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Crested Butte is one of Colorado’s best kept secrets. This ski town is a ‘get-away-from-it-all’ resort with no lift lines, uncrowded slopes, impeccable slope grooming and one of the most charming ski towns in Colorado.
‘The Butte’ isn’t the easiest ski resort in Colorado to get to. As a result most of the weekend crowds head to the other big name resorts which are much closer to Denver. However, this feeling of isolation adds to Crested Butte’s charm – which is why it’s known locally as Colorado’s last great ski town.
The quiet, uncrowded slopes make Crested Butte an ideal resort for skiers to develop their skills. Beginners are well catered for, with well groomed slow zones dedicated for learners. The main areas for Beginners are off the Peachtree and Keystone lifts, both located at the base of the slopes.
With nearly 60% of the resort designated as blue trails, intermediates will enjoy exploring the slopes here. The mid mountain offers plenty of long, flattering, well groomed runs – the longest of which is Treasury providing a 2.6 mile long tree lined trail from the top of the Express lift.
Crested Butte is probably best known for its steep terrain. Expert skiers make the pilgrimage here every year to test their skills on the ‘Extreme Limits’ terrain, which hosts the US Extreme Skiing Championships.
Experts will naturally gravitate toward the North Face poma tow. The lift name hinting at the type of terrain to expect. This is a demanding double black diamond zone with ungroomed bowls, steeps, chutes, trees, bands of rock and 50 degree pitches. This area is definitely not for the faint hearted – the slopes here are ungroomed and minimally patrolled – so hire a guide from the local ski school. Skiing with the CB Steeps Guide is the ideal way to explore some of the best expert terrain in the USA.
The resort has two distinct parts; the resort’s base area Mount Crested Butte, and the original town. The mountain base area has all the skier facilities you’ll need as well as the resort’s main hotels and condominiums. The accommodation is clustered around the base of the slopes, making most accommodation virtually ski-in, ski-out or an easy walk to the lifts.
The base area feels a little like a traditional French alpine resort; functional with a few bars and restaurants. However, most of the nightlife is down valley in the historic main street of the original town.
It’s easy to get around Crested Butte and the resort’s free shuttle connects the mountain village with the historic downtown area, which is 3 miles down valley. We would recommend staying at the base of the mountain so that you’re close to the slopes in the morning.
Crested Butte is a genuine Colorado ski town full of Victorian charm. The main streets are lined with colourful Victorian-era wooden fronted buildings that are home to the best dining, shopping and nightlife options in the resort. Elk Avenue is the main focal point, where you’ll find plenty of apres’ ski entertainment.
For a relatively small ski town, there’s no shortage of good restaurants, bars and live music venues to explore and you’ll easily find something to suit most tastes. Whilst this is not a party town (like the relatively nearby resort of Aspen), you’ll be pleasantly surprised at just how much Crested Butte has to offer after the lifts stop turning.
Crested Butte is a world class ski resort which manages to effortlessly combine slope-side accommodation with a genuine Colorado ski town steeped in history, without any of the glitz or glamour you’ll find at the nearby resort of Aspen.
This unpretentious resort is a great choice for those looking for a relaxed family holiday in a quiet, uncrowded resort that offers great skiing with an authentic Colorado ski town atmosphere.