Crested Butte

Closed
Crested butte
Heather Burke
SnowPak Local Insider
Heather Burke

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • 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

Overall

5

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!
Airplane

FLY TO

Denver International Airport

Car

DRIVE/SHUTTLE TO

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

Find accommodations around here

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.

Families

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
uncrowded
snow
back country
value for money
average total snowfall136″ 179″

Crested Butte Reviews

Fabulous

4.5 / 5

based on 39 reviews

How well the resort caters for beginner skiers / boarders

Beginners

How well the resort caters for intermediate skiers / boarders?

Intermediates

How well the resort caters for advanced skiers / boarders

Advanced

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

Accessibility

Quality of the off-piste terrain

Side/Backcountry

Overall value for money of the resort

Value for money

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

Lifts

Quantity and quality of the snow

Snow

How uncrowded is the resort

Uncrowded

Après ski and dining options

Town

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

Facilities

How family friendly is this resort?

Family Friendliness
Very Good!

4 / 5

Oct 23, 2009
MMelissa
I loved CB b/c the lift was not too crowded so the lines were not too long and the skiing condition was wonderful!
Superb!

5 / 5

Jun 15, 2009
TTom
Ski resort has all types of skill levels and mountain is most beautiful of all
Superb!

5 / 5

Aug 19, 2008
YYvonne
Its just really beautiful. This was our first time skiing and it was a great experience.
Very Good!

4 / 5

Apr 08, 2008
TTom
Just a fantastic spot; loved the on-mountain dining choices. Big mountain skiing with a small mountain feel.
Very Good!

4 / 5

Feb 28, 2008
DDebbie
This place affords our family a condo situation, Eagle Ridge, and so for many years that was the place to be. altho compact it offers tremendous opportunity to families, young people and older as well. From dining, to georgeous air ballooning excursions, Crested butte offers something for everyone.
Superb!

5 / 5

Nov 13, 2006
KKyle
It is where skiers go to ski, not to walk around in furs and be seen.
Very Good!

4 / 5

Aug 02, 2006
TTyrone
Loved the ski in and ski out lodging. The local atmosphere was extremely nice.
Superb!

5 / 5

Apr 09, 2005
NNikki
When in Crested Butte I had the best time ever. The snow was perfect, not ice or man made like at many other resorts. It snowed every day so it was always fresh powder.
Superb!

5 / 5

Dec 14, 2004
AAnnie
It is a great place to go - The mountain is fantastic from beginners to advanced. The north face is great as it is only accessed by pommer so it keeps the crowds out. The village is like something out of a disney movie. It is easy ot get around with the free bus and everyone is so friendly - even the dogs are happy!
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