It's no wonder the privately owned Crested Butte Mountain Resort (CBMR) is on the edge of becoming a full-blown destination resort—in some ways similar to that of its long distance neighbor Telluride—however it somehow manages to maintain a relaxed, local and very backcountry feel. Friend and CBMR's Communication Director, Todd Walton comments, "As change occurs, we maintain a profound respect for what has made Crested Butte 'Colorado's Last Great Ski Town.' It is exactly that spirited nature, commitment to preservation and dedicated community that makes Crested Butte the perfect destination for anyone wanting to break out of the typical." Shhhh...best part is, now we get all the plush amenities of a big ski town without any of the attitude or crowds. Check out the video above for a small taste of a day spent at CBMR.
We felt extremely privileged to be invited to checkout and ride the mountains in late December to kick-off our ski season. Folded into a crescent shaped section of the Colorado Rockies Elk Mountain Range (this formation traps weather systems dumping huge amounts of snow in the process) at the very end of a two lane road, getting out to CBMR is surprisingly easy. New direct flights serve Gunnison allowing you to jump right into the secluded area of southwestern Colorado. United, American and Delta all offer direct jets into Gunnison from select cities, and Crested Butte Vacations has a ski for free package if you fly with Delta).
We had four days of epic riding and skiing in early December. One day we were even taken out by local pros Quiggle and Eric, who showed us a few of their favorite areas and stashes—both make cameos in the video above. With the base at 9,000 feet and the peak at just under 13,000 feet, there are plenty of first tracks and challenging terrain for any level. In fact, CBMR has been voted "Best Steeps" numerous times by Ski Magazine.
The ultra-challenging Teocalli Bowl and North Face Lift opened a couple weeks back and daredevils have been enjoying it everyday since. CBMR also recently completed renovations to their new DC Terrain Park. Updates include a draw dropping half-pipe and broken out sections for experts and beginners offering hits, jumps, tabletops and rails for all levels.
After a long day of riding we'd head over to the newly opened Elevation Hotel and Spa located at the base of the mountain for a few drinks. Our favorite was the newly invented Communication Breakdown—a White Russian with just enough espresso to get us through the night. After a few rounds we'd walk across the courtyard to Django's where husband and wife team Kate and Chris Ladoulis offer a wide range of tapas, new american cuisine and an impressive wine list. It was exactly what we needed before jumping in the outdoor hot-tub located at the Mountaineer Square Lodge, where we stayed in a nicely appointed 3-bedroom, 3-bathroom penthouse suite (images of the interior after the jump).
If summer is more appealing time to visit a mountain resort, the Wildflower Capitol of Colorado has you covered. There are world class biking and hiking trails, and plenty of streams and rivers to fish from during the warmer months.
Stay tuned for part two of our review to hear more about all of the gear we tried out.
More images after the jump