Far off the beaten path lies a rather hidden gem in the powder-filled world of Colorado skiing and riding. Crested Butte ski resort is an old-school resort that serves some of the most intense in-bounds skiing and riding that the Rocky Mountains have to offer. While the resort was added to the Vail ski resorts chain back in 2018, Crested Butte ski resort still has the local Colorado feel.
Its hard-to-reach location means you will be skiing or riding with mainly locals or the few brave enough to make the trek deep into the Colorado mountains. Keep reading for everything you need to know about Crested Butte Ski Resort in Colorado.
A Quick History on Crested Butte
The nearby town of Crested Butte, Colorado was first established in 1880 as a mining town and was soon known as the town that wouldn’t die. The ski resort opened in 1960 and adopted a similar spirit.
While the ski resort struggled for the first ten years of its life, it made it through the rough patch and has grown to be a famous local mountain that will push your limits.
Where is Crested Butte Ski Resort Located?
Crested Butte ski resort is far off the beaten path in Gunnison county, Western, Colorado. Roughly thirty minutes from Gunnison, Colorado on a small road called CO-135 North, this ski resort mainly services the most dedicated skiers and riders.
Not sure where Gunnison, Colorado is? In relation to Denver, Crested Butte ski resort sits about 230 miles or four and a half hours southwest of Denver by car. If you don’t feel up to the nearly 5-hour drive it is possible to fly to Crested Butte.
The closest airport is the Gunnison Regional Airport via Denver International through a hopper flight. The flight takes about an hour and 45 minutes and it is still a 30 to 40-minute drive from Gunnison if you are flying in from out of state.
Mountain Stats at Crested Butte Ski Resort:
Crested Butte is known as one of the most difficult mountains in Colorado and is not for the faint of heart or the unconditioned. There is still is a handful of beginner runs but the vast majority will be expert trails, steep bowls, rocky runs, narrow gullies, cliff drops, and powder pillows that can stop you dead in your tracks.
That being said, here’s a little bit of what to expect from Crested Butte ski resort.
- 121 trails
- 15 lifts
- In-Bounds Extreme Skiing or Riding
- Tallest Summit: 12,162 Feet (3,707 Meters)
- Base Elevation: 9,375 Feet ((2,856 Meters)
- Longest Run: Peak to Treasury at 2.6 miles (4.2 km)
Lodging Options will be split between the town of Crested Butte and the ski resort. The town has a more cozy, long-term feel. Filled up with several options for hotels, condos, and bed and breakfasts. If you do decide to stay in town there is a free ten-minute shuttle to take you directly to the base of the ski resort. On the ski resort itself, the options will be limited to a handful of places. However, these places do not disappoint.
The Lodge at Mountaineer Square is Crested Butte’s newest and most luxurious accommodation you can find at the base of Crested Butte ski resort. Take a look at these honorable mentions before you start your search.
- The Lodge at Mountaineer Square (Base of Crested Butte Ski Resort)
- Nordic Inn (Base of Crested Butte Ski Resort)
- The Grand Lodge Crested Butte Hotel and Suites (Town of Crested Butte)
- Paradise Condominiums (Town of Crested Butte)
In today’s world of chain restaurants and overpriced, subpar meals, Crested Butte stands far above. Every restaurant both on the ski resort and in the town is locally owned and will tantalize your tastebuds with a little slice of whatever your heart desires.
Crested Butte sports its own microbrewery for craft beer enthusiasts, several fine dining options, and laid-back cafes and pubs if you feel too tired after a long day to get dressed up. Here are some wonderful options to try out as you eat your way through Crested Butte.
- Irwin Brewing CO. (In Town: Mirco Brewery with Pub and Comfort Food)
- Marchitelli’s Gourmet Noodle (In Town: Family Owned Tradition Italian)
- Jefe’s (Pronounced Hef-ay’s) (On Mountain: Mexican lunch)
- Coal Breaker Coffee CO. (On Mountain: Cafe with breakfast)
Activities for Non-Skier and Riders:
Not a skier or rider? The thought of a 10-foot cliff drop a bit too much? No reason to worry that you’ll be bored to death at the lodge. Crested Butte ski resort has heaps of activities to make your remote Colorado getaway one to remember.
Experience what a classic Colorado mountain town looks like with a round of shopping on Elk Avenue in the center of town. Still get out on the mountain with snowmobiling, winter horseback riding, snowshoeing, and fat biking.
Fat biking is a form of mountain biking with extra-wide, or fat snow tires. If staying inside is more your tune, Crested Butte has an arts center where you can take cooking classes, watch local performances, and view its local art gallery.
Is There Night-Skiing?
No, there is no night-skiing at Crested Butte ski resort. Because of its extreme and difficult skiing and riding Crested Butte is open from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm but these hours are subject to change based on weather and light conditions.
Is There Cross-Country Skiing?
Crested Butte ski resort has one of the biggest Nordic ski centers in Colorado. The center grooms over 50 Km (31 Miles) of trails, has rentals, lessons, and backcountry tours. Crested Butte Nordic Center has you not only covered but truly spoiled.
What kind of Rental and Gear Shops does Crested Butte Ski Resort Have?
Crested Butte has its own rental shop and has never made it easier to get the gear you need. They can provide top-of-the-line skis, boards, boots, and gear to suit any skill level. They offer early pick up a day before and will even deliver the gear you need directly to your accommodation if you so desire. The town has a few options of locally owned ski shops if you need to pick up your own pair of whatever you need. Check out these honorable mentions
- Romp Skis
- Crested Butte Sports
Important Information About The Trails At Crested Butte Ski Resort:
As mentioned before Crested Butte ski resort has some of the most difficult and extreme skiing and riding Colorado has to offer and should be taken into consideration. If cliff drops, narrow chutes, and tree bashing runs sound like the only way to ski, here’s a breakdown of the runs at Crested Butte.
- 1,547 acres Acres are split into 121 trails
- 18% Are Beginner
- 29% Are Intermediate
- 21% Are Advanced
- 32% Are Expert
Does Crested Butte Ski Resort Make Their own Snow?
Yes, Crested Butte will make their own snow if necessary and usually only at the beginning of the season to build a solid snowpack.
Best time to go:
Crested Butte ski resort is quite far off the beaten path so crowds usually aren’t as big of an issue when it comes to planning the best time to go. However, the holidays of Christmas and the New Year will bring bigger crowds. The mountain generally sees most snow from mid-January through the end of February.
Crested Butte is one of the last great Colorado mountain towns and one of the most extreme resorts you find west of the Mississippi. Making the journey out to this magical resort is not only a trip you’ll be bound to remember, but it’s a trip that will make you come back to again and again.
Made the trek out to Crested Butte before? Let us know in the comments what your favorite run is!