Skiing & Boarding
Beginner Skiing and Riding
The beginner skiing is great and can be accessed with three lifts: Red Lady, Peachtree, and Painter Boy, as well as two magic carpet lifts. More than enough trails to learn to make turns, with the added benefit of isolated and segregated beginner runs that allow skiers to focus on learning rather than not being hit by an out of control hotshot. Crested Butte’s Ski and Ride School offers great lessons for people of all ages.
Intermediate Skiing and Riding
The intermediate terrain is big enough to keep someone happy for three or four days. Lots of low-angle bumps and low-angle corduroy, plus some nice long, steep groomers on the front side of the mountain with great views of town below. Great terrain to sharpen skills. Our high speed lifts get you enough runs to wear most people out in four or five hours. Then head for the après.
Advanced and Expert Skiing and Riding
The expert and extreme terrain comprises about half the mountain’s acreage and is the reason skiers move to the valley or visit repeatedly. The US Extreme Championships pioneered here in the early 1990s and have run nearly every year since. Past competitors and winners include the likes of Shane McConkey, Seth Morrison, Wendy Fisher, and Doug Coombs. Powder Magazine’s John Clary Davies called Crested Butte “The High Church of Skiing” after spending 10 days here in 2014. In all seriousness, you have to ski it to believe it.
Two surface lifts—The North Face and the High Lift—access most of this terrain and runs can easily take a half hour or longer. Depending on where you go, there may be some hiking involved. Think narrow chutes (some with mandatory airs), exposure, and North America’s steepest cut run— the aptly-named Rambo. If your idea of a perfect ski day includes getting a tiny bit gripped on top of a line, come see us in Crested Butte. We’ll be in the line-up at one of the t-bars or billy-goating down angle gully.
While detailed extreme maps are available, the best bet for figuring out this terrain is to tag along with a local or to grab a combination lesson and tour. If you want to ski every line up high over the course of a week, that can be done without tagging the same line twice. Coming for just a couple of days? Check out Frank and Brittany Konsella’s 6 Favorite Lines in the Crested Butte Extremes. Frank and Brittany are the 4th and 9th person to ski all of Colorado’s 14,000-foot+ peaks and long-time Crested Butte residents, so you can trust their advice.
Some writer once wrote that Crested Butte “has the vibe of a surf town in the mountains.” Lots of people, young and not so, still live in the town’s 1880s miner shacks and work in the restaurants and shops. It’s a laid-back comfortable place to be, full of good energy and people who love mountain sports and sharing experiences with others.
Food ranges from Tibetan to Prime beef, with the best pizza west of NYC and the best fried chicken anywhere. The fish is flown in daily.
In 2014 Powder named Crested Butte the “Best ski town in America.”
Gunnison, ½ hour and zero stop lights away, has that same good energy as Crested Butte. Home of Western State, it’s a combination of college town meets ranch town. Gunnison offers the same range of food as Crested Butte and a variety of nice lodging, all with the price knocked down. Free buses run up and down the valley each day, so staying in Gunnison and skiing Crested Butte doesn’t require a car. Our Gunnison Getaway package for stay and ski is the best value in the Rocky mountains and costs less than many lift tickets at other mountains.
Where to Stay/What to Stay In
There are cabins and inns dotted around the valley that will make you feel like you’re in a throwback Disney-era movie. We like these ourselves.
The town and mountain are filled with condos and lodges and some beautiful B&B’s. The town is connected to the mountain via a free, five-minute bus ride.
Gunnison’s disadvantage is the 30-minute ride on a free bus and its advantage is a really attractive price point for stay and ski packages. As low as half the cost of Crested Butte for a matching room in Crested Butte and the exact same lift ticket. We’d be happy eating at a different restaurant each night for a week in Gunnison, just as we would up valley.
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