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Breaking ground this year with an opening planned for the 2009/10 season, the Red Lady Lodge. At the top of the Red Lady Express Lift, this grand on-hill day lodge will replace the main resort cafeteria, adding a new flavor of enjoyment for residents and visitors to the mountain. The 22,000-square-foot space will offer ski services and a variety of attractions, including an upscale restaurant and bar, gourmet prepared-foods section, and a child-friendly play area and food zone. Come evening, fine dining with “stellar” views will be served up via gondola.

In addition to beginning the construction on-mountain of Red Lady Lodge, Crested Butte Mountain Resort planning the following improvements this year:

• Treasury Center upgrades to day skier seating, snack bar, and lockers
• Remodeling of Kids World ski school building
• Base area landscaping improvements
• Mountain trail improvements and gladding
• New snowmaking and groomed terrain

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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.”

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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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