Much of the ranching and coal mining history of yesteryear is still very much apparent on the slopes and village of Crested Butte. A few mines are still located on the outskirts of Gunnison County and old cattle trails still allow the trot of horses all year round. The village comprises simple Victorian houses that date back to the end of the 19th century, and some of the grander buildings have been upcycled to house distilleries and hotels. In the summer, tourists trickle through the town to sightsee and pump their lungs full of fresh Colorado mountain air, and in the winter, visitors strap on their skis and jettison down the rugged terrain of the Crested Butte Mountain Resort – skiing is the new industry that breathes life into the local economy, and this one is forever.
Located high in the Colorado Rockies, Crested Butte is four hours from Denver and is home to its own regional airport, feeding flights to and from Dallas, Denver, Houston, Chicago and other major cities. Skiers and visitors are encouraged to walk around and take in the museums, shops and restaurants of the village, situated three miles from the Crested Butte Mountain Resort.
Considered one of the better adventure ski destinations in the country, with more lift accessed extreme terrain than in any other resort in the state, Crested Butte Mountain Resort has a daredevil "Why not?" attitude that pervades through the place, from the double black diamond chutes of Headwall to their numerous expert trails in the Teocalli Bowl. Sixteen lifts service its 1,165 acres of skiable terrain – the lows are Bunny hills perfect for a first timer, and the highs take the intrepid skier down 2.6 miles from the Peak to Treasury, top to bottom.
Photo via their official FB page.
Crested Butte Nordic Center offers 55 pristine cross country trails that thread throughout the outskirts of Crested Butte, along the East River, through thickly powdered forest and up the Crested Butte Recreation Path, primed for XC and skate skiers of all abilities. As well, this Nordic Center offers unique charms, like a yurt which hosts dinners and events as well as huts for rent.
An unexpected and much welcome surprise is the discovery that not only can rum be produced in the mountains, it is ideally produced in the mountains. Combine fresh snowmelt and spring water, a high elevation (the finest rums are aged in altitude), and local American oak casks and the result is a consistently award-winning distiller. A true labor of love to patrons as well as the environment, Montanya Distillers takes their green philosophy seriously: they use natural gas to fire up their stills, import sugar cane from the closest possible location (Hawaii), heat their 5,600 square feet of space with the heat from their stills, recycle hot water from their condensers, avoid plastic, and the list continues. At their Elk Avenue distillery, an old hydro powerhouse and landmark building, visitors can stroll around the distillery, learn about mountain rum and enjoy unique and flavorful rum cocktails.
Photo via their official FB page.
The gorgeous mountain suites and rooms at the Nordic Inn offer a peaceful retreat from the excitement of your ski vacation. This is alpine chic, through and through – it’s all dark wood trimmings and sleigh beds, luxury linens and granite details in this house. With comfortable furnishings inside and a hot tub and fire pits outside, visitors can truly escape the cold when they stay at Nordic Inn.