While skiers and riders often pass them by en route to the destination ski resorts Colorado's so well known for, that's actually to the credit of Arapahoe Basin and Loveland and part of their non-pretentious, laid back locals vibe and overall charm. 

Come October, the two compete to be the first in the state (and usually also, the continent) to send lifts spinning, offering up some of the last turns of ski season at the other end. They're neck and neck in terms of elevation, stretching just beyond the 13K mark, putting both resorts in North America's top five for highest summit. As a result, they've always got solid snow coating terrain arrays that sate every skier type, leaving nothing to be desired in the steeps department.  

Our Senior Photographer, Liam Doran, captured the vibe and some face shots to help us make the case for... 

Photo Gallery: Why You Should Exit I-70 Immediately