As a season pass-holder at Purgatory Resort, you have access to more than 20 different resorts across the western United States and around the world.
Closer to home, Crested Butte offers three free days of riding (with the purchase of lodging), and I had the opportunity to perfectly time a guys trip there last week when it dumped 14 inches of freshies.
For those of you that have never been to Crested Butte during an epic snow year, you have no idea what you’re missing. With more than 1,500 acres of variable terrain, and 2,775 feet of vertical drop – 3,062 feet if you count the hike to terrain – there are plenty of opportunities for all ability levels. Approximately half the mountain is made up of greens and blues, which leaves the other half of steep terrain, much of that being quite extreme.
Imagine steep chutes and tree skiing like Silverton Mountain but without the hiking. Imagine cliff drops like those in Telluride but with pillows of powder to land in. Imagine huge, wide-open backcountry bowls like Vail but without the crowded lift lines. Imagine perfectly round moguls like Winter Park but without the Front Range traffic. Now imagine all of that terrain easily accessible at one place, and that’s Crested Butte.
Crested Butte is one of the few true mountain towns left in the West where it’s all about the skiing and riding and not about development. With two old-school T-bar lifts accessing their steepest terrain, luxury and comfort were not words we threw around much on the lifts, but the lack of crowds and fabulous terrain totally made up for it.
Some of the best runs had names to back them up. Headwall, Big Chute, and Paradise Cliffs were all knee deep in powder and required careful planning. Spellbound Bowl was certainly worth the short 10-15 minute traverse and hike, as it opened up to huge powder turns and even less people. North Face offered lots of little cliff drops of all shapes and sizes. Sock-It-To-Me Ridge tested our jump turns in the tight chutes, and Pinball tested our legs in some crazy steep moguls.
For those of you really looking for an adrenaline rush, Rambo is said to be the steepest run in North America at 55 degrees. It’s tight, it’s steep, and you’ll need a little bit more liquid courage than you think if you care to drop over that first headwall.
Lodging was great, as it was right at the base of the ski area. The Plaza provided a comfortable and affordable three-bedroom unit that was only a short 2-minute walk to the base of the Silver Queen lift. It’s important to note that when booking lodging, you have to book it through Crested Butte Vacations in order to get the three free days of lift tickets through Purg’s partner pass.
Go out and put those free days to use at a partner resort. If you’re only half as lucky as we were with our timing, you will not be disappointed.
If you have questions, comments or a specific topic you would like to see covered over the ski season, email Tex at firstname.lastname@example.org.