Crested Butte Ski Resort

Crested Butte Ski Resort is a great place to ski that does not put on many airs. There is none of the pretentious fashion parade you might see at Aspen or Vail. The lines of cars heading to Copper Mountain, Keystone, Breckenridge, and other Summit County resorts are conspicuously absent. You will not find a four star Michelin guide restaurant or an après ski bar serving $20 martinis. Crested Butte lodging does not feature 10,000-square-feet luxury spas. Crested Butte Colorado is a charming Victorian town that is all about the skiing.

Crested Butte Ski Resort is the only ski area in Gunnison County, but visitors will find enough varied terrain here to justify a trip of several days. The mountain has over 1,000 skiable acres serviced by 16 lifts, including four high-speed quads.

Located in the Elk Mountain Range, part of Gunnison National Forest, Crested Butte Ski Resort gets lots of snow. And if the natural powder is not coming, the mountain's extensive snowmaking ensures ample coverage.

Named trails cover only half the terrain at Crested Butte Ski Resort; the free-skiing areas of the resort comprise some of the most challenging terrain of any ski area in the world. All but the most confident and advanced skiers and snowboarder should avoid the area labeled Extreme Limits, but if you can handle it, it is not to be missed.

Crested Butte's Peak area can only be accessed by hiking, but the steep drops make it worth the effort. Advanced riders will also enjoy the chutes and open runs of Teocalli Bowl. For tree skiing, head to the Double-Top Glades via the East River. Mogul lovers will enjoy the bumps under the Silver Queen and Twister lifts. The other runs served by these lifts are less challenging but fun groomed rides.

Crested Butte Ski Resort has plenty of terrain for beginners and intermediates too. The best cruisers are beneath the Paradise and Teocalli lifts. In good powder, the Paradise Bowl is suitable for lower-level skiers.

Beginners will be challenged by the green trails at Crested Butte Ski Resort — these are no bunny slopes. The gentlest slope, after the first-time stuff off the Peachtree lift, is probably Houston trail, but other runs off Keystone lift are more fun and still manageable with practice.

Crested Butte Colorado has many buildings designated as historic landmarks, evoking the days when the town was a center of silver and coal mining. There is some delightful Crested Butte lodging in the old town — bed and breakfasts and quaint lodges. The ski resort is a 15-minute shuttle ride away but the vibrant nightlife is right at your doorstop.

Other accommodations are clustered around Crested Butte Ski Resort in a town known as Mount Crested Butte Colorado. These Crested Butte lodging options are more convenient for skiing, but miss the ambience and fun of the historic mining settlement.

For the last few years, Crested Butte Ski Resort has offered a unique deal to early season skiers: free lift tickets included in the price of Crested Butte lodging.

Crested Butte Colorado is fairly isolated. Aspen is only 20 miles away, but the forbidding mountains make it a four or five hour drive in winter. Denver is 230 miles away. The closest big town is Gunnison about 30 miles away. Gunnison Airport has regular flights to Denver, Dallas, and several other airports.

Crested Butte Colorado may not be easy to get to, but once there the alpine and backcountry skiing, beautiful scenery, and charming atmosphere are sure to delight.

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