If you haven't heard the popular Crested Butte slogan, "one of Colorado's best kept secrets," you're obviously into sandy, beach-type activities. It's one of the more common phrases you'll hear when skiers reference Colorado resorts that are void of kitschy, mass appeal.
But does Crested Butte really live up to this branding?
Given that one of SkiSync's offices is in Crested Butte, we decided to share some interesting facts that reveal why CB is becoming less of a secret and more of a hotspot for killer ski vacations. Ten of them, in fact. Plus, we suck at keeping secrets...so there's that.
10 Facts About Crested Butte, CO
Crested Butte is 3/4 "Extreme"
With roughly 3/4 of Crested Butte's terrain labeled as Intermediate to Advanced and a dedicated slot on the Annual Freeride World Tour for the past quarter century, it's no wonder skiers have flocked to this resort. Offering a solid 448 acres of double-black runs, Crested Butte is widely considered to be one of the original extreme skiing resorts.
Crested Butte is Surrounded by National Forest
Over two million acres of national forest, in fact. While the U.S. National Forest Service uses this land for environmental and wildlife protection, many snow enthusiasts use this land (legally, of course) for outdoor, backcountry activities like Nordic skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, horseback riding and other fun stuff.
Crested Butte Lifts are SUPER Accessible
A vast majority of Crested Butte's accommodations are considered ski in/ski out or slopeside. This is because the town of Crested Butte is quite small and intimate, which puts virtually anything you need within walking distance (more specifically within Base Village). Whether you're grabbing a bite to eat, doing some shopping or just loafing around in your lodge, the lifts are always nearby.
Crested Butte Keeps It Local
Most out-of-towners might find themselves strolling around the town of Crested Butte, wondering where the heck the local Starbucks is. Well, it's not in Crested Butte at all. Nor are any of the other common franchises. The residents of Crested Butte make a concerted effort to keep those types of companies out while supporting their locally owned businesses. Very cool.
Club Med Couldn't Handle Crested Butte's Culture
Back in the year 2000, Club Med took a stab at making Crested Butte more universally appealing. They bought the Crested Butte Marriott near the base of the lifts and tried to add the typical, family-friendly, show-and-dance type theatrics to the town. But, alas, Crested Butte was too entrenched in its die-hard, Wild West roots for the relationship to last. Club Med sought out more amenable pastures in 2006.
Crested Butte & Okemo Mountain Resorts are Linked
After Club Med left in 2006, Crested Butte Mountain Resort (CBMR) was bought by Tim and Dianne Mueller. The Mueller's also own the popular Vermont ski destination, Okemo Mountain Resort. The Mueller's steadily pumped money into upgrading Crested Butte since that time and although they later sold it, they still run the place under a 40 year operating contract.
Crested Butte Expanded Their Terrain
In November 2014, CBMR announced that it would be adding 40 acres of terrain directly adjacent to their popular Teocalli Bowl. Aptly named Teocalli 2 (Teo 2), the extra acreage has an expert difficulty level and requires a short hike in order to return to the resort. CBMR does have plans to expand the purpose of this acreage for more family-friendly activities, but only once there's been full expansion into the Teocalli Drainage.
Crested Butte Can Be Accessed from 3 Airports
It's true that Crested Butte is not quite as accessible as some of the other Colorado ski destinations. However, that's not to say it's difficult. here are three airports with which to arrive when travelling to Crested Butte:
- Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport (GUC) - run by both American & United Airlines, this is the closest of the three airports with a 30 mile distance from the resort. United offers seasonal direct flights from Houston (IAH), Denver (DEN) and recently, Chicago (ORD). American only offers seasonal directs from Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW).
- Montrose Regional Airport - run by American, United, Allegiant and Delta Airlines, this is the second closest of the three airports located 96 miles from Crested Butte Mountain Resort. Like GUC, the airlines do offer seasonally direct flights from locations such as Atlanta (ATL), Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW), Los Angeles (LAX), Phoenix (PHX) and more. Just check with the airlines directly.
- Denver International Airport - run by virtually all major airlines, this is the furthest of the three airports located about 250 miles from CBMR (depending on which route you take). Given that this equates to a 4.5 hour drive in decent weather, it's often worth the extra cash to fly into the other airports.
Crested Butte has 3 Medical Facilities
We're not trying to jynx you but when you run as many ski trips as we do, you know that sometimes s*** happens. Knowing where to find medical care should be a standard part of any ski trip you take. Crested Butte has three medical facilities:
- Crested Butte Medical Center - CBMC has two clinics, including one at the ski area which makes this the most convenient clinic for on-mountain injuries.
- Elk Avenue Medical Center - located in Crested Butte, this facility handles emergency visits and many other types of services.
- Gunnison Valley Hospital - a small, short term hospital servicing Gunnison County and surrounding areas.
Crested Butte is Rarely Crowded
Even though Crested Butte is easily accessible from various airports, it still maintains a reputation as a fairly inconvenient ski resort to visit. This is fine by us! The result is shorter lines, open runs and lots of breathing room for those who know that this ski town is actually one of Colorado's best kept secrets after all.
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