Photo: Xavier Fane
In a state brimming with ski resorts marked by interstate exits, Crested Butte packs its own trail. A six-hour drive from Denver, served only by expensive flights to small airports, CB is, yes, a haul. But remoteness has advantages. Among them: a charming downtown, nonexistent liftlines, and a laid-back vibe that’s contagious once you’re here. The town is packed with characters eager to turn anything into a race or costume party—or both. Nightlife is lean compared to an Aspen or a Park City (but check the music schedule at The Eldo). And while the trail map is covered in black, Crested Butte has upgraded its grooming program, and well-manicured cruisers now meander down the mountain, offering photo ops of some of the snowiest peaks in the state. “Incredible views, truly Colorado.” If you head off-piste, know that the extreme terrain is some of the toughest in the country. Says one reader: “Bring a parachute!” —Zach Berman
Bragging rights >> Bodybag and Dead End Chutes. If you can negotiate your way through this zone, the toughest runs at most other resorts will seem tame.
Après spot >> Avalanche Bar and Grill, at the base, serves up pub fare, pizza, beer, and local flavor.
Don’t miss >> Drop by the Crested Butte Nordic Center and get outfitted to explore pristine drainages via snowshoe or cross-country skis.
Off-hill restaurant >> The Secret Stash offers gourmet (and sometimes odd) pizzas, fresh salads, and cocktails in true CB style.