Depending on how you look at things, we either got a lovely extended fall or were robbed of primo skiing due to unseasonably warm weather. If your thinking falls into the latter camp, you'll be glad to know that resorts are finally opening – and offering more than ever this year.
In this year's edition of Edge, our snow-activities guide to resorts in Colorado, we've told you about what’s new at every major ski area in the state, must-do experiences and insider tips. We’ve also done our own tireless research all over the state and reached out to some experts for suggestions on how to make the most of it all, whether you’re looking to drop some coin for something special or just trying to get by as a dirtbag ski bum like the rest of us. We'll roll those out at resorts open, like Crested Butte Mountain Resort, which opens Thursday, November 24.
CRESTED BUTTE MOUNTAIN RESORT
What’s new: Start your day at the new Coal Breaker Coffee shop, inside the Treasury Center hub at the base area. Later in the day, make your way to the new Umbrella Bar at Ten Peaks, at the top of the Painter Boy chairlift. Check out new adventures like the winter zipline tours and Snowcat Driving Experience, or take advantage of the no-strings-attached Kids Ski Free offer for children twelve and under, from opening day, November 24, through December 16.
Signature experience: Crested Butte’s infamous Extreme Limits terrain remains a major draw for expert skiers and riders, with nearly 600 acres of double-black-diamond runs. The zone, accessible by two T-bar surface lifts, boasts pitches as steep as 47 degrees.
Insider info: Crested Butte has been bolstering its reputation as a destination for music festivals big and small. CBMR spokesman Zachary Pickett recommends coming up for the Mountain High Music Festival January 11-15; the Skitown Breakdown spring concert featuring Leftover Salmon on March 18; and the ongoing CB Unplugged Series at Butte 66, featuring national touring acts performing acoustic sets in a small, intimate venue, with events on January 21, February 11 and April 1.
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Splurge: For something different and the chance to wield some heavy machinery, try the $199 Snowcat Driving Experience, which will get you an hour of instruction and an hour on a closed course in the same Prinoth 275 Snowcat used for CBMR’s grooming operations. Call 970-349-4554 to book through the CBMR Adventure Center.
Ski bum tips: “Volunteer with ski patrol to be eligible for a CBMR season pass; people who volunteer for sixty hours or more receive a free Peak Pass,” Pickett suggests. “For lunch on a budget, pop into the Brown Lab Pub and Bakery for $1 pizza slices after 3 p.m. When it’s time to hit the hay, find a cheap bed at the Crested Butte Hostel, with beds starting at $25 per night.
Drink local: Locals’ favorites include the Dogwood Cocktail Cabin, a converted miner’s shack at 309 Third Street, the Princess Wine Bar, at 218 Elk Avenue, and Talk of the Town, at 230 Elk Avenue. “Crested Butte is also home to a world-class rum distillery, Montanya Distillers, located downtown on Elk Avenue,” Pickett says. “If beer is more your thing, the Eldo brewpub is the only microbrewery in town.”