Settle into your accommodations upon arrival Friday night and acclimate yourself to the environment. At more than a mile above sea level, it’s advisable to take it easy while you adjust to the altitude. Conveniently, though, it’s a good opportunity to explore the historic Victorian mining town of Crested Butte proper and its quaint streets, shops and pubs. Relax over a drink or try the small plates at Django’s Restaurant and Wine Bar.
Having done your advance research on specific ski areas based on your aptitude and desires, head off for a full day on the slopes after breakfast Saturday. Keep in mind, however, the array of other activities available in the area, particularly if you’re traveling with children or with non-skiers. The options include a tubing hill that’s lit for nighttime use, an Adventure Park at the base area of Crested Butte Mountain Resort (CBMR), lift-serve tubing, snowcat driving and day and moonlight snowshoe tours just at the resort itself. Other winter sports opportunities abound in the vicinity. One good way to improve your ski skills is CBMR’s terrain park program, which is designed to offer a clear progression to guests. You’ll surely be exhausted by day’s end, so enjoy dinner at the Franco-American bistro, Soupçon, or the romantic Eastside Bistro.
Kick off your Sunday morning with breakfast at your accommodations or at the well-regarded, family-friendly Izzy’s. Afterward, head off to a second day on the slopes or enjoy a full or part of the day experiencing a few other appealing aspects of the area. Consider learning more about the colorful and unique history of the town at Crested Butte Mountain Heritage Museum. Alternately, visit Montanya Distillers for a look at the operation and a taste of their award-winning artisanal rum. The Trailhead Children’s Discovery Museum is a fun option for kids and is located in the Outpost Building next to the Mt. Crested Butte base area. Scenic walks and drives abound, weather permitting, as well. End your Sunday and your Crested Butte experience with dinner at Marchitelli’s Gourmet Noodle, or enjoy heaping portions of Mexican-inspired fare at Teocalli Tamale. Whether you ski to the last possible moment or kick back and relax while taking in the view of the decidedly Shangri-La environment, you’re bound to take home memories to last a lifetime.
Grand Lodge Crested Butte is a full-service hotel located just 200 yards from the ski lifts at Crested Butte Mountain Resort. Comfortable, convenient and with a good mix of room configurations, the Grand Lodge also offers wi-fi, satellite television, refrigerators, coffee makers, in-room safes, hair dryers, irons and ironing boards and more. Amenities on the property include heated indoor/outdoor pool, spa, hot tub, fitness room, steam room, plus a welcoming restaurant and bar. www.skicb.com
Lodge at Mountaineer Square is located at the base area just steps away from the ski lifts and features studio, one, two, three, and four-bedroom suites with deluxe amenities, including indoor/outdoor heated swimming pool, outdoor hot tub, sauna and fitness room, bell, valet, concierge services and a full-service front desk. With nearby shuttle service available to whisk you to the heart of town and a cozy and friendly restaurant and pub setting on site, the Lodge at Mountaineer Square also benefits from lauded customer service. www.skicb.com
The Elevation Hotel & Spa is the only full-service ski-in, ski-out hotel at Crested Butte Mountain Resort and features 262 rooms and spacious suites. First class amenities abound, such as swimming pool, hot tub and wireless internet, spa treatments and fitness center and valet, bell and concierge services. Mountain views and slope-side dining accentuate the natural majesty of the setting. www.skicb.com
Access: Travelers can fly direct to Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport from markets that include Dallas/Ft. Worth, Denver and Houston. The Alpine Express shuttle provides transportation to town.
Population: Crested Butte, approx. 1,500; Mount Crested Butte, approx. 800
Climate: High altitude climate with severe weather possible in the winter, mild summers and extended periods of sun and snow on the edges of fall and spring.
Main Attraction: Skiing and snowboarding dominate activities at this “the last great Colorado ski town” in season, either at Crested Butte Mountain Resort or backcountry. Mountain biking, hiking, rock climbing, backpacking, kayaking and whitewater rafting are among the most popular activities in warmer months.
Play: Take a break from the slopes for free ice skating and sledding at Nordic Ski School in Crested Butte. Big Mine Skating Park is also free and oriented toward skateboarders.
Commute: The free shuttle from Crested Butte to Mount Crested Butte includes a handful of stops in town, augmenting the pedestrian nature of the historic Colorado village.
Judge: Crested Butte is one of the towns that claims to have hosted the launch of mountain biking. Evaluate the possibility and more at the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame and Museum, located at the Crested Butte Mountain Heritage Museum.