National Geographic has listed Crested Butte as one of the “World’s 25 Best Ski Towns”. And they’ve hit the nail on the head: “You don’t come here to shop or be seen, you come here to ski and to revel in the surrounding Elk Mountains and one of the most eclectic, adventurous playgrounds in the Rockies.”
This face mask became a vital piece of kit. In fact, the difference between staying out and going home. This moisture-wicking, fleece-lined neoprene face guard gave great wind and water (read: driving wind and snow) protection.
The neofleece® face mask has vents/holes at nose and mouth which allowed easy breathing; we’ve tried pulling neck gaiters up over our noses in the past but quickly ran out of air.
The mask and integrated polyester fleece neck gaiter secures at the back with hook-and-loop tabs. Lycra® spandex binding trims the edges.
The mask tucked nicely under googles to give a draught-free fit and is cut so the back of the mask secures easily under the back of your helmet (yes, we all wear one, all the time). This mask/gaiter combo, combined with another neck gaiter and attractive skull cap, made a winning team in keeping the cold out and our heads toasty.
The downside: any inevitable nose seepage tends to accumulate on the inside of the mask, so if you’re carrying them for family members, make sure you know which one is yours… On a two-week trip ours hit the washing machine a couple of times.
But at $20 each, money well-spent. As I said, the difference between staying out, or going home.
Crested Butte is renowned for its extreme skiing but there a little gems of green and blue runs that are just plain nice to do – particularly for the kids. Bubba’s Shortcut – sandwiched between Mineral Point and Poverty Gulch – is one of those. At the beginning it’s narrow, tree-lined and only really wide enough for kids. Halfway down it opens out to some nice gentle undulations and finishes with a tuck-fest to try and get uphill on to Houston without having to pole.
The first section is very narrow and tough for adults to slow down, so I found it hard following the kids in – and had to bail out of the path to stop at one stage – but you can join about half-way down from Poverty Gulch. It’s not always groomed which can add the fun…
The kids only started to ski last year and had black runs in their sights this year (which they did) but they kept heading back to Bubba’s Shortcut every time they could…
One of the West’s best skier’s mountains debuts new terrain, lodging and dining. And that’s just the beginning.
Cruising up the Silver Queen Express in steady snowfall, it’s hard not to be amazed by how steep and narrow Crested Butte’s terrain is. Off to the right are a handful of chutes like Peel and Banana Funnel. The latter is currently socked in by low-hanging clouds. But it’s there. I know because when you drive into town on a clear day, it’s the first thing you see—a tight gulley running down the mountain that gives this small town its name. And if steep and narrow aren’t enough, the mountain also throws in rocks—rather, boulders—trees and plenty of cliff drops. Even the bowls are narrow by most mountain standards. It’s no wonder the U.S. Extreme Skiing Championships are held here every year.
Crested Butte Mountain Resort is a mountain at the end of the line—there’s only one main road into the valley—with big yearly snow and challenging skiing. It’s set just a few miles from its laid-back town, which lacks the megaresort high-rises, Starbucks and chain restaurants. For years, the resort was operated like it was still the 1970s, waiting to be unearthed and polished. Then came Tim and Diane Mueller who, in 2004, purchased the resort and started injecting millions of dollars. (The Muellers sold Crested Butte to CNL Properties last year, but are still managing the resort.) They’ve retained the Butte’s roughhewn feel—just sanded the edges a bit.
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.
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.
For the New England skier or snowboarder who has wondered what Tuckerman Ravine might be like with lift service, the answer is Crested Butte. Set in the beauty of Gunnison National Forest and the jagged peaks of the Rockies’ Elk Mountain Range, the resort about 230 miles southwest of Denver has a base elevation of 9,375 feet.
Its 121 trails provide well-manicured groomers for cruising and enough mountain panoramas to fill a memory card. The East River express serves up incredible vistas with fast-moving runs like Black Eagle and the half-bumped Resurrection. Bushwacker under the Teocalli lift is a wicked rolling run. Paradise Bowl is wide and easy, leading to some black diamond fun on Jokerville and signature International. Stop for a beer at the on-mountain Ice Bar restaurant and finish with a frosty apres-ski beverage at the chalet-style Avalanche at the base.
Joel Berliner, just wrote a spectacular piece about Crested Butte in the Milwaukee – Wisconsin Journal: “Crested Butte is truly an undiscovered gem, combining outrageous mountain skiing with a postcard-perfect vintage town of unquestionable charm.
“An emerging luxury resort that evokes the authenticity of Aspen 30 years ago, Crested Butte is developing an upscale character without sacrificing the qualities that make it exceptional. Tucked away in the Rocky Mountains, 20 miles north of Gunnison, Col., it may be the best-kept secret in Alpine skiing in the continental United States.”
He concluded: “Just 13 miles and several mountain ranges from Aspen, as the crow flies (but hundreds of miles apart by road), Crested Butte is what Aspen used to be, exceptionally upscale, but remote and unique. Nothing could keep us from coming back, and so we will, again and again.”
Read the full article here: Skiing up a storm in the Rockies
“Colorado’s last great ski town” is all abuzz. Once the holdout of elite athletes, former hippies, and powder dropouts, down-to-earth CB is attracting a new crop of young families and telecommuters looking for a laid-back and affordable alternative to glitzier counterparts like Telluride and Aspen.”
So says Outside Magazine (August 2008) which has just voted Crested Butte #9 in its “Best Towns 2008″ feature on “20 great American towns that have withstood hard times and reinvented themselves as havens of the good life”. We tend to agree!
An extract from Phil Marty’s “5 ways to be stunned by Colorado” in the Chicago Tribune:
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