You know you have arrived in Crested Butte, Colo. – which is about a 3.5-hour drive from Denver – when you see that legendary landmark mountain that stands out among the rest.
You can even see ski chutes stemming from the south face of Mount Crested Butte, a spot where expert skiers skin up for the thrill of skiing down in fresh powder.
This mountain, surrounded by the Gunnison National Forest and the Elk Mountain Range, is the birthplace of extreme skiing!
Mounte Crested Butte, the birthplace of extreme skiing! — Photo courtesy of Carri Wilbanks
Skiing at Mount Crested Butte
It’s easy to see why Mount Crested Butte is such the skiing destination, with runs like Rambo, which is the steepest cut run in North America. It has a 55-degree pitch and a length of 300 meters!
More options for double black runs can be found at the top of the mountain, where steep and rocky terrain – including bowls, chutes, glades and mandatory cliff jumps – easily make this mountain one of the most daring in the country.
But Crested Butte Mountain Resort isn’t just a destination for those looking for challenging terrain. Intermediate and beginner skiers and boarders in search of double greens, blues and double blues will find their fare share of fun among the 120 trails spread across the mountain.
To really tune up your skills, book a lesson (Both private and groups are available.) at the Crested Butte Ski and Ride School. With pro guides, you'll definitely make strides with your skiing. The enthusiastic guides act more like coaches than instructors; you'll feel like your skiing goes up to a new level.
Fat Biking on the Trail
Crested Butte is one of the leaders of the pack when it comes to the fat biking craze. These bikes are set up like a traditional mountain bike but have much wider and thicker wheels, with a much lower tire pressure to help riders grip snow.
For some of the closest trails to the ski mountain, check out North Village, where Crested Butte Mountain Resort grooms trails specifically for fat biking. You will find trails for all levels.
More experienced riders will love challenging climbs and fast descents. Those newer to the sport can choose to stay on rolling hills and find a thrill on some of the high-banked turns. There's always the chance of falling, especially in soft snow. But don’t let fear seep in, because you'll land in a pile of fresh powder!
Tip: Park at the Snodgrass Mountain Trail trailhead.
Relaxing at Elevation Spa
After a day on the mountain, check out the Elevation Hotel and Spa at the base. Treatments include massages, facials and body wraps.
Our top pick is the Elevation Signature Facial, which is customized to your skin using a product line called Eminence, a plant-based organic product line that doesn’t use any pesticides or hormones.
Spa treatments include use of the fitness center, tranquility and steam rooms, pool and tub.
Shuttles run between town and Crested Butte Mountain Resort every 15 minutes. In downtown, you'll find delicious restaurants, boutiques and outdoor sports shops.
If you're looking for more outdoor activities, head to the Crested Butte Nordic Center, where you can rent snowshoes and cross-country ski equipment before exploring nearby trails.
Staying at The Nordic Inn
The Nordic Inn is the longest operating lodge in the county. It opened in 1963, at a time when black and white photos show only the inn, ski resort and a few cabins set up on the mountain.
A husband and wife team, Ken and Kim Stone, are two of the new owners who have recently updated the property with modern mountain décor.
Each morning, guests can enjoy a continental breakfast in the common area, where the best seat in the house is in front of the roaring fireplace. But post skiing, the best seat in the house is in the hot tub on the back deck.
There are several room types available, including a chalet that sleeps up to eight people and standard rooms that sleep two to four people. There are also 13 pet-friendly rooms, so this is definitely one of the best options to book if you're bringing your furry buddy along.
Best of all, The Nordic Inn is about a 5-minute walk or 2-minute complimentary golf cart ride to the base area.