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7 Popular Winter Airports That Experience Extreme Winter Weather

As the winter season approaches and the cold weather gets in full swing, many vacationers head to ski resorts in the Rocky Mountains thus inevitably must fly in and out of the popular winter airports. However, these popular winter airports can also present the biggest challenges when flying into them. Their mountainous location and terrain require extra precautions during the winter months that can affect your travel. If you’re flying into any of these airports this winter, be sure to plan ahead and be prepared for diversions.

1. Aspen, Colorado (KASE)

Elevation: 7,820′

Aspen is one of the few airports in the United States with a “one-way in, one way out” runway approach, simply meaning aircraft must take-off and land in the same direction. This can create major congestion at Colorado’s most popular airport come winter time given the major influx of both private and commercial traffic to Aspen. Its short runway makes it hard to land as is with any sort of tailwind, but combine that with strong winter weather high up in the Rocky Mountains and Aspen is one of the most difficult airports in the country in the winter months.

The next two airports on our list, Eagle and Rifle, serve as popular diversions to Aspen during extreme weather. However, the close proximity of the three airports usually means extreme weather at Aspen also goes for the other two.

Alternative Airports Options: Eagle, Rifle (CO)

2. Eagle, Colorado (KEGE)

Elevation: 6,540′

One of the most-high traffic airports come ski season because it serves as the main airport to Vail, the Eagle County Airport sits about 4 miles outside of Eagle Colorado. It’s no surprise given its mountainous approach this regional airport came in at #8 on the History Channel’s most extreme airports in 2010. The elevation, weather vulnerability, and departure procedures all were factors that also contributed to Eagle’s Ranking.

Alternative Airports Options: Eagle, Rifle (CO)

3. Rifle, Colorado (KRIL)

Elevation: 5,540′

Sitting in the heart of the Colorado mountains, Rifle presents many of the same problems its neighboring airports do come winter. This airport is located about 3 miles outside of the central business district in Rifle which makes it a popular destination for both business and pleasure.

Alternative Airports Options: Denver, Grand Junction (CO)

4. Jackson Hole, Wyoming (KJAC)

Elevation: 6,541′

By airport standards, Jackson Hole sits within some of the highest mountain ranges in the world in Grand Teton National Park. Although it makes for incredible views when flying in, the airport is surrounded by 13,000 foot-high mountains, can cause more extreme weather conditions than other high-volume winter airports.

Alternative Airports Options: Idaho Falls

5. Telluride, Colorado (KTEX)

Elevation: 9,078′

There may not be an airport with a more frightening claim to fame than Telluride’s famous cliff takeoff. Essentially, the landing strip sits on the edge of a cliff, in which the aircraft takes-off over a steep drop at the end of the runway. This runway causes crews to be over precautious when missions take them to Telluride during extreme weather.

Alternative Airports Options: Montrose (CO)

6. Hailey, Idaho (KSUN)

Elevation: 5,318′

The Friedman Memorial Airport in Hailey, Idaho sits 13 miles south of Sun Valley. The popular “bowl of mountains” is attractive to many avid skiers around the world, but brings travel challenges when going to this remote location.

Alternative Airports Options: Magic Valley Regional (ID)

7. Bozeman, Montana (KBZN)

Elevation: 4,473′

The Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport is the busiest airport in Montana. It sees high congestion during the winter months with its close proximity to popular communities such as Belgrade, Bozeman, Big Sky, and more. Although no distinct feature makes Bozeman a challenge, the mountain weather and high volume tend to cause some headaches for those coming in for their vacations.

Alternative Airports Options: Bert Mooney (MT), Helena Regional (MT)

Planning ahead if you have a trip into one of these airports can make a major difference in your winter travel. The Magellan Jets Team is always prepared to give our clients up to the minute notifications when and if your flights plans must change due to weather at any of these airports.

The Magellan Jets Flight Support Team is always available to answer any questions you may have concerning your winter travel plans.

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