Crested Butte

Heather Burke
SnowPak Local Insider
Heather Burke
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  • Exceptional in-bounds skiing for experts
  • Remote location keep crowds to a minimum
  • Avoids the notorious traffic of the I-70
  • Charming town and local mountain feel
  • Ample accommodation options
  • Far from Denver (4 hours drive)
  • Resort gets less snow than other Colorado resorts, steep expert slopes can take a while to open
  • Limited nightlife
  • Small size, skiable terrain might feel limited for non-experts

Unlike the some of the more corporate ski resorts in Colorado, Crested Butte offers up a local mountain atmosphere and some gnarly terrain to go with it. That's not to say there's nothing here for beginners and intermediates; the wide long greens and fast blues here are sure to please as well. Located in the southwestern Rocky Mountains, Crested Butte is a far 4-hour drive from Denver although this keeps crowds to a minimum.

17/18 Historical Snowfall

Best month to go

January to Early March

The best months to visit are January to Early March. During January, Crested Butte peaks with snowfall and conditions are still good even if it hasn’t snowed for a couple days. Near the start of March, however, you are more likely to catch a bluebird day just before Spring Break crowds come in!


Denver International Airport


Crested Butte (4.5 hours)

Base of Crested Butte (Walk)

  • Ski-in/ski-out lodging available
  • Wide range of affordable to luxury accommodation
  • Great package deals available

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Crested Butte (2-3 mi)

  • Town - 10 minutes drive from resort
  • Large range of dining and shopping options
  • Cheaper accommodation than base

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Gunnison (27-30 mi)

  • Town - 40 minute drive from resort
  • Cheaper lodging than the resort and Crested Butte
  • Variety of dining options

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Almont (17-20 mi)

  • Small historic town
  • Slightly closer to the resort than Gunnison
  • Limited range of accommodation

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For beginners

Despite being well known for its expert terrain, Crested Butte serves up a number of wide long beginner trails off the top of Red Lady Express Lift! With mostly green runs here beginners can ski from the top to the base without having to worry about more experienced skiers speeding past. Our favorite long runs Houston or Lower Keystone to Warming House Hill!

For intermediates

Crested Butte serves up long and fast blue runs, some of which might be considered more like a black at other resorts. There are a handful of scenic blues at the top of the Gold Link Lift and Paradise Express Lift but Paradise Bowl is our ultimate favorite. It has a variety of terrain from groomed GS type turns to moguls! Step it up on the steeper Upper Forest Queen!

For experts

With 542 ac of terrain rated as double black diamonds and a minimum pitch of 50 degrees, Crested Butte is an expert's dream. If you've seen Warren Miller's films, you can expect to see the same type of extreme terrain here at the top of North Face and The High T-Bars like Teocalli Bowl and Headwall. Otherwise, International and its surrounding runs are fast advanced trails!

Find freshies

Given Crested Butte's remote location and uncrowdedness, fresh snow doesn't get tracked out quickly! The runs off the North Face lift are quite difficult so not many skiers go here which means the snow lingers for longer! The runs off the East River Express is also an unsuspecting area that gets overlooked for freshies since it's not high up the mountain.

Ditch the crowds

Crested Butte is generally uncrowded though the Paradise Express lift can get quite busy as it's one of the main lifts that give access to the most popular intermediate and expert terrain. Hop on just before lunch hour to dodge the queues! Alternatively, ski quieter terrain off the Gold Link lift, the East River Express lift, and Prospect lift.

Non skiers

Crested Butte offers a range of fun things to do for non-skiers including flyfishing, dogsledding and horseback rides! Best of all Crested Butte is home to some of the most scenic fat-biking and snowshoeing trails! Crested Butte also has its own little winter adventure park with miniature golf and bungee trampolines.


Crested Butte is great for families with fantastic slopes and everything they need at the base. Beginner-level families have the entire lower mountain around Red Lady Express Lift all to themselves and its close proximity to the base makes it easy to take a break and warm up in the lodge.

Crested Butte vs
Crested ButteArapahoe Basin
beginner26 %10 %
intermediate57 %30 %
advanced14 %37 %
expert3 %23 %
total runs121 109
ski area1,547ac 960ac
summit elevation12,162ft 13,050ft
total lifts11 8
child lift ticketFree Free
adult lift ticket$120 $100
back country
value for money
average total snowfall136″ 180″
Save up to 37% when you book a Crested Butte package! View Crested Butte packages

Crested Butte Reviews

Fabulous 4.5 / 5
based on 39 reviews

How well the resort caters for beginner skiers / boarders


How well the resort caters for intermediate skiers / boarders?


How well the resort caters for advanced skiers / boarders


How accessible and convenient it is to get to this resort from a major destination


Quality of the off-piste terrain


Overall value for money of the resort

Value for money

Quality of lifts, lift speed and lift layout in the resort


Quantity and quality of the snow


How uncrowded is the resort


Après ski and dining options


Services and facilities e.g. child care, tubing, health care, equipment hire


How family friendly is this resort?

Family Friendliness
Superb!4.5 / 5Nov 24, 2017
DJDaniel J.
expert snowboarder
Crested Butte is the place to go if you're looking for the full Colorado mountain town experience. It has it all. Awesome views, killer food and bars, and really for what you get the prices on just about everything can't be beat. Look for the ski and on mountain lodging deals, so affordable. If you're looking for a challenge get to the top of the... More
Fabulous!4.3 / 5Nov 23, 2017
NFNate F.
expert skier
Created Bitte was as good as I could have hoped for. The snow was amazing from the day we arrived to the day we left. Powder, powder, powder was the name of the game and when the powder was gone the terrain offered plenty of interesting options to explore and enjoy. I would say Colorado over a Utah any day! Get out here and enjoy. ... More
Very Good!4 / 5Nov 22, 2017
expert skier
Amazing resort with some of the best views of any resort in the world. Crested Butte has the best offering of extreme terrain you could hope for and is far enough from the beaten path to keep lines short and enough fresh snow for everyone.... More
Fabulous!4.4 / 5Nov 22, 2017
expert snowboarder
I had the RMSP+ in 2016-2017 and I definitely took my favorite run of the season at Crested Butte on a pow day. The expert terrain is some of the best I've ever snowboarder.... More
Superb!4.5 / 5Nov 18, 2017
CKChris K.
expert skier
Crested Butte will spoil you forever.Every level of Skier or Snow boarder will have the time of their lives..on and off the slopes..I was lucky enough to ski there when I was 12 and live there in my 20 s..... More
Good!3.9 / 5Nov 14, 2017
CBCChristian B C.
expert snowboarder
It's a great resort if you know how to ski or snowboard and you like double black steeps. There are pretty much no crowds because it's far away from Denver and other major cities. The town of crested butte is easily the best ski town in Colorado, no contest, it's actually a town and not just a resort Highway nightmare ... More
Fabulous!4.5 / 5Nov 11, 2017
RKRon K.
expert skier
Loved it here more before it grew up so much, the burden of progress. Some of the best double black skiing around, love everything off the North Face lift. But still enough terrain for green and blue skiers.... More
Fabulous!4.3 / 5Nov 11, 2017
BUBrent U.
intermediate snowboarder
My buddy and I decided to take our annual "Dad / Daughter" snowboarding trip to Crested Butte and it was AWESOME! We stayed at the Grand Lodge right next to the slopes. Crested Butte was everything we could've hoped for in a destination ....from the cool town to the restaurants to the night time bars for us after the "Teens" were in for the... More
Poor!1.3 / 5Nov 11, 2017
JGJay G.
advanced skier
Loved the laid back vibe, definitely one of my favorite mountains. First class skiing and even better festivities!! Can't wait to go back to the Dogwood for the best cocktails in CO!... More
Superb!4.5 / 5Nov 06, 2017
expert skier
Had a great time. The locals showed me some great spots of the upper toe. Super friendly people and an awesome town! Try the breakfast sandwich place on the way up.... More

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