Over the Xmas break Brian and I were in desperate need of something to look forward to, so I set out on booking not one, but three vacations. The first one of the year we ended up going to the “Big Gay Ski Trip” put on by one of the Denver gays. This year he decided to go to Crested Butte. I have been there a few times in the summer to go mountain biking, but have never had the chance to snowboard there. So when we found out about this trip I jumped at the opportunity.
It turned out to be a reasonably priced weekend since we were able to get 2 day lift tickets for only $99 at Costco, and the guy was able to negotiate a decent price at one of the hotels at the base of the mountain. About the worst part of going to Crusty Butt is the 4+ hour drive (took us over 4.5 because it was dark and Monarch pass was slippery)
Crested Butte has an amazing small mountain vibe to it. It’s definitely not like the stuffy vibe you get at Aspen or Vail. To contribute to that small mountain feel was snow banks that had to be at least 6′ tall and the impressive Crested Butte mountain that springs up form the town. We stayed at the Grand Lodge which is only a 2 minute walk, had a hot tub, mini kitchen, king size bed, and a murphy bed (we didn’t use this since our friends ended up not going).
The first day we ended up just doing all blue runs since my back was giving me problems and Brian was still getting over a sinus infection. I was surprised how well he did with the elevation and not being able to breath that well. It was a sunny slushy day snowboarding and their blue runs are quite fun. I was able to occasionally dip into the trees for a bit of fun in there. I also gave their freestyle track a try and boy was that fun. You can get going really fast through those corners. We ended up skiing until around 3, then headed down for après, hot tub, and then dinner at Bonez (I thought it was going to be barbecue but it was a cool Mexican restaurant with excellent margaritas.
The second day we had a bit of a rough time. Brian wasn’t feeling so good but decided to go up and try anyways. Big mistake. After going down the first run to the Paradise warming hut, he knew he was done for the day. He just didn’t know how he was going to be able to get down .. do I try to make it down by myself? Take a sled down with the ski patrol? Or, do I find a way to get down with the lifts? We attempted to get down using the lifts, but after taking one lift up that looked like it was next to one that could take us to the base, we discovered he would have to hike up a short hill .. not a good option. So, he ended up toughing it out and going down their awful green runs (They are too flat with too many people)After I got him situated in the room, I headed back up the mountain to try and see what all the excitement over their double blacks was about (Crested Butte is known for it’s steep and deep terrain). To get to most of the fun terrain in CB you end up on one of the two T-Bars (which I haven’t done in a few years). I ended up taking the North Face T-Bar to get back to the North Face wall and the Spellbound Bowl. Crested Butte definitely lived up to the steep and deep over there. I had two amazing runs and was stunned by the scenery. But, after that my back had been jarred enough and I decided to quit while I could still make it down the mountain.