NOTES: North of Gunnison and Crested Butte, the Crested Butte ski area has 11 lifts accesing 121 runs spread over 1,200 acres with a maximum vertical of 2,800 feet, that is popular for snowboarding. On the slopes of Mount Crested Butte, Crested Butte Mountain Resort has more double-black diamond runs than any other resort in Colorado. This is an extremely boarder-friendly mountain due to its conical shape. When rarely needed, the traverses from back to front are even nicely sloped with minimal hiking required, in any.
For starters, take the high-speed Silver Queen Lift from the base area (9,375), which provides excellent access almost all the way to the summit (12,162 ). Try the double blacks Peel or Forest (both require lots of snow to open) or consider taking the High Lift (t-bar) to access the steeps and chutes of the double-black diamond Headwall. If you are really adventurous, try the hike to the summit for a total vertical drop to the base of 3,062 feet.
On pow days early season, head back early to the Double Top Glades off the East River Lift. If you are up for a challenge and theres enough snow, catch the North Face Lift (t-bar) to drop off the North Face into Phoenix bowl with plenty of glades, chutes and drops.
For apres ski in the base area, try the privately-owned Avalanche Bar or the Brown Lab Pub.
For some nightlife, youll need to head down into the Town of Crested Butte. Start with dinner at the Old Croation Restaurant in the Forest Queen building, head next door to Kochevars Bar and then work back down the street at the Eldo, LoBar, and then late night head to the Talk Of The Town.
Out of downtown Crested Butte, there is a cat-skiing operation, CS Irwin, which heads up west to the Irwin lake backcountry. It's alittle pricey, but it is a very well run operation with a great snow safety program.
Tip: If you are planning a trip from Denver, try checking out the ski shows or the ski movie premieres for discount lift ticket coupons. Alternately, while driving up from Gunnison, try checking out the liquor stores for Coors cases which sometimes have half price coupons.
Additional printed reading material on Crested Butte Mountain Resort snowboarding can be found in Snowboard Resort Guide 2013 by from Chris Gill.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Crested Butte Mountain Resort (800) 8107669; CO Visitors (800) COLORADO; Crested Butte Avalanche Center (970) 349-4022; Powder Tools Board Shop, Mt Crested Butte.
SEASON: Dec. - Mar.
BREAKFAST JOINT: Paradise Cafe; Camp 4 Coffee; Bachnalle AM
BASE CAMP: Butte Bunk, Mt Crested Butte (303) 309-0911