“The last great Colorado ski town.” Crested Butte holds tight to this claim; whether it’s true or not, you will have to decide for yourself. When talking to Coloradans who have explored the state from top to bottom, two places continuously come up—Telluride and Crested Butte, as must see locales. A mining town from the 1880’s, Crested Butte has never completely let go of its roots, filling the town with an extra sense of nostalgia.
While the town’s foundation is built on an old mining mentality, the quaint, colorful Victorians and bustling restaurants that line the streets definitely let you know times have changed. As you pull into downtown, you pass houses that resemble the Pacific Heights neighborhood of San Francisco, with the perfect touch of mountain décor. Saloon style bars, and a coffee shop covered in old rusty license plates shows off the character that you should expect from the majority of places in town. Here, you find a blend of corky and plush not found in many other places. The fact that it lies off the beaten path, away from the mega resorts, means the wealthy have staked their claim here as well.
Everyone can find what he or she needs in this town. Live music flows onto the streets from a couple local saloons filled with the younger crowd, while the delectable steakhouse holds families and couples looking for the higher end experience. It is truly a Colorado paradise, which even on a holiday will never feel like your average, over packed weekend in Breckenridge.
The town is reason enough to come, but the true life behind Crested Butte is the skiing. From the strip, you can see Red Lady Bowl, a backcountry access area not five minutes from Main Street. This is the first taste of the terrain that this area has to offer. If you’re looking for a quick ski tour, ask anyone in town and they will be able to point you in the right direction, giving you access to a wide-open bowl or a day bouncing through the glades.
If you’re headed to the resort, options are endless when looking for accommodations. The quaint cabins, updated condos, mountain villas, and the resort lodge will all make you feel at home. This is where you can feel the most change from Crested Butte’s mining roots. Although you can see town proper right below the resort, it almost feels as if you’ve made your way into another village. It’s all about the skiing up here. Once you’re off the hill for the day you will have a few tasty restaurants and coffee shops to warm you up from the slopes, giving you the true sense that the resort is it’s own town.
The mountain is nothing less than a skier’s utopia. The diversity in terrain and the lack of crowds allows Crested Butte to reveal the true meaning of “off the beaten path.” If you’re just warming up, the intermediate groomers offer rolling hills and even the opportunity to dip into the trees. Looking for tight trees or a few cliff drops? Check out the Paradise cliffs or the Banana area to get your steep on. The beauty that surrounds each turn on this mountain will have you planning an annual trip pretty quick. So, if you are looking for some of the best terrain in Colorado, short lift lines and adventure to be had around every corner I think giving Crested Butte a try is a safe bet. Enjoy.