Considered Colorado’s last unspoiled mountain town, Crested Butte maintains its former-mining-outpost vibe by simply being so hard to get to. A four-hour drive from Denver, over some gnarly passes, or an hour from tiny Gunnison airport, Crested Butte offers 1,500-acres of some of the most extreme terrain in the Rockies, including sidecountry like Teocalli 2 Bowl. But the upshot is a mountain that caters to very serious skiers and the shortest lift lines in the state, with none of the pretentiousness you might get at other Colorado resorts. CB’s 3,000 vertical drop is riddled with hairy cliffs, chutes, and cornices. And, while only half of its terrain is black diamond, 30 percent is double black — many say the terrain here is so serious that if you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s easy to get into trouble. No wonder Crested Butte is leading the charge for AT skiers: several routes are designated for uphill travel. Lift tickets are $108.
Where to Stay: As cool as the town of Crested Butte is, you’re here for first chair and fresh tracks. Book a plush room at Elevation Hotel and Spa, the only true ski-in-ski-out property, and the closest accommodation to Silver Queen Express lift.
Insider Tip: Hop the free city bus into town as often as possible to eat and drink alongside some of the crustiest, most passionate, and skilled skiers and boarder in the world, at places like Secret Stash Pizza House or the Dogwood Cocktail Cabin.