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Ski Resort Life

How To Ski: Westside, Crested Butte, Colo.

Learn to shred the expert chutes under Crested Butte’s iconic peak.

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Location: Crested Butte, Colo.

Getting There: From the resort’s base area, take the Silver Queen Express lift. From there, take the Westside Traverse. You can also take the High Lift T-bar, hop off at midpoint, and take the High Traverse to get more vert.

Vertical feet: 2,072

Acres: 60.8

Scare Factor: The double-black-diamond chutes have a double fall line, an average pitch of 35 degrees, and sometimes snowmobile-size bumps. Even the traverse to get in has a high pucker factor, and the exit, called Hockey Rink, can rattle your teeth when it gets sunbaked before refreezing.

How To Ski Westside Crested Butte

Terrain » The south-facing chutes that cascade off the peak of Mount Crested Butte are not for the faint of heart. “You need to be an expert to ski Westside’s terrain—not only to handle the steeps, but to handle the traverse,” advises Nick Herrin, former assistant general manager for CBMR. Banana Chute has name recognition, which makes Flatiron (labeled “S” on the trail map) a good choice. Located next to Banana, it has the same exposure but with more trees and protection from the sun.

How to Ski It » To reach Banana and Flatiron, expect two long traverses. “Be on the downhill side of the traverse so if you need to slow down, you can point your tips uphill,” says Herrin. The best way to ski Banana is down the gut. It can get hairy on the sides because of the small trees that line it. If you’re looking to ski a more open face, try Flatiron. It’s convex rather than concave, with widely spaced trees. The snow on skier’s left stays cool and dry longer. To get out of Banana you have to ski the Hockey Rink. If you ski Flatiron and find Hockey Rink is frozen, there’s a way out called the Luge, but it’s a challenging, tight traverse.

Aprés » The new Umbrella Bar at Ten Peaks—with its Euro-inspired retractable roof—allows you to toast your accomplishments on-mountain. The base area’s Avalanche Bar and Grill has daily happy-hour specials and pizza to satiate any ski bum’s appetite. For more variety, take one of the frequent free shuttles into the town of CB to one of numerous restaurants and bars, such as Montanya Distillers for handcrafted rum and tasty small plates.

Beta » On a powder day, wait for the Westside gate to open after patrol works it. This area stays open until 4 p.m. (later than the North Face and Headwall), so it’s a great place to ski steeps late in the day. The best time of year to ski Hockey Rink is springtime, when the south-facing slope corns up. Take a selfie: From Westside you can see the classic peaks surrounding CB, including Whetstone, Emmons, Gothic, and the Anthracites.