Crested Butte, located in Colorado’s central Rocky Mountains, offers up a real cowboy town and some kick butt terrain. The Butte hosts the annual Extreme Skiing World Championships, but there is a softer, family-friendly side to CB too. Crested Butte offers cruisers and modern lifts, great snow, a convenient Mountain Village and plenty to do after the ski lifts stop too.
Crested Butte is best known for the scenic 12,162′ Butte that dominates the ski view, resembling the Matterhorn or Big Sky’s Lone Peak. Modern lifts shoot off in multiple directions from the Mount Crested Butte Village, where you can stay slopeside and be steps to the lifts. Crested Butte offers skiing on 121 trails, 1,167-acres served by 15 lifts with an impressive 2,787′ vertical.
Crested Butte is an interesting mountain with several faces, well-pitched runs off the Silver Queen Express, pleasant blues and a big snowy bowl off the Paradise Express lift, and ego pleasers in Prospect. The extreme steeps are accessed by upper mountain t-bars and hikes into The North Face, Teocalli Bowl areas, Banana Peel and The Peak.
The Red Lady Lift from the base brings you to the easy Painter Boy and plenty of novice groomed family terrain. The Prospect and Gold Link lifts serve even more sunny intermediate terrain and a real relaxed pace on a side flank of the lower mountain.
Kids will enjoy Crested Butte’s terrain parks, there are several including a kids park, a jib park and a Family Cross Course on Canaan trail. Fun glades drop off the sides into beautiful Aspen groves as well, like Bakery Trees.
The best place to stay for your Crested Butte family ski trip is The Elevation Hotel and Spa – super close to the lifts and very stylish. The 250 room Elevation Hotel has a spa and indoor pool, slope view dining in the swank 9380′ (the hotel’s elevation), an elegant lobby with gorgeous gas fireplaces, a ski shop and ski lockers just a few ski boot steps to the Silver Queen quad. The Elevation rooms are splendid and spacious, call it Rocky Mountain sophistication, all with views on par, balconies, kitchens, WiFi, fat screen TVs, everything your family needs for rest and relaxation after a big day on the slopes.
Crested Butte has added lots of fun activities for families after the lifts stop. The Adventure Park offers snow tubing, an AirBar jump, outdoor enclosed Flying Gopher mini-golf, bungee trampolines, rock climbing, and zip lining. Crested Butte Snowcat Driving is probably the most unique activity! How awesome is that for your “what I did on family ski vacation” report?!
Crested Butte’s compact ski village, is super convenient to The Elevation Hotel. Just a short walk and you reach the skiers plaza with cafes, shopping and dining . Avalanche Bar and Butte 66 are lively for affordable fare and fun après, with or without the kids. The best après ski spot for families is the Sweet Spot, this old school candy store with penny candy and games for the kids has an adjacent Victorian saloon and full bar where parents can pull up a barstool for an adult beverage. What a sweet idea! Djangos may be best saved for Kids Night Out, this stylish setting serves contemporary tapas style cuisine of Colorodo antelope, and other indigenous delights, served with mood lighting and a magnificent wine list
Be sure to ski in to lunch at Uley’s Cabin (perhaps while the kids are at all day ski camp having chicken fingers and Fries). Uley’s charming slope side cabin off the Twister Trail is the ultimate in Rocky Mountain elegance, tablecloths and a tantalizing menu of elk, gourmet cheese, fresh fish, and full beer and wine list, plus cocktails, served graciously by the attentive staff. On a sunny Colorado ski day, sit outside at the Ice Bar for cocktails and beer with a beautiful view of the slopes. Uley’s is also open for sleigh ride dinners, reserve your special night for an elevated dining experience.
You must take the family to town during your Crested Butte ski week. Downtown Crested Butte is an historic 1888 miners’ town that now sports Western themed shops, cafes and bars, and many restaurants from family casual to culinary finery. You will see from the frontier town architecture and the amiable locals why Crested Butte calls itself as Colorado’s Last Great Ski Town.
Crested Butte is a four hour drive from Denver, or you can fly into nearby Gunnison, or Montrose between Crested Butte and Telluride. Families will enjoy Crested Butte, a nice change from the busy ski resorts on Colorado’s I-70 corridor. Crested Butte Mountain Resort is managed by The Mueller family of Okemo Mountain Resort in Vermont – they wrote the book on family ski resort service.