Crested Butte

Blessed with geographic isolation to keep day-trippers at home, CB is the unpretentious, steep, rocky resort it’s always been with only one change:upgraded on-slope accommodation.
Crested Butte at night

Crested Butte is no slut. If you want the goods, you’ll have to work for them. And it won’t be easy. CB’s granite-streaked steeps are unforgiving, lack bailout options, and often require a serious hike out. But after making laps in Teocalli Bowl and pointing it down no-fall chutes in Paradise Cliffs, you’ll know this mountain is a keeper. The Extremes will appear silhouetted in your dreams and your heart will hurt every time Elk Avenue fades in the rearview. That burn in your chest and shake in the knees when you stand on top of the Headwall? That’s what love feels like.

MUST HIT: The North Face is a classic CB test piece. Pick your way to the top from the North Face lift and ready yourself for an exposed, 40-degree fall line. The view, when not interrupted by 15-foot cliffs, looks over the entire valley.

THE SNEAK: Third Bowl and Lower Third Bowl (both a short traverse from the North Face lift) drop at a sustained 40 degrees and are so remote that you can slay the bowls first and then mine the sparse trees for pow several days after a storm. 

POWDER DAY: Blow through Headwall’s wide-open, 45-degree bowl, then trend skier’s left on subsequent laps to harvest pow from the Headwall Glades.

THREE DAYS LATER: Ride the Silver Queen chair to the High lift to reach Teocalli Bowl. A range of 30- to 40-degree lines drops 685 vertical feet through open terrain, tree chutes, and cliffs.

PARK AND PIPE: CB isn’t known for its park scene, though the easily accessed BC Superpipe, right under the Paradise chair, gets a loving cutting every few days.

BACKCOUNTRY ACCESS: There are no gates, but nearby touring can be hiked to, skied, and left in shreds in several hours. Ask a local for directions, and check conditions at

WEATHER: Crested Butte’s light, dry snow accumulates gradually but preserves well—book your trip for February or later. The Butte averages 243 inches a year, which is low for an area this steep. On the upside, when it’s not snowing, the sun’s shining.

APRÈS: Nachos stacked with fresh (not from a can) beans, cheese, guac, sour cream, and jalapeños ($9.25) arrive on enormous dinner plates at Avalanche, located at the base of the Red Lady Express. Order the Avalanche Warning ($6), a signature cocktail with Jim Beam, Southern Comfort, Yukon Jack, Jose Cuervo, sweet and sour, and just enough pineapple juice to color it.

FUEL: If you’re staying slopeside, hit Camp 4 Coffee in Mountaineer Square, then trudge to the Avalanche for a monster breakfast burrito ($6.95). Staying in town? Mob the Gas Café at the Amoco station for the kind of breakfast sandwich that colorectal surgeons dread and skiers crave: sausage patty, hash browns, egg, and cheese.

UP ALL NIGHT: If it’s cold as hell (and it probably will be), set up advance base camp in the Lobar for the trifecta of drinks, dinner, and more drinks. Equal parts sushi restaurant and club, Lobar has rotating tables for big (read: wasted) groups. By the time you pound your ninth sake bomb you’ll notice the DJ—only he’s been spinning for hours and it’s 1:45 a.m.

DIGS: The recently revamped Elevation Hotel, previously Club Med, is as close as you can get to the lifts, and rates start at $230 per night. In town, park it at the Crested Butte International Lodge and Hostel for a $25 to $36 dorm bunk. 


48 hours in CB thumb

48 hours in Crested Butte

Crested Butte is home to terrain that will make your knees weak and your palms sweaty. It’s also famous for delicious food and a friendly downtown. Here’s how to maximize two days in one of our favorite spots to ski.

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.

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.

Crested Butte's North Face

Anatomy: Crested Butte's North Face

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.

Winner Griffin Post

Freeskiing World Tour: Crested Butte Photos

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,