CSCUSA) will now have more options and easier access to Colorado’s world class resorts. Several new flights will be offered for the 2011/12 ski season, adding to the already extensive menu of travel choices. Additionally, the state’s numerous regional airports allow travelers ease of movement with minimum fuss.
New Flights & Planes
Denver International Airport (DIA) recently announced the decision by Iceland Air to begin year-round, nonstop service from Denver to Reykjavik, beginning in May 2012. As one of the top ten busiest airports in the world, and one of the most centrally located in the United States, DIA benefits from a host of direct flights from all major cities across the US. With the addition of flights to and from Reykjavik, the airport will receive visitors directly from five different countries.
From DIA, travelers can reach seven resorts in about a two hour drive or less; Echo Mountain, Eldora Mountain Resort, Loveland Ski Area, Winter Park Resort, Arapahoe Basin, Copper Mountain and SolVista Basin at Granby Ranch.
Alternatively, once they arrive at DIA, visitors can easily connect to any of Colorado’s regional resort community airports, including Gunnison, Aspen, Telluride, Durango, Steamboat, Montrose and Grand Junction. These regional hotbeds include as many as 150 direct flights weekly from cities such as Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago, San Francisco, Atlanta, Dallas, Newark and Denver.
For travelers headed to Aspen/Snowmass, American Airlines has announced new daily non-stop flights from both Dallas/Fort Worth and Los Angeles for the winter season beginning December 15, 2011.
United Airlines has added a second daily non-stop from Houston along with a fourth daily non-stop from Los Angeles and a 12th daily flight from Denver on peak days. These new flights are in addition to that airport’s four daily non-stops from Chicago/O’Hare and two daily non-stops from San Francisco, and bring United’s total frequency up to 24 daily flights in and out of Aspen/Snowmass this winter.
Frontier will continue to offer four daily flights to Aspen/Snowmass from their Denver hub for a total of up to 30 daily flights in and out of Aspen/Snowmass on three airlines, with non-stops from six cities and convenient one-stop connections from points across the globe. Aspen/Pitkin County Airport is located minutes from the slopes of Aspen’s four mountains and guests can find deals at www.StayAspenSnowmass.com and www.FlyAspenSnowmass.com.
Sunlight Resort, nestled in nearby Glenwood Springs, is accessible via Aspen/Pitkin airport as well as Eagle Airport, and Grand Junction Airport. The Sunlight Shuttle runs to and from Glenwood Springs, as does the Roaring Fork Transit Authority.
This upcoming season, for visitors headed to Durango and the southwest part of Colorado, American Airlines/American Eagle will be flying a 50 passenger regional jet daily from Dallas/Fort Worth. The flight will begin service on December 15, 2011 and run through the rest of ski season, giving passengers the opportunity to be on the slopes of Durango Mountain Resort each day by noon. Other resorts accessible from Durango airport include Wolf Creek and Silverton. The upcoming season marks the first time in more than a decade that Durango will have daily non-stop jet service from Texas.
Travelers flying into Steamboat/Hayden either directly from, or connecting through Houston, will enjoy a larger plane moving to a daily 737-800. In addition, the Delta Atlanta and Minneapolis/St. Paul service will operate an extra week ending the season on April 1 instead of its typical March end date. Frontier is set to be back for its second season flying directly into Steamboat/Hayden. The resort had added seven additional weekend nonstops operations from Newark, February 11, 2011 through March 24, 2011.
Steamboat offers direct flights from eight cities (Atlanta, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Dallas, Houston, Chicago, New York, Denver and Newark) on American, United, Delta and Frontier airlines during the winter season, with connecting flights from around the world.
The Steamboat/Hayden airport will unveil the final stage of the three phase $15 million upgrade plan this year. Overall 8, 436 square feet of terminal space has been created and another 18,000 square feet in existing terminal was replaced or remodeled. For more information, visit www.steamboat.com.
Direct Flights to Regional Airports
In some cases, additional flight options allow guests to fly right to a resort direct from their originating city. With many regional airports in mountain and resort communities, direct flights can put travelers slope side in no time.
Gunnison/Crested Butte Regional Airport services direct flights from Denver, Dallas and Houston, and upon landing, shuttles are available to transport guests to resorts in the area such as Crested Butte or Monarch Mountain. Guests can also utilize rental car services from Hertz, Avis, or Budget.
United Airlines will have two non-stop round trip flights daily between Gunnison/Crested Butte Regional Airport and Denver, while American Airlines will have one non-stop round trip flight daily between Gunnison/Crested Butte Regional Airport and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. Continental Airlines’ flight schedule accommodates another Texas contingent with its service to Houston International Airport.
Again this year, guests to Crested Butte Mountain Resort can take advantage of the resort’s Friends & Family Fly Free offer when traveling by air to the Gunnison/Crested Butte airport. The offer allows guests to buy two airline tickets and get the third free when staying in select properties. The maximum number of free tickets per itinerary is three and the maximum travel credit is $400. For more information visit www.SkiCB.com.
Telluride boasts non-stop service from a number of national hubs. Visitors can find flights into the Telluride-Montrose Regional Airport (MTJ) on Delta from Atlanta, on United from Denver, Chicago and Los Angeles, on Continental from Houston and Newark, and on American from Dallas.
The Telluride Regional Airport (TEX) also has daily direct flights from Denver on Great Lakes with easy connections on United and Frontier. Skiers and snowboarders can take advantage of some of the best first class fares to a mountain destination, and American Airlines will once again be offering its Kids Fly Free program for the 2011/12 winter season. For more information visit www.TellurideSkiResort.com.
On the Western Slope of Colorado, passengers arriving into Grand Junction Regional Airport will find themselves at Powderhorn’s lifts in under an hour.
Perched on Tennessee Pass just outside of historic Leadville, Ski Cooper is a hidden Gem resort that is easy to find. Eagle Country Airport is just over an hour drive from Ski Cooper.