The Ski Resort
Located in southwest Colorado, within the Gunnison National Forest, Crested Butte offers some of the best lift-served extreme terrain in the USA. The base of the ski area is located at Mt. Crested Butte, a ski village three miles from the old town Crested Butte. The town was established in the 1880s as a supply camp for coal mining. Today it still has the charme of an old mining town offering saloons and bars along Elk Avenue. A free shuttle bus is connecting the ski resort at Mt. Crested Butte and the town.
Crested Butte ski resort is naturally devided. Extreme terrain is mostly found underneath the peak and in the eastern bowls while lots of intermediate groomers can be accessed around Paradise Express Lift and East River Express Lift. Red Lady Express Lift services a lot of green beginner terrain around the base area. So Crested Butte definitely is a great place for families and groups with all ability levels. The mountain however is most famous for its steeps around North Face Lift and High Lift. Make sure to only enter this terrain if you're a real expert skier. The runs served by North Face Lift may start gently but drop into some steep tree skiing soon. To sum it all up: There are 542 acres of in-bounds, double-black-diamond terrain to discover.
There are three terrain parks and Ski Cross Track layed out throughout the resort. The Progression Park is located underneath the base of Painter Boy Lift and features some smaller jumps and rails which allow kids and beginners to quickly improve their skills. The Keystone Rail Park is a designated jib park located near the base area on the Lower Keystone Run. It is the resort's first terrain park to open for the season and offers a variety of rail features from beginner to intermediate levels. All pro riders prefer the Gold Link Terrain Park, located right next to Gold Link Lift on the Cascade trail. The park is layed out on an overall length of 550m and offers medium and large jump features.
- It is among the 15 most family-friendly ski Resorts in the USA.
- Elevated between 9101 ft and 12162 ft, the Ski Resort is among the 10 highest elevated Ski Resorts in the USA. The vertical drop from summit to base is 3061 ft. The average difference in altitude between base and summit of Ski Resorts in the USA is 1204 ft. Most runs are therefore relatively long.
- During the season the average snow depth at Crested Butte is 59 ". Snow coverage is usually best during March, offering an average base depth of 66 ". Therefore Crested Butte is among the 15 ski Resorts with best snow conditions in the USA.
- Crested Butte features 75 sunny days on average per season. The average for all ski Resorts in the USA is 55 sunny days. January is the sunniest month with an average of 21 sunny days.
Snow Safety & Snowmaking
On Mountain Dining
On the mountain you can choose from three different restaurants:
- The Umbrella Bar at the top of Prospect and Gold Link Lift is a bavarian style bar which offers beverages and dishes famous in bavarian and austrian ski resorts like "Glühwein" or "Debreziner" (spicy sausages). In case of bad weather you can enjoy your meal under the large umbrella. If the sun is shining however you should prefer sitting on the patio enjoying the view to Crested Butte Mountain.
- Paradise Warming House is the largest restaurant on the mountain. It is located at the base of Paradise Express Lift. It offers a large sun deck and cheaper, cafeteria style food, including the only salad bar on the mountain.
- Uley's Cabin is the most authentic restaurant on the mountain. Located at the base of the Twister Lift, it features local (Colorado) cuisine with a French influence. A great experience is the "Sleigh Ride Dinner" consisting of a sleigh ride after lifts closed and a 5-course meal at Uley's.
At the base area:
- Butte 66 Roadhouse & Grille is serving handcrafted roadhouse style BBQ and burgers. It is also famous for its milk shake desserts and its sundeck which offers a great view across the lower slopes of the mountain.
Experts should not miss out on the extremely steep runs "Banana" and "Funnel" which can be accessed by hiking the ridge from the top of the Silver Queen Express Lift. Another must-do for experts are the runs served by the North Face Lift.
The best intermediate groomers can be found around Paradise Express Lift. This area is however most popular so lift lines might occur on weekends or holidays.
- The Crested Butte Winter Adventure Park offers a climbing wall and bungee trampolines which provide a turbo-charged ride up to 10 meters above ground. The Winter Adventure Park is located right at the base of Red Lady Express Lift and is open year-round.
- The Snowcat Driving Experience is a pretty unique opportunity to get behind the wheels of a snowcat which you can normally only see grooming the runs. The class includes both theory and and hour of actual driving a fully functional Snowcat.
- The Sleigh Ride Dinner to Uley's Cabin is a romantic mountain adventure including a sleigh ride and a fine menu. It offers non-skiers to discover the mountain and enjoy some time in the snow. Sleigh riders will be guided by the lights of a Snowcat and cosy blankets will keep them warm.
There are so much more activities at Crested Butte like Snowshoe Tours, Fatbike Riding and much more. Check out the website of the resort for more activities.
During winter Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport (GUC) is served with flights from Dallas (DFW), Houston (IAH), Chicago (ORD), Los Angeles (LAX) and Denver (DEN).
Driving Directions from Denver
- Stay on I-70W through Denver (24 miles)
- Take Exit 260 onto CO-470 East
- After 5 miles take the exit for US 285 South towards Fairplay
- Stay on US 285 South until you reach the outskirts of Buena Vista
- Turn left to stay on US 285 South for another 21 miles
- Turn right onto US 50 West
- Arrive in Gunnison after 60 miles
- To reach Crested Butte turn right at CO-135 North and continue for 28 miles