1. Beautiful scenery: Crested Butte is located in an incredible valley that, in the wintertime, can only be accessed from one direction. The resort, at the base of the mountain – shaped like a butte with a crest on top, is surrounded in all directions by amazing snowcapped peaks. These peaks are not adorned with any 10,000 square foot mega mansions but are in their original, unspoiled state. Our condo at Crested Mountain North, managed by Crested Butte Lodging, had a “front and center” view of The Butte.
2. No crowds: The nearest interstate is about three hours’ drive from Crested Butte. If you fly into Denver instead of Gunnison, there are 16 major ski areas that are closer than Crested Butte. As a result of this fortunate geography, Crested Butte never gets crowded. If you are like me, you prefer to enjoy your ski day by skiing on the runs where the snow is the best. You don’t want to have to begin planning your day by figuring out which lift to avoid or which side of the mountain to stay away from in the afternoon because “it’ll be at least a 40 minute lift line at the base of so-and-so”.
3. Very accessible: I know, I just told you how remote it is, right? Very surprisingly, it really doesn’t take all that long to get there. If you fly into Denver, you are going to be faced with at least a three hour drive or shuttle ride to get to 7 of those 16 resorts that I mentioned earlier. Four hours after you leave Denver, you would be within only about 15 minutes of Crested Butte. It is not much longer than traveling to Aspen and there is way less traffic.
4. It skis much bigger than 1,547 acres:Although the trail map says that the skiable terrain is 1,547 acres, the mountain feels much, much bigger. Go check out the North Face and see how many hidden runs and bowls are over there. Each run you do there feels like a whole new adventure.
5. Two destinations in one: Crested Butteis one of the few ski areas that has a resort base area (Mt. Crested Butte) as well as a separate town (Crested Butte). Both offer a wide variety of shops, restaurants etc and are linked via a free shuttle bus service that runs day and night. The town has a strong mining heritage and still looks like a western movie set. The ski area, only 2 miles from town, is 500 feet higher and has a more modern look.
6. The Secret Stash: It sounds like a powder run that the locals won’t tell you about but it is actually an incredible pizza restaurant in town. This is not your traditional pepperoni and cheese type place. The Stash has 20 different pizzas that you have probably never heard of but they are all awesome. Try the Steazy Rider or the You’re Driving Me Caprese. They even offer gluten-free crust options that my kids declared the best they had ever had. There’s a reason why they have been voted Crested Butte’s Best Pizza every year since they opened in 2002.
7. The terrace at Butte 66: Right at the base of the Red Lady lift, this is a great place to relax with a beverage at the end of the ski day. The upstairs terrace has lots of wooden Adirondack chairs so you can relax and watch the colors change as the sun sets on the Crested Butte, right in front of you. Happy hour specials include $1 beers and offer live music.
8. Terrain Parks: If your kids are like my kids, they love the terrain parks. Crested Butte Mountain Resort has several different park options and they are rated beginner, intermediate and advanced. Try the Jib Park off the Keystone trail for a fun selection of jumps, rails and boxes. The Family Cross course under the Paradise lift is also a blast. If your kids are like my kids, they will say “I wanna do that run again”.