Best Steeps 2009: Crested Butte

There's no easy way down. Jump-turn, pole-plant through the narrow chute, and then hold on tight while you drop the mandatory 10-foot air at the bottom. Welcome to Crested Butte.
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Known for it's steeps, Crested Butte houses such aptly named runs as "Dead End Chutes," "Staircase," and "Hot Rocks," as well as the US Freeskiing World Championships.  If that isn't enough, the Body Bag Glades should be. The glades as well as Dead Man's Chute are located in the resort's "Extreme Limits," terrain that should be considered out-of bounds if the resort didn't want to boost its acreage. The Body Bag Glades drop 275 feet at 55 degrees, so you'll have to stick the landing if you want to live to tell about it.

Known for it's steeps, Crested Butte houses such aptly named runs as "Dead End Chutes," "Staircase," and "Hot Rocks," as well as the US Freeskiing World Championships. If that isn't enough, the Body Bag Glades should be. The glades as well as Dead Man's Chute are located in the resort's "Extreme Limits," terrain that should be considered out-of bounds if the resort didn't want to boost its acreage. The Body Bag Glades drop 275 feet at 55 degrees, so you'll have to stick the landing if you want to live to tell about it.

From the top of Crested Butte’s Body Bag Glades, you can see only a horizon line, where the slope drops out of sight, plunging 275 vertical feet at 55 degrees. As you approach, your stomach will twist and you may get nauseous. There’s no easy way down. Jump-turn like Scot Schmidt in the ’80s, pole-plant through the narrow chute as if every turn is your last, and then hold on tight while you drop the mandatory 10-foot air at the bottom. Welcome to Crested Butte.

Three Things You Need to Know:
>> Buy the glossy, foldout trail map of the “extreme” terrain at the Alpineer ski shop downtown [$6; alpineer.com].
>> From November 26 to December 17, skiing at Crested Butte is free if you book with certain lodges [skicb .com].
>> You may be landlocked, but the Lobar on Elk Avenue gets fresh sushi delivered five days a week.

BEST OF THE REST:

2. Jackson Hole, WY
3. Telluride, CO
4. Squaw Valley, CA
5. Whistler Blackcomb, BC
6. Alta/Snowbird, UT
7. Arapahoe Basin, CO
8. Big Sky, MT
9. Aspen/Aspen Highlands, CO
10. Mammoth, CA

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Winner Griffin Post

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This weekend, Griffin Post and Claudia Bouvier nabbed first for the men and women, respectively, at the Freeskiing World Tour stop in Crested Butte, Colorado. We have photos from the powder-day big-mountain competition,

Abby the greeter.

Crested Butte Lodging: The Wanderlust Hostel

The next time you head to Crested Butte, save some money and meet some interesting personalities by staying at the Wanderlust Hostel in Gunnison, Colorado. For only $23 a night, you’ll get a warm room, communal kitchen, hot shower, and an inviting common space to play the guitar, cards, or just chat with other hostel goers.

Crested Butte's North Face

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Don’t be fooled by the T-bar that accesses this terrain: This is no bunny slope. The North Face, a massive back bowl that slants as much as 50 degrees, is the site of big-mountain competitions and gladed, fluff-filled stashes. If it’s a powder day, get here quickly.