We’ve become increasingly suspicious that Crested Butte locals and return vacationers have been doing their best to keep the resort’s world-class terrain, historic downtown and lack of lift lines a secret—and we wouldn’t blame them. We apologize in advance to those who want to keep Crested Butte to themselves, but we’re blowing your cover with our list below of the 7 surprising things you didn’t know about Crested Butte.
Crested Butte is close to two convenient airports
Crested Butte enjoys very few crowds and short lift lines, which leads us to believe there’s a misconception that Crested Butte is a destination that’s hard to get to. In fact, the resort is 35 minutes from Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport (GUC) and about 1.5 hours from Montrose Regional Airport (MTJ).
Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport is serviced by American Airlines and United Airlines. The airport is serviced by United Airlines, which offers daily direct—and twice daily during holiday periods—to and from Denver (DEN) and daily flights to and from Houston (IAH) from Dec. 18, 2014 to Jan. 5, 2015 and Saturday flights through April 4, 2015. United also flies direct from Chicago (ORD) to Gunnison on Saturdays and Sundays from Dec. 20, 2014 through April 4, 2015. American Airlines offers daily flights—and twice daily during holiday periods—to and from Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW).
Montrose is serviced by United Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Allegiant Air. In the winter months, United Airlines provides direct flights to and from Newark (EWR) and Houston (IAH); American Airlines offers direct flights to and from Dallas (DFW) and Chicago (ORD); Delta Air Lines provides direct flights to and from Atlanta (ATL); Allegiant Air offers direct flights to and from Los Angeles (LAX) and Phoenix/Mesa (PHX).
Crested Butte’s terrain is nearly 60 percent intermediate
A birthplace of extreme skiing, Crested Butte is renowned in core skier circles as a proving ground for expert skiers. The ski resort has held The Extremes big mountain competition, a stop on the Freeride World Tour, for the last 23 years. It’s no secret that expert skiers and snowboarders will love challenging themselves in the double-black terrain in the upper reaches of the resort, but the real surprise for those who have never been to Crested Butte is that 60 percent of the resort’s terrain is intermediate.
The runs off the East River Chairlift and Paradise Express lift provide intermediate and advanced intermediate skiers and snowboarders with everything from wide-open cruisers, trees and picture-perfect mogul runs to thousands of vertical feet of fully gladed runs.
Most of Crested Butte’s lodging is slopeside or ski in ski out
Everything is walkable in Crested Butte’s base village, and most of the resort’s accommodations are conveniently located there or nearby. Whether you’re staying at accommodations situated in the base village, like the Lodge at Mountaineer Square, Grand Lodge or Plaza, or condominiums located slightly above the base village on the slopes, like the Buttes, you’re just a couple steps or turns from the chairlifts.
Crested Butte doesn’t have any national chain stores
You won’t find any Subways, Starbucks or McDonald’s in Crested Butte, and that’s something Crested Butte residents take pride in. The community has worked hard to support the many locally owned mom-and-pop stores, cafes, restaurants, bars and art galleries that line historic Elk Avenue.
Crested Butte has added new steep and deep terrain for the 2014/15 ski season
This year expert skiers and snowboarders have even more to love about Crested Butte. The resort announced in November 2014 that they will be opening 40 new acres of expert terrain just off Teocalli Bowl for the 2014/15 ski season as conditions allow. Resort operations spent a good deal of summer 2014 clearing trees in the area. The new terrain has been named Teocalli 2, or “Teo 2,” and will offer steeps and open-powder-field skiing as well as glades and pillow drops. Getting back to the resort after skiing in Teo 2 requires a 20- to 30-minute hike.
Crested Butte Mountain Resort is hoping to expand service in the Teocalli Drainage in the coming years; the plans include two additional lifts and additional intermediate terrain.
Crested Butte is surrounded by 2 million acres of US National Forest Service land
Outdoor, off-resort adventures seem endless thanks to the two million acres of US National Forest Service land that surround Crested Butte. National forests are managed, protected public lands that provide environmental and wildlife preservation as well as recreational opportunities. Some of the top outdoor activities in Crested Butte include Nordic skiing along the town’s 55 kilometers (34 miles) of maintained trails, backcountry cat skiing in Irwin, guided backcountry touring and hut trips, guided backcountry snowmobiling, guided snowshoe tours, dog sled tours and winter horse-back tours.
Crested Butte locals really like to dress up and have a good time
From opening-day celebrations and on-hill holiday shenanigans to recreational uphill races and costumed cross-country events and icy pond skims in garb, Crested Butte events typically involve a costume element, as locals are always looking for a reason to break open their costume boxes. With a full gamut of fun and silly events, chances are good you will be witness to—or perhaps a participant in—one of these wacky festivals on your Crested Butte ski vacation.
Now that you know the 411, you’re probably considering a Crested Butte ski vacation so you can experience this unique, world-class and convenient ski resort. Be sure to enter to win our Crested Butte ski trip giveaway. If you don’t want to leave it to chance, start planning your Crested Butte ski vacation now! Our Mountain Travel Experts can help you customize and book your flights, rental cars, lodging and more on your Crested Butte ski vacation. Call or chat with one of them now! You can also customize and book your vacation with our online booking services or request a quote here.
Originally from the icy trails of New Jersey, I moved West to pursue powder and a career in writing and editing. Now in Aspen, Colo. and working for Ski.com managing the website and blog content, I couldn't be happier. You'll find me skiing at Aspen Mountain or Aspen Highlands in the winter and mountain biking at Snowmass in the summer.