Last Great Ski Town
CRESTED BUTTE, COLORADO
Crested Butte, Colorado could be referred to as the "last great ski town" in the United States. Slightly off the beaten path (230 miles southwest of Denver) and located within the borders of the majestic Gunnison National Forest and the Elk Mountain Range of the Colorado Rockies, the journey to Crested Butte awards travelers with some of the most spectacular views in Colorado, period. However, for those that want quick access to the resort, Gunnison and Montrose airports are located at 30 and 90 miles north of Crested Butte.
A lot of people wonder, "What exactly is a crested butte'?" The definition of a butte is a mountain that stands separate and distinct from others. This definition is a wonderful description of the mountain, the town, and the local inhabitants as well. Starting with a base elevation of 9,375 feet, Mt. Crested Butte boasts 2,775 feet of vertical terrain served by lifts with its peak, accessible by a short hike, at 3,062 feet. 1,167 skiable acres of terrain are serviced by 16 lifts that move 19,850 people per hour. Long lift lines and overcrowding are never a problem on this mountain where over 75% of the terrain is intermediate to advanced. With an average annual snowfall of 300", there are plentiful avenues with which to fill your day on the mountain; a run of 2.6 miles from Peak to Treasury, that Atlas Snowshoe loop, the DC Canaan Terrain Park and Kid's Park, backcountry skiing in the Elk Mountains, or for the kid-at-heart in all, the Tubing Hill for some slippery daytime or evening fun!
If it's a "Starbucks and McDonalds" type atmosphere that you crave, you will want to consider another destination; the town of Crested Butte holds itself to a much more authentic standard. While some ski areas start to look more and more the same, Crested Butte remains as unique as ever with it's one-of-a-kind restaurants, bars, shops, and festivals. Dine on fresh sushi at the Lobar and be sure to stick around for a metropolis inspired dance club scene, or hit up the Secret Stash for some of the locals' favorite pizza followed by live music at the Eldo. Whether your favorite flavor for après ski is a palette of fine dining and shopping for artwork, or kicking back in jeans with great music, a pitcher of your favorite Colorado ale, and getting rowdy with friends old and new, Crested Butte has incomparable nightlife to satisfy every taste.
When the myriad colored wildflowers of the Crested Butte summer slopes give way to the blazing gold of the autumn aspen tree leaves, the locals start waxing their boards and skis in anticipation of the fresh powder stashes that will soon grace Mt. Crested Butte and the backcountry of the Elk Mountains. This winter, make sure you are there to join them!