NASTAR (National Standard Race) courses at 120 ski resorts across the country. The pay-per-race program started in 1968, and since then more than 6 million skiers and snowboarders have forked over a few dollars and hurtled down flag-marked slopes, weaving their way to the finish line. All ages and skill levels can compete, and the good ones earn bronze, silver, gold and platinum medals for their efforts.

Read Pamela LebLanc’s NASTAR experience in Crested Butte.

Spring Break brings ideal ski conditions.

Now that you’re persuaded, consider this: Crested Butte, Colo., is the Best Ski Town in America.

OK, OK, I know. I fall in love with every ski town I visit, from Lake Louise to Steamboat Springs to Alta to Jackson Hole and a dozen others. But if we’re talking just about towns here, I still take Crested Butte. The mountain offers some of the most extreme lift-served terrain in the country, but it’s the old mining town that stole my heart the first time I visited.

I’m still not sure whether it was the best fried chicken in America, which I ate at Slogar’s Restaurant, or the yellow and purple and blue Victorian shops and houses on every street. Though other ski towns shimmer with excess, Crested Butte slaps you on the shoulder like your best cousin, comfortable and casual and solid as a mountain underneath.

Read the full article by Pamela LeBlanc at www.statesman.com.

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An extract from Phil Marty’s “5 ways to be stunned by Colorado” in the Chicago Tribune:

Mountain bike

Wow moment: The Lower Loop Trail heading out of Crested Butte is ranked “easy,” as mountain bike trails out here go. But then you’re flying down or struggling up one of its hilly sections on a 12- to 18-inch wide single-track trail, dodging rocks in the path, and you notice that the outer edge of the trail drops off nearly straight down, promising a nasty 20- to 30-foot plunge if you slip up. It’s not the time to be rubbernecking. Save that for when you stop to catch your breath and marvel at the aspen- and pine-covered mountains rising around you.

Where: Crested Butte, sitting at nearly 9,000 feet in the very mountainous west-central part of the state northwest of Gunnison, is considered by many to be the country’s best mountain-biking destination. Trails of all skill levels form a web around the tiny, picturesque onetime mining town. And finding a trail often is as easy as just cruising the streets to the edge of town. But trail maps are readily available.

Full story here

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Does this look like a typical May? Karina Steele and Jayson Simons-Jones skied fresh powder on top of corn snow on Mount Axtel near Crested Butte last week. A stormy winter left a near record snowpack which locals say may keep them skiing all summer. ( DAVE PHILIPPS, THE GAZETTE)

CRESTED BUTTE – The chairlifts in this ski town of 1,600 tucked at the base of the Elk Mountains stopped a month ago, but the skiing didn’t.

Spring is always the top season for backcountry skiing: the days are warm, a winter of snow is still piled up and avalanche danger has largely melted away. This spring in parts of Colorado, the smorgasbord of ski choices is especially abundant.

The Butte saw the biggest winter in memory. One storm after another walloped the region with so much powder that when you ask locals at Endo’s, the main watering hole, how the season was, words won’t suffice. They whip out their iPhones and flip through a string of bragging-rights ski photos where nothing is showing above a spray of snow but goggles and Sybaritic grins.

There was over 35 feet of snow, with much more in the surrounding hills. The mountains around Aspen and Buena Vista also saw near-record snows. A cool spring kept it from melting. Now, the surrounding mountains are cloaked in more white stuffi than locals have seen in 50 years. The spring thaw is slowly turning it into corn snow – some of the sweetest, easiest and safest snow to ski in the backcountry. And skiers are taking full advantage.

‘People are saying the skiing will go all summer and into the fall,’ said local Ryan Opdahl recently.”

(Read the full article: Life: Record corn harvest | snow, skiing, spring : Gazette.com:

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The family rides back up the Red Lady lift for another shot down Crested Butte’s Roller Coaster or Mineral Point.

“In my family we’re even willing to give up a little individual freedom for the collective good, heeding a roster of rules enforced over the years by my father. The downhill commandments of “Ski Trip Dad,” as we call him, include: “No whining,” “Don’t bring more gear than you can carry,” “Don’t expect people to wait if you sleep in,” “Helmets required” and “Always stop at an intersection in the trail and wait for everyone else.”

(more…)

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Eileen Ogintz talks about her many family trips to Crested Butte:

"There are memories everywhere I look.

"We were just married — no kids yet — when friends from Texas
introduced us to Crested Butte Mountain Resort. A gem of a mountain (no
lift lines here!) just minutes on a free, festively painted shuttle bus
from the tiny (less than 2,500 people) town of Crested Butte, so
steeped in mining history that most of the downtown area, with its
wooden, multicolored, 19th-century buildings, is on the National
Register of Historic Places. (Ever see a two-story outhouse?)

"We’ve been back many times since with our kids, cousins and various
other relatives and everyone has as much affection for this place as we
do, even though its location in southwestern Colorado (about a
half-hour from Gunnison County Airport) makes it tougher to get to than
many mountain resorts.

""That’s our blessing and our curse,"
observes longtime local Joe Fitzpatrick, town manager of Mt. Crested
Butte. "You have to really want to come here," he says, "But once you
get here, you’re really rewarded.""

Read the full article: CNN:  "Taking the kids: To rustic Crested Butte"

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