Terrain distinct to Crested Butte

Crested Butte Mountain Resort’s terrain is truly one-of-a-kind, especially for challenge-seeking experts. In the resort’s famed “Extremes” terrain, the upper portion of the mountain, experts have some funky stuff to test their mettle on. You can find everything from tight, tree-lined chutes that max out at 47 degrees and pillow tops that beg to to be hopped down to open powder fields with plenty of huck-worthy cliffs. In addition to the pure distinctness of CBMR’s terrain, is its variety. Few ski resorts can boast both a unique array of steep, billy goat-style terrain, one lift dedicated to nearly a dozen beginner trails and awesome intermediate-advanced friendly cruisers and glades.

To help you experience these special resort features, we’ve compiled a round-up of don’t-miss ski terrain for beginners, intermediates and experts.

Red Lady Express Lift

Red Lady Crested ButtePhoto: CBMR

At CBMR, green-circle skiers and riders have a lift all to themselves! Red Lady Express Lift transports beginners from the base area to a wide variety of spacious, well-groomed green runs. Plus, Red Lady Express offers access to two of three resort’s three on-mountain restaurants. Beginners skiing off the Red Lady can ski right up to the famed Uley’s Cabin & Ice Bar, located along Lower Twister, or head down Houston, Mineral Point or Smith Hill towards the Progression Park to enjoy a meal or refreshment at the new Umbrella Bar at Ten Peaks.

East River Glades

glade skiing Crested ButtePhoto: CBMR

The gladed runs off the East River Express Lift are perfect for strong intermediate and advanced skiers looking for well-spaced, playful trees. The pitch isn’t too steep and a groomed run is always near by in case you need to bail out. Bakery Trees is especially renowned for this type of glade skiing and riding. Hop on Gallowich or Lower Treasury to access these unforgettable trees. When the dogs start barking, you’re just a quick cruise down Daisy (from the top of East River Express) to Paradise restaurant, a great spot to refuel, rest and warm-up.

The Extremes

The Extremes Crested ButtePhoto: CBMR

Accessed by two t-bars and featuring four main “zones,” The Extremes are the heart and soul of what makes skiing in Crested Butte so different from anywhere else. The North Face area, Spellbound Bowl and Third Bowl are all accessed via North Face Lift, while Headwall, Teocalli Bowl and Teo 2 and the Peak are accessed via The High Lift.

Here’s a zone breakdown from looker’s right to left, starting from CBMR’s craggy butte:

To get more detailed info each zone, check out our post “How to ski Crested Butte’s Extremes”>>>

Peak


One of the most iconic views in all of Crested Butte is the jutting peak that rises from the resort. What’s even cooler is that the terrain off the Peak, closest to the Silver Queen chairlift, is skiable. Often closed for avalanche safety, this zone requires some advanced traversing, but the views and the 2,000-foot descent are worth the effort.

Headwall


One of the most accessible of the Extreme zones, Headwall is loocated above Paradise Express and accessed by The High Lift. Headwall offers big-mountain-style skiers and riders variety of options, including long, chalky gullies and technical, rock-peppered chutes (like Angle Gully and Powder 8 Gully), which lead into a wide, open powder field (or mogul field depending on conditions).

Teocalli Bowl + Teo 2


In Teocalli Bowl, skier’s choice is the name of the game. Just about every style and preference can be enjoyed in this zone, including steep, fall-line shots and steep glades (skier’s left; see trail map below). There are plenty of opportunities to enjoy cliffs and small drops, as well as technical tree skiing (see center of the trail map). To experience CBMR’s newest terrain, head skier’s right to Teo 2. Here you can carve up 40 acres of powdery fields and glades and even test your gumption on some cliff drops. When it’s all said and done, you’ll have a 20- to 30-minute hike from the boundary line back to the lifts.

North Face

North Face Crested ButtePhoto: CBMR

Thanks to its close proximity to the North Face Lift, the North Face zone is perfect for bagging quick, steep and deep laps and continuously increasing the challenge. If you’re on the hunt for some air-time the North Face Cliffs area provides everything from 10-foot to 50-foot drops or a 300-foot, sans cliff steep and deep descent. For steep, playful terrain head over to Sock-It-To-Me Ridge from Hawk’s Nest. Here, you have your pick of chutes featuring everything from 49-degree steeps to five- to 15-foot mandatory airs.

Spellbound + Third Bowl


The far looker’s left zone of Spellbound and Third Bowl may not be the easiest to get to, but the traverse and short hike ensure less skier and rider traffic and more untouched lines. Plus, if you’re looking to open it up and rip some powdery turns, this is the spot. Of course, there’s plenty of hairy options, too. For technical pillow drops, gullies and 47-degree steeps dotted with trees, head to Staircase in Spellbound. To launch off the resort’s most famed cliff, Space Rock, a 30-footer, head to East L.A. in Third Bowl.  For a range of moderate to challenging pillows, make your way to Toilet Bowl in Third Bowl.

Note: Spellbound and Third Bowl are the last to open up after a snow storm, and depending on the season’s snowfall, sometimes it doesn’t open at all.


Ready to experience this terrain distinct to Crested Butte? Our 70+ Mountain Travel Experts are standing by at 800-610-8911 for your call. You can also get started by filling out a form for a free, custom quote.

About Author: Leah Boucher
Originally from the icy trails of New Jersey, I moved West to pursue powder and a career in writing and editing. Now living in Aspen, Colo. and working for Ski.com as Director of SEO + Content, I've been able to combine a litany of skills, passions and interests. You'll find me skiing at Aspen Mountain or Aspen Highlands in the winter and mountain biking at Snowmass in the summer.

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