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Crested Butte

“There are several great North American ski resorts. For alpine skiing, Crested Butte ranks among the best.”

From the Crest of Montezuma to Crested Butte

—Ron Sullivan

Some of the most pristine scenery and skiing in North America are just 330 miles from Placitas and the Crest of Montezuma. Crested Butte, Colorado, is a paradise when it comes to downhill or back country skiing and breathtaking panoramas. It is truly “the last great Colorado ski town.” Gold was the ore that brought miners, leaving a great American legacy and rich historical past. Skiing is the drawing card today.

Most of the 330-mile drive is on two-lane roads. Once you motor through Alamosa and enter the Gunnison National Forest, you are about to experience some of the most beautiful terrain in North America. It is also where much of our Yukon Gold and red potatoes are grown. Vast potato fields and hay farms line both sides of the highway gradually narrowing to a sparsely populated and undeveloped region.

The winding sixty-plus miles over North Pass and the Continental Divide, while hugging Cochetopa Creek, requires two hands on the steering wheel and staying well within the posted speed limits. Watch for herds of elk and deer grazing on precipice slopes.

As you exit the village of Gunnison, the last thirty-plus miles to Crested Butte is where the mountain terrain begins to expand with a near 360-degree view of the Colorado Rockies. It is breathtaking.

Our choice of accommodations is the Old Town Inn in the village of Crested Butte. Hosts and innkeepers Michal Garren, Sandy Fails, and staff are always there to greet you. The accommodations are comfortable and the location very convenient. The inn is pet friendly and has a wonderful à la carté breakfast. One of the great perks is the short walk to the Mountain Express bus stop. The free transit runs every fifteen minutes between Old Town and Crested Butte Mountain Resort. The Inn also shares a business agreement with Flat Iron Ski shop at mountain base allowing you to store your ski equipment after a day on the slopes. Tips are always appreciated by the friendly staff.

Just a few steps away from the Inn is some of the finest dining you can find. Le Bosquet, a fine French restaurant, offers everything from six-course gourmet delights to their delicatessen and carry-out services. It is family-owned since 1976. Zeno, the deli’s manager, delights in making you a delicious sandwich served with a sweet chocolate and rich ricotta cheese cannoli.

Next door to Le Bosquet is a state-of-the-art movie theater showing current films. A liquor store and mid-sized grocery store round out the complex. After a day of skiing on the mountain, it is a pleasure to walk to dinner and the cinema.

The ski mountain is very customer friendly. During our most recent visit, we chatted with ski club members from Albuquerque’s Military Officers Athletic Association skiers, Syracuse New York’s Onondaga Ski Club, and observed a group from South Carolina’s Hilton Head Ski Club. These are people who expect nothing but the best when traveling.

Lunch on the mountain is a must. A couple of chairlift rides from the base will get you to the Paradise Warming Hut. Do not be fooled by the word “hut.” Until this season, it housed the wonderful Italian restaurant Rustica. Although temporarily shutdown, Rustica has been replaced by fine dining at the Ice Bar and Restaurant located on the front side of the mountain. (There really is an outdoor ice bar.) The restaurant, originally called Ulley’s Cabin, has a rustic decor with beautifully finished hardwood floors. Rubber cleats attached to the bottoms of ski boots safely allow your entrance into the main dining areas. The concierge/host will even assist in attaching and removing the cleats. The menu changes daily and the fares are sumptuous.

The town of Crested Butte has a wide variety of shops and restaurants. The Mountain Express transit makes several convenient stops for drop offs and pickups. If you happen to be there during Fat Tuesday, the Mardi Gras parade is a hoot. The parade has its own character with plenty of fun floats and ski themes. As a reminder during your ride on the Red Lady Express quad chair to the crest of the ski mountain, Mardi Gras beads and personal foundations from the parade line the evergreens.

We recommend making your room reservations well in advance and always check the Crested Butte Mountain Resort web site for slope conditions, lift tickets, and ski equipment discounts. If you book through the Resort, you may be entitled to lift ticket discounts. Staying in the village also has many viable options.

There are several great North American ski resorts. For alpine skiing, Crested Butte ranks among the best.






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