We love Snow Creek in western Missouri as much as anybody, but the most popular ski destination for most of the people we know who love to ski is Colorado. Now, we could talk all day about the different mountains and resort options, good and bad, but one of the toughest decisions for people is simply the best way to get there. Drive or fly? I-70 or State Route 400?
We had enough talks with people to know that there are a lot of individual differences between time and monetary constraints. Younger folks and those who can find extra time in their work schedule may end up making the drive. People who are more established in their careers or whose back doesn’t do well with long car rides may prefer to fly. Still, many people have multiple factors pulling them in different directions. For this reason, we did a little research to provide you with some basic information and benchmarks to help make your decision.
Flight and Travel Options
- You can fly from Wichita to Denver in under two hours, though it’s probably more like 4 hours at least by the time you deal with getting to, through, and out of the airports. But the thing is you’re still a 1.5-4 hour drive to get to the closest mountain resort. So you’ll either need to pay for a rental or a shuttle service. For comparison, it’s almost an 8-hour drive to get to Denver, or 9 hours to get to the closest resort.
- The cost really depends on the destination and time of year. During non-peak times that are still during the ski season, you might spend $300-$500 on a flight to Denver. During the holiday season, you might spend $400-$600. You can also fly all the way to Aspen (ASE) or Telluride (MTJ) regional airports. These flights will generally start at $400 and go up from there with limited itineraries to choose from.
- If you’re flying to one of these regional airports, you’ll also have a layover as there are no direct flights. If you’re staying at Aspen, one alternative is to drive down to the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport. Last time we checked, American Airlines flew from Dallas to Aspen.
- If you’re driving and especially if you’re heading to one of the ski resorts further to the south, then you’ll want to think about State Route 400 into Colorado. This is the best way to get to Monarch Mountain, for sure. We’ve also done a loop when going to Aspen/Snowmass by going I-70 on the way there and 400 on the way back.
- Needless to say, you’ll also need to think about ski rentals, travel, and/or storage. If you own skis and have a vehicle that can haul them, you’re naturally going to have a huge incentive to drive. Otherwise, there are a number of ski rental and travel fee options you can take advantage of when choosing to fly.
For most ski adventures, our personal preference is to drive, but the cost-benefit analysis is often close enough, especially given the right circumstances, that we understand why a lot of people in Wichita choose to fly either to Denver or to one of these regional airports. Have any good insights that we missed related to driving or flying out of Wichita? Tell us, and we’ll be sure to share these tips with our local audience.
Attention: My niece was applying for a job at a travel company and asked if she could write something on my blog to bolster her creds before the interview. She ended up taking another job, and I kind of want to leave this up here because it’s hers. Both of us know this doesn’t fit the site, but when you have your own niece you’ll understand.