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.