Brief Timeline of Colorado’s Ski and Snowboard History

Brief Timeline of Colorado’s Ski and Snowboard History

Introduction to Colorado Ski and Snowboard History

Colorado is known for its stunning mountain peaks, picturesque ski resorts, and world-class skiing and snowboarding. It’s no surprise that Colorado is a mecca for winter sports enthusiasts. But have you ever wondered how this state became the center of the winter sports universe? Here’s a brief timeline of Colorado’s ski and snowboard history, from the early days of the sport to the present day.

Early Days of Skiing and Snowboarding

The first recorded ski jumps in Colorado date back to 1879, when Norwegian settlers came to the area. However, it wasn’t until the early 1900s that skiing and snowboarding began to gain popularity in the state. As more people started to explore the mountains, skiing and snowboarding clubs were founded in Denver and other cities.

The Rise of Ski Resorts

The first ski resort in Colorado was established in Winter Park in 1937. Over the next few decades, more ski resorts began to pop up, including Aspen, Breckenridge, and Vail. These resorts quickly became popular destinations for winter sports enthusiasts, and the sport of skiing and snowboarding began to flourish.

The Ski Boom of the 1970s

The 1970s were a big decade for skiing and snowboarding in Colorado. During this time, several new ski resorts were built and existing resorts underwent major expansions. The popularity of the sport was boosted by the addition of new ski lifts, improved snowmaking technology, and the debut of the first snowboard.

The Rise of Snowboarding

The 1980s saw the rise of snowboarding as a popular winter sport. Colorado ski resorts quickly embraced this new trend and began to offer snowboard-specific terrain parks and half-pipes. Snowboarding became so popular that it was even added to the Winter Olympics in 1998.

The Popularity of Skiing and Snowboarding in Colorado

Today, skiing and snowboarding remain popular activities in Colorado. There are over 30 ski resorts in the state, and the resorts offer a wide variety of terrain for all skill levels. Colorado is also home to some of the best snowboarders in the world, including Olympic champions like Shaun White and Kelly Clark.

The Impact of Skiing and Snowboarding on Colorado

Skiing and snowboarding have had a major impact on Colorado’s economy. Winter sports bring in billions of dollars in tourism revenue every year, and ski resorts are an important source of jobs in the state. Skiing and snowboarding have also been important to the culture of Colorado, and have played a major role in shaping the identity of the state.

The Future of Skiing and Snowboarding in Colorado

The future of skiing and snowboarding in Colorado looks bright. New resorts continue to open up, and existing resorts are continually investing in new lifts and terrain parks. The popularity of the sport is also increasing, with more and more people taking up skiing and snowboarding each year.


Skiing and snowboarding have been a part of Colorado for over a century, and the sport continues to be a major part of the state’s culture and economy. With more ski resorts and improved technology, the future of skiing and snowboarding in Colorado looks brighter than ever. So grab your skis or snowboard and hit the slopes, and experience the rich history of skiing and snowboarding in Colorado. In 1859, the Pikes Peak Gold Rush brought the first wave of settlers to Colorado, spotting grand opportunities in the mountainous terrain. Little could they have known that in the future, their great decision would give rise to one of the top ski and snowboard destinations in the world.

Though at that point there wasn’t a single ski resort in sight, the terrain of Colorado allowed the people to ski and snowboard, with the usage of crude skis and snowboards. The first organized attempt at skiing in the US however, took place in 1910 in Front Range, Denver.

In 1936, the Colorado Ski and Snowboard association was founded which consisted of over 40 ski resorts and of course, hundreds of thousands of ski and snowboard enthusiasts. Among them was the Winter Olympics in 1956 and 1976, held in Denver and Colorado Springs respectively. However, it is the 1970s that saw the real boom in the ski and snowboard industry and gave rise to the same international industry that we have today.

During the 1970s, Colorado was home to some of the most famous ski resorts in the US with the likes of Aspen, Vail, Breckenridge, Keystone, and many more. The popularity of skiing and snowboarding increased and with it came the development of modern skiing and snowboarding gear that allowed riders greater maneuverability and excitement in the mountains.

The centennial state continued to remain a premier destination for skiing and snowboarding, with new resorts opening across Colorado throughout the decades. The rise of snowboarding in the 90s gave further momentum to the ski and snowboard industry, capturing the hearts of thousands of fans and giving rise to some of the most popular athletes in the world.

So it’s been over a hundred years since skiing and snowboarding first brought excitement to Colorado, with the new millennium being a sign of further development in the industry. Though the timeline may be brief, the impact of skiing and snowboarding in Colorado will forever be engraved in the Rocky Mountains.

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