Skiers who choose Crested Butte for a vacation destination are a savvy bunch.
“They know that it offers some of the best skiing in Colorado, without the long lift- line waits found at many other resorts, and that its affordability allows for more skiing and a longer stay,” says Michael Pariza, president of Boxer Resorts, the company now operating the Elevation Hotel & Spa in Crested Butte.
Don’t just take his word for it, though; Powder Magazine just voted Crested Butte as the "Best Ski Town in North America," beating out high-end resorts such as Aspen.
"About an 11- minute flight from Aspen, Crested Butte is a one of the last authentic ski towns in America. It has a small-town charm you cannot find anywhere else in North America,” adds Pariza.
Nestled at the base of Mt. Crested Butte, Elevation Hotel & Spa ensures that those savvy skiers need not give up comfort when taking advantage of value. The property was originally constructed in 1986 but underwent a $25-million renovation in 2009. Recently acquired and operated by Boxer Resorts, a sister company of Texas-based Boxer Property Management Corporation, guests today find an upscale ski lodge with warm, welcoming service befitting the area's quaintness.
Among many amenities, Elevation offers ski-in, ski-out privileges, courtesy of the hotel's prime location near the lifts and thanks to the hotel's ski valets, who bring equipment to guests and take it away for complimentary storage after their last run.
“There is definitely an advantage to being a few feet away from the lift lines in the base area. There’s no need to lug your equipment around the mountain or to take a shuttle back to the hotel to get ready for dinner,” says Pariza.
Skiers find themselves catered to off the slopes, as well. They can soothe sore muscles with a massage or hot-tub soak at the hotel's 11,000-square-foot spa, and its menu of treatments includes facials and bodywraps that rejuvenate skin dried by mountain air. The state-of-the-art fitness center, sauna, steam room and heated, indoor pool also help guests recover and relax during their stay.
Chefs at the hotel's 9380 restaurant keep skiers in mind, too. The menu offers tasty and filling American dishes that satisfy after a day spent on the snow. A large outdoor deck sits just steps from the lifts and draws a crowd for après ski drinks, with heaters and a fire pit creating a cozy atmosphere despite the chilly temps.
To fully warm up, guests can head indoors to sit beside one of the hotel's dramatic two-sided fireplaces enjoying a favorite vintage during the hotel's complimentary wine hour, or they can return to the comfort of their room. The contemporary, mountain-chic design of the public areas extends to the 262 rooms and suites, each of which features luxurious bedding, a large LCD TV and granite kitchenette. Views from the balcony differ depending on the level of accommodations, but none disappoint whether mountain, valley or courtyard.
As part of the changes Boxer Resorts has in store for the hotel, it plans to remain open year-round and attract more families to the area. The hotel offers a variety of family-friendly amenities — rooms with sleeper sofas, laundry facilities and the previously mentioned indoor pool that kids just love — but many parents have a misconception about the skiing.
"The mountain is known for its challenging ski runs. What a lot of people don't know, though, is that there are many family-friendly trails," Pariza says. In fact, three new trails just for kids opened with the 2013-2014 ski season, and lessons are available for skiers as young as 3 years of age."
To Go: Direct flights are available to Crested Butte from Houston and Dallas airports, with convenient flights from Austin. Stay tuned for more features about Elevation Hotel & Spa as well as Insider Offers for accommodations.
Tod's Tip: When leaving the airport, ask your driver to stop by the grocery store in Gunnison. Elevation Hotel & Spa stocks your suite with coffee, coffee filters and tea, but you will want to pick up essential snacks. Also, a $5 to 10 tip per person is appreciated by your driver. After all, instead of ripping up the north face, he or she is driving you around. Lame! — Tod Eason, CultureMap co-founder and managing partner