The Crested Butte Mountain Resort is the focal point for winter activities in the Gunnison Valley, but there are LOTS of off-piste entertainment options for winter fun in Crested Butte. If your not an en-piste downhill affectionado or you’d like a little variety for friends and family during your stay, here are some alternative options for winter fun:
Winter Activities in Crested Butte
Crested Butte Mountain Resort
Fifteen lifts servicing 121 trails and 1547 acres of Colorado’s best skiable terrain make Crested Butte Mountain Resort a spring break return destination for generations of skiing families. Read more about the resort, find lodging at area hotels, hostel’s, resort ranches, and vacation rentals. Purchase lift tickets, rental equipment and outdoorwear and ski and board school reservations.
Check out the resort’s on-mountain dining and the slopeside eats and drinks at the resort’s base.
Town of Crested Butte
Just 11 minutes below the resort, and connected by Crested Butte’s excellent public transit system, is the eclectic old mining town of Crested Butte. The community began as a supply town for surrounding silver mining communities in 1878. High-quality coal beds were discovered outside Crested Butte in 1880 and by 1882 Crested Butte coal mines were the most productive in the Colorado Rockies.
There are few places that can still be called a real Colorado ski town, and Crested Butte is one of them. When you walk around town, you’ll feel it in the unparalleled views and the meticulously preserved false-front buildings reminiscent of its mining days.
There are no traffic lights, no chain stores and no high-rise buildings. Yet you’ll quickly see there’s no shortage of entertainment and dining options-all run by some of the most welcoming people you’ll ever meet. Check out some of the dining options in town. Don’t forget to stop by one of Crested Butte’s storied watering holes and check out all the great Happy Hours.
Nordic (Cross Country) Skiing
It’s no question Crested Butte is widely known for its steep and extreme terrain en and off piste, but did you know Crested Butte is considered the Nordic Ski Capital of Colorado.
With over 55km of maintained nordic track and over 100km of groomed ski trails in the area, you can be sure to get in a great workout with spectacular views of the West Elks.
Here’s a run-down of all things Nordic in the Gunnsion Valley.
With thousands of acres of backcountry access, the Gunnison valley offers one of Colorado’s best snowmobile playgrounds. Various public and private entities maintain an extensive trail system and local rental companies providing both guided and unguided rentals.
Supplement your winter Gunnison Valley visit with a snowmobile day, it’s a fast and fun way to get into the backcountry.
Local rental/guide companies offer access to popular trails in Brush Creek, Cement Creek, Ferris Creek, Kebler Pass, Slate River, Taylor Park and Washington Gulch.
While Crested Butte Mountain Resort offers some of the steepest resort skiing in North America, there are also more than two million acres of public land in Gunnison County. The Anthricites, Coney’s (via Washington Gulch), Mt Axtel, Mt Emmons, Gothic Mtn, Schuylkill, Snodgrass and the Irwin area all offer accessible quality off-piste skiing.
Crested Bute is a Colorado ski touring mecca and there are two professional companies in town with the access and knowledge to make your backcountry experience magical.
When the lakes freeze over in the Gunnson Valley, the fishing doesn’t stop, it just gets better.
Ice fishing is fun and educationl respite from your time on the slopes and can reward you with a delicious fresh dinner to boot. Ice fishing can be a challenge and the prep and equipment are, in a word, “unique”.
Here are some Crested Butte and Gunnison Valley ice fishing guide services that find the spot, prep the hole, offer some shelter & instruction and leave the rewards to you.
Sled Dog Tours
After a few days on the slopes, you may want to take a novel approach to winter fun and hit the back country with a sled dog tour.
Once aboard a sled, you’ll discover a quaint and exciting way of experiencing Gunnison Valley’s backcountry. The views are spectacular and there are plenty of opportunities for video and photography.
Recreational Ice Skating and hockey are popular pastimes in Crested Butte and the Gunnison Valley for locals and visitors alike. The cold weather winter climes offer up great conditions for outdoor arenas.
Ice skating with the family offers up just another option for winter vacation fun. Here are some of the resources for ice skating in the Gunnison Valley from north to south. Options include recreational skating, rentals, skate lesson and hockey league play.
Winter Horseback Riding
Crested Butte and the Gunnison Valley offer up unmatched backcountry access and vistas. Experience the Gunnison backcountry the cowboy way. Lope through snowy Colorado mountain wilderness with winter horseback riding. Experience the Gunnison valley wilderness the way the miners did 140 years ago. Newbie or seasoned riders are guided by expert wranglers offering an unforgettable time on scenic trails through our winter wonderland.