Skiing Crested Butte

Long-time local and former freeskiing champion Alison Gannett reveals her lesser known sweet spots on the North Face. Follow at your own risk: This local doesn’t do blues.
Publish date:
Updated on
Crested Butte Map

From the top of the Paradise Lift—check out the jibsters in the DC Terrain Park on the way up—veer skier’s left and follow signs to the North Face lift (locals refer to it as the NFL). At the top of NFL follow signs to the North Face area entrance and proceed through the snow fence. To avoid tracks, traverse right for about 100 feet before dropping in. “Keep your head up for a few sharks on the first few turns,” Gannet advises, “but then you find a great powder field.” Head straight down the fall line, staying out of the bowl on the far right. Ahead you’ll see big boulders, where you’ll angle left for 100 feet. You’re now on Old Pro: Make a few turns until you hit a traverse, which you’ll follow to Hawks Nest. When you’ve reached Hawk’s Nest, veer left back into Old Pro; this skirts a few rocks and cliffs.

If you’ve had enough of the North Face for one day, head left to a road at the bottom of Old Pro, called Easy Out, which will land you at the bottom of The Glades or to a groomed run if you stay straight. But if you’re ready for more, continue straight for Last Steep. Keep you speed up to make it over what locals refer to as “the wave.” There the terrain drops off into a few small moguls, followed by one of the Butte’s best powder lines. (At the bottom of the first pitch, avoid the rocks on skier’s right by skiing in the trees on the far left.)

On the final pitch of Last Steep, ski center left and keep an eye out for Buck’s Traverse on the left, which saves hiking or riding an extra lift. Buck’s dumps you out at Paradise lift for another round.