Crested Butte Wild West heritage, great skiing

snow action team 30.09.2020

Crested Butte is Colorado’s wilder west, with skiing just as wild as you want to get..

As an all-season unrestricted Epic Australia Pass inclusion it’s well worth making the detour to get here and stay just as long as you want. All season would work for us, we wouldn’t get bored thats for sure!

Crested Butte is a lonely mountain in more ways than one. First up, it’s a genuine stand alone butte, not part of a range, so you get amazing shots on all different aspects.

Sunrise over Crested Butte © Kozlowski / Vail Resorts

Second, Crested Butte is one of Colorado’s more remote resorts, in the middle of the state out of easy day trip distance from major cities, so it doesn’t get nearly as busy as the Front Range resorts for example.

It may be only 38km as the eagle flies from Aspen, but there’s one big mountain range in between, with the pass closed in winter.

Being so remote, Crested Butte is the perfect place to go for a quieter style of ski holiday where you can stay in a classy well-appointed hotel in the modern mountainside village, or in the charming town 10 minutes down the road, and still enjoy the best of both worlds.

You can stay in the slopeside village or 10 minutes away in the old town © Vail Resorts

The genuine old Wild West town, now all funky colours and businesses, bewitches visitors with its magical scenery, character and a ski area to suit everyone. There’s a unique combination of rolling intermediate slopes, excellent beginner and children’s areas as well as some of the most extreme terrain in North America.

The first extreme skiing competitions in the country were held here. The Extreme Limits area is a whopping 542 acres of in-bounds double black diamond terrain with some seriously challenging options.

Dropping Headwall at Crested Butte on a pow day
Dropping Headwall © Kozlowskis / Vail Resorts

Families love it here and children are well catered for in every area from food to the ski school to the activities.

The general lack of crowds and friendly locals make it a great option for families looking for a longer stay destination – with your Epic Aussie Passes lifts are already taken care of.

Crested Butte is great for families © Vail Resorts

The convenience continues with beginner and intermediate terrain accessible right from the base area. The mountain features 15 lifts serving 626 hectares/1547 acres of terrain for all levels.

The lay of the land means beginner, intermediate, advanced and (truly!) expert slopes are neatly separated, banishing the chance of novices stumbling into the 220 hectare Extreme Limits Terrain region. This is paradise for those looking for and up for a challenge, with some of the steepest runs in the country.

Colorado’s Ski Safety Act describes Extreme Terrain as “cliffs with a minimum 20 foot rise over a 15 foot run and slopes with a minimum 50° average pitch over 100 foot run”.

Powder skiing at Crested Butte
Doesn’t get much better than this © Kozlowski / Vail Resorts

Crested Butte has plenty of progressive terrain, including some sweet intermediate glades, and plenty of programs and clinics to help you improve.

For example, one big attraction are ‘Wednesdays with Wendy’ – skiing clinics with living legend World Extreme Ski Champion and Olympic skier, Wendy Fisher. These clinics cater to intermediate and advanced skiers, so it’s not required that you ski like an Olympian to learn from one.

Crested Butte trail map
Plenty for all, even plentier if you love double black terrain © Vail Resorts

Crested Butte town

Nestled in the heart of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, Crested Butte is committed to preserving the pristine landscape and mountain lifestyle. With vibrant Victorian storefronts and expressive local characters, the small historic town remains true to its heritage and radiates an unparalleled welcoming and inviting spirit that celebrates a simpler life and time.

The town boasts one of Colorado’s largest National Historic Districts. Originally settled in the 1880s as a mining supply camp, it’s synonymous with “magical” and “charming” these days, spiked with plenty of irreverence.

It’s known to many as “Colorado’s Last Great Ski Town” and has been voted #1 Ski Town in North America.

There are some great shops and art galleries to check out, and over 50 restaurants with no franchise chains in that total. Besides food, Crested Butte is home to Montanya Distillers, whose rum has won numerous awards and got voted the best white rum in the world in 2015 at the World Rum Awards. Funky bars with unique cocktails are a CB hallmark.

Plenty of great, and great value, dining options here © Vail Resorts

Where is Crested Butte

Throughout winter Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport (GUC) is served by American Airlines and United Airlines, with direct flights from Dallas (DFW), Houston (IAH) and Denver (DEN). It’s a short 30 minute shuttle ride from the airport to Crested Butte town or mountain village accommodation.
Traveling to Crested Butte by car is a scenic and easy way to go. Drive time from Denver, 230 miles/368 km northeast is 4 hours plus, and just under 4 hours from Colorado Springs 194 miles/312 km east.
Montrose is 90 miles/144 km southwest.

For more Epic Australia Pass options check our features on these:

Beaver Creek


Crested Butte






Ski Colorado more info

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