Crested Butte Winter
I grew up on Colorado’s Western Slope and have been to every touristy spot in the state. Considering its remote, spectacular location, historic mining past and world-class trails, Crested Butte is one of my two favorite Colorado ski towns. Hands down. (Telluride is the other and will be featured in a future Wide Open Ride.) Nestled deep in the Rockies, Crested Butte is surrounded by mountain peaks. Downhill and cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and snowbiking are daytime must-dos. After hours or for a midday break, the quaint downtown features numerous shops, galleries and coffeehouses. For a town this size, the restaurant options are impressive and generally outstanding. Competition is stiff and unless you serve good food, you don’t last long. That said, be sure to make reservations as seats fill up fast. But unlike more famous Colorado ski towns, one of Crested Butte’s charms is that it never really feels crowded. Because it’s isolated and harder to reach, skiers from Denver and Colorado Springs keep to closer slopes. And while Crested Butte attracts plenty of well-heeled visitors, it doesn’t feel pretentious. There are no chain stores or stoplights. The colorful historic buildings, alpenglow sunsets and quiet lifestyle create a cozy, small-town feel, steps away from wilderness.
Keep in Mind
The very thing that makes Crested Butte so amazing in the winter—snow—is also the biggest obstacle to safely reaching the town. So it’s imperative to keep tabs on driving conditions via the Colorado Department of Transportation.
Routes & Maps
From Denver, plan on a four-hour drive in good conditions and a little longer if you’re coming from the airport.
From Colorado Springs, it should take less than four hours.
The nearest airport is in Gunnison, 40 minutes away.
Best Time to Visit
It’s not uncommon for snow to fall from late September to late May. The best winter conditions are generally mid-December to late March. Christmas and New Year’s are peak times. Crested Butte is also an amazing summer destination with mild temperatures, endless wildflowers and some of Colorado’s finest hiking and biking trails. Fall comes early and brings gorgeous swaths of color as the aspen change. Spring is muddy from melting snow.