Crested Butte had a tough season last year-and it shows in the survey results, where the off-the-beaten-path Colorado resort plummeted from No. 11 to No. 30. A variety of factors came into play, namely lack of sufficient snow. (The extreme terrain for which CB is famous didn't get enough cover to open for the winter holidays.) But the resort that put "extreme" into U.S. skiing's lexicon is the real deal when given the chance. The Headwall is at the head of any class. "Would be the place I would ski if you told me I had to pick one Colorado resort," says a bold CB fan. Still, some readers pine for moderate terrain. "Not enough variety of upper intermediate runs," suggests another respondent. Apparently the lack of snow last season led to other recreational opportunities. "Filled with drunk Texans!" observes one reader. Another's advice? "Bring something for your hangover." All that partying breeds a need for a comfortable place to rest your head, and CB is lauded for offering great lodging packages. "The best value I have found. I can ski and stay one night in a hotel for about $60," writes a happy bargain hunter. The offerings in the town of Crested Butte, three miles from the ski hill, continue to receive well-deserved accolades. "Still the best ski town you'll ever find," crows one reader. "A real town with real people," notes another. "It feels like a home away from home."
WHAT'S NEW Look for zee Club Med experience at Crested Butte this year when the new Club Med family ski village opens in late November; ongoing real estate development includes construction of a new post office, 200,000 square feet of residential space and 100,000 of retail space.
A GOOD DEAL The popular "Kids Pay Their Age" program has been expanded. Children 4 and younger ski free while those 5-16 pay their age for a day lift ticket.
MEDALS GOLD Dining, Challenge; SILVER Value, Après-Ski, Terrain.
HIGH/LOW RANK Dining (17), Challenge (18), Value (24); On-Mountain Food (63), Accessibility (70), Grooming (73).
DON'T MISS For home-style cooking, try dinner at Slogar Restaurant in town. You have two choices: fried chicken or steak, accompanied by homemade biscuits, mashed potatoes and creamed corn.
READER REMARKS (+) "Most challenging terrain, toughest double black-diamond trails." "Wonderful resort. Charming town." (-) "No nightlife. Everything happens three miles away." "Not the easiest to get to."