Skier’s Guide to Crested Butte Mountain Resort
Crested Butte Mountain Resort. Photo Credit: Taylor Ahearn/CBMR.
“Colorado’s Last Great Ski Town” is the real deal, with deep snow, terrain for all abilities, a busy ski school, five terrain parks, sunny days, and some of Colorado’s best scenery. Crested Butte, four-to-five hours west of the Front Range cities, is remote compared to Summit County, so it’s not unusual to have runs to yourself and no lift lines. We’ve put together a comprehensive skier’s guide to Crested Butte Mountain Resort to help you explore this winter season. See you on the slopes!
What makes Crested Butte one of Colorado best-loved ski areas? It’s the snow. An average of 300 inches of snow (that’s 25 feet!) blankets the mountain every winter. Much of the white stuff is light powder—the best snow for skiing and snowboarding. You’ll love plunging down Crested Butte’s slopes on its 121 trails, which range from beginner to expert terrain. The mountain offers 1,547 skiable acres on the northern side of Crested Butte Mountain and a 2,775-foot vertical drop from the top of High Lift to the base. If you’re an extreme skier, you can hike to the mountain summit and drop a stunning 3,062 feet on a 2.6-mile run down the Peak and Treasury Trails.
Varied Terrain for all Skiers
Crested Butte has the big reputation for extreme skiing. While the mountain offers 542 acres of in-bounds, double black diamond terrain for the expert, it’s also a great area for beginner and intermediate skiers with 26% of the trails for beginners and 57% for intermediate skiers.
Fun Runs for Beginners
Beginner skiers and riders enjoy the wide, consistent runs off of the Red Lady Express Lift. Featuring mellow grades, open trails and the ability to explore, these runs are an excellent stepping stone for those who are new to the sport. Best runs include: Houston, Lower Twister, and Mineral Point.
Best Intermediate Terrain
The Paradise Express Lift, centrally located on the resort, offers countless options of long, intermediate cruisers and mellow bump runs. For intermediates looking to take the next step, head over to the East River Express Lift and the impeccably spaced trees of Gully Glades. East River is a popular spot due to its generally warmer temperatures and excellent snow conditions. Best runs include: Paradise Bowl, Rosebush Glades, and Black Eagle.
Your ‘Steeps Guide’
The expert terrain, including almost 40 double black diamond runs, is the backbone of Crested Butte’s signature ski slopes. Upper Crested Butte Mountain offers some of gnarliest terrain, with bowls, steep chutes, glades, and even mandatory jumps off cliffs. That’s why Crested Butte is one of the best freeskiing areas in the United States and host to one of the longest-running freeskiing championships.
For a consistent challenge, the Silver Queen Express Lift and the Extreme Limits terrain is the perfect area to explore. Long, steep runs will exhaust your legs as you lap the frontside terrain underneath the Silver Queen Lift. The High Lift and North Face Lifts will elevate you to the top of the most challenging runs on the mountain. Best runs include: Banana, Spellbound Bowl, Teocalli Bowl, and International.
Best Après Ski Spots
Crested Butte has an awesome après ski scene, which means lots of options, but it also makes it hard to choose favorites. We’ve chosen two of the best après spots that we think you’ll love.
Downtown Crested Butte: Montanya Distillers
Montanya Distillers is the preferred rum of Crested Butte Mountain Resort and their rums are handcrafted right in downtown Crested Butte. Montanya Distillers provides rum tastings and individual and group tours of its artisan rum distillery seven days a week. Learn about fermenting and distilling processes of rum and taste the locally made, award-winning rums from Montanya. To schedule a group tour in advance, please call (970) 799-3206 ext. 1. Otherwise, just stop by between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. and take a chance that they will be able to give you a tour if it’s not too busy. If you don’t want a tour, you can still sample the rums and enjoy the artisan rum cocktails, appetizers, and fun atmosphere of their location at 212 Elk Avenue.
Crested Butte Mountain Resort: Butte 66 Roadhouse & Grille
Located immediately off the slopes, just steps from the bottom of the Red Lady and Silver Queen Express lifts, Butte 66 serves handcrafted roadhouse-style BBQ, classic burgers, and a variety of casual fare, but they’re really known for their milkshakes. These sweet treats can be enjoyed on their sundeck and ordered at regular or full strength for the 21 and over crowd.
Where to Stay
The Lodge at Mountaineer Square is considered the “heart of the base area”, and offers 95 luxurious multi-bedroom residences and 33 elegant hotel rooms, along with an après bar and indoor/outdoor pool. The Grand Lodge features the best pool and hot tub in the area and is the perfect location for families. Groups and families also love the Plaza Condominiums for its convenient location just 100 yards from the ski area’s main lift, the Silver Queen. Spacious two- and three- bedroom suites include everything you need to be independent, while on-site check-in, a restaurant and bar, daily housekeeping services, covered parking, and two hot tubs provide all the benefits of a hotel.
Where to Eat
The Umbrella Bar at Ten Peaks
The views at the Umbrella Bar will not disappoint: Look just beyond the immediate powder stashes and perfectly groomed runs, and you’ll see the awe inspiring peaks of the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness, Collegiate Peaks Wilderness, and West Elk Mountain Range. Located at the top of the Painter Boy Lift and featuring an eclectic blend of European and local cuisines, a 35-foot retractable umbrella roof, plenty of on-snow Adirondack chair seating and exceptional views, the Umbrella Bar is more gathering spot than grab-and-go outlet. Whether it is for lunch or a drink, the Umbrella Bar is a mandatory stop for all skiers and riders.
The WoodStone Grille
The WoodStone Grille has what you need to fuel your day on the mountain. From huge pancakes and fresh made omelets for breakfast, to jalapeño peanut butter poppers, signature pasta and made to order fire-baked pizzas, the WoodStone Grille menu has something for everyone. Come play billiards, or watch the game and enjoy a microbrew with an appetizer.
Crested Butte’s Featured Winter Events
There’s always something to do in Crested Butte. From holiday events to Full Moon parties, be sure to check the events calendar when you’re headed into town so you don’t miss out on all of the awesome activities.
Crested Butte Mountain Resort Winter 2017-18 Opening Day
The first chairlift ride of the season takes off on the morning of November 23, 2017. Celebrate with a champagne toast, and ski and ride your heart out all day. For more information, visit skicb.com.
Santa Ski and Crawl
Did you know that Crested Butte holds the World Record for the most number of skiers in full Santa costumes? Well, they’re looking to beat their record this year with an even bigger turnout on December 9, 2017. Participants must to be decked out in a full Santa suit in order to participate in the group Santa Ski (top, bottom, hat and beard are required). If you commit to the costume, $25 lift tickets will be available. For more information, visit skicb.com.
Full Moon Parties at Ten Peaks
On January 1, January 31, March 1, and March 31, 2018, grab your skins or snowshoes and head to the top of Ten Peaks for a buffet dinner under the moonlight. The fare includes fondue, salad, soup or chili, dessert, and one complimentary wine or beer. The cost is $40 per person. For more information, visit skicb.com.