Crested Butte, Colorado, attracts skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels — from beginners, who find plenty of green-circle trails on which to learn, to experts ready to explore the mountain's famous extreme terrain. The area itself has much to offer off the slopes, as well.
With that in mind, here are 10 great reasons to vacation in Crested Butte during ski season:
1. Crested Butte Mountain Resort has 1,547 skiable acres.
The mountain gets 300 inches of snow per year, covering 121 trails and two terrain parks. Difficulty ratings of trails break down into 27 percent beginner, 57 percent intermediate and 16 percent advanced, providing just about any skiing opportunity imaginable.
2. Skiers find short lift lines.
"The lift lines are a fraction of what they are at other Colorado mountains. Combined with the high-speed lifts, you can ski down the mountain and be back on a trail within five minutes," says Michael Pariza, president of Boxer Resorts, sister company to Texas-based Boxer Property Management Corporation and operator of Elevation Hotel & Spa in Crested Butte. "You can fit in a lot more skiing in a day here than you can elsewhere."
3. Visitors can stay in a ski-in, ski-out hotel at the base of Mt. Crested Butte at the Elevation Hotel & Spa.
Offering ski-in, ski-out accommodations, Elevation Hotel & Spa sits just feet from the lift lines and provides ski valet service. There are 262 spacious guest rooms and suites on the property, plus an 11,000-square-foot spa with state-of-the-art fitness center and two new outdoor hot tubs overlooking the beautiful mountains, all of which help skiers and snowboarders relax and recover after a long day on the slopes.
Click here for more features about Elevation Hotel & Spa as well as Insider Offers for accommodations.
4. Lessons take students to the next level.
Both group and private lessons are available on the mountain, teaching all abilities how to improve turning and parallel skills, as well as how to better navigate everything from bumps and powder to extremes and steeps. You can even take a clinic with Wendy Fisher, Olympian and World Extreme Freeskiing Champion.
5. Spectators can watch world-class skiers compete.
Crested Butte Mountain Resort hosts multiple skiing competitions and events throughout the season:
IFSA Junior Freeskiing Competition —The International Free Skiers Association holds a regional event Feb. 1 and 2.
Freeskiing Extremes — Those who compete Feb. 13 through 16 have a chance to qualify for the Swatch Freeride World Tour by the North Face.
The Dan Prater Memorial Cup — Colorado's top 12- and 13-year-old racers compete in this annual race, which celebrates its 34th year in 2014. The Feb. 20 though 23 event serves as a qualifier for the U14 Junior Championships.
USSMA Nationals — The United States Ski Mountaineering Association holds its Ski Mountaineering National Championship March 14 through 16 at the resort. Skiers from across North America compete in an uphill, guide ridge climb and downhill race.
6. The Crested Butte area offers other snowy fun.
The Nordic Center in Crested Butte features nearly 30 miles of tracks groomed for classic and skate cross-country skiing. Snowshoe, dogsled and horseback tours are available, allowing an opportunity to encounter area wildlife such as elk, mule dear and big horn sheep. Those who prefer to power a vehicle across the snowy terrain can learn how to drive a Snowcat at Crested Butte Mountain Resort or rent a snowmobile.
7. Crested Butte remains an authentic ski town.
Dubbed "Colorado's Last Great Ski Town," visitors appreciate the relaxed pace and lack of crowds found in Crested Butte. "Powder Magazine" just named Crested Butte the "Best Ski Town in North America," in fact. Designated a National Historic District in 1974, the former mining village features vibrantly painted Victorian storefronts, but not a Starbucks in sight.
8. Dining and drinking opportunities abound.
Guests and locals alike gather at Elevation Hotel & Spa's 9380 restaurant and bar for delicious food and après ski drinks, which can be enjoyed on the resort's huge outdoor deck kept cozy by heaters and a large firepit. Dozens of other restaurants offer a variety of cuisines and cocktails in Crested Butte proper.
9. Shoppers can get their fix in Crested Butte.
There are more than a few establishments selling skiing apparel and equipment, of course, but shopping opportunities also include trendy boutiques, book and toy stores and dessert shops.
10. Experts do the driving.
Those who don't handle snowy roads well can take advantage of the Town Shuttle, which connects Crested Butte and the mountain. It drops off and picks up every 15 minutes during ski season. Guests of Elevation Hotel & Spa also enjoy free shuttle service into town.
Tod's Tip: Grab a slice or an entire pie at Secret Stash on Elk Avenue in Crested Butte. Pizza just tastes better when your brain is starved for oxygen at 9300 feet! The restaurant also offers gluten-free options.
— Tod Eason, CultureMap co-founder and managing partner.
To Go: Convenient flights are available to Crested Butte from Houston, Dallas and Austin airports. Click here for more features about Elevation Hotel & Spa as well as Insider Offers for accommodations.