A Brave Ski Mom Interview with Carrie Brown-Wolf*, the Silverton Ski Fanatics and Laura, a Part-Time CB Resident
Sometimes you just hear the same thing over and over and over again. And when you do, you kind of have to pay attention. Over the last month, I have been asking (begging? nagging?) friends, acquaintances and perfect strangers for their opinions about their favorite places for family skiing. As the answers rolled in, one resort name kept coming up. You guessed it: Crested Butte.
Carrie, Silverton Ski Fanatics and Laura: Crested Butte!
Why is this resort your favorite?
Silverton Ski Fanatics: The great coffee joint right at the top of the terrain park (Camp 4 Coffee at the top of the Painter Boy lift). Other things too — lots of varied terrain, no crowds.
Carrie: I can’t think of anything on the hill that is particularly great for families, but we love the low-key, old-school feel of the entire town and mountain. Because it was a mining town before a ski resort, it has great charm. We love walking around the homes painted purple and turquoise, some covered in license plates. Great character!
Laura: When I compare Crested Butte to other mountains and all the extremes are open, it is a great mountain. We love the town, love the people and love the area. It is a great mountain for families with intermediate ability and above. For families with beginners, I think it is a good choice for a weekend.
What are the best amenities at this resort for family skiing?
Laura: The friendliness of the town. The free bus service between Crested Butte and Mount Crested Butte. No lift lines.
Back when our kids were in ski school we loved the fact that the ski school was never crowded. A group lesson would usually turn into a private or semi-private lesson.
There are also great trails for cross-country skiing!
What needs to be improved at this resort to make it even better for family skiing?
Silverton Ski Fanatics: More powder?
Laura: The resort needs more quick places to eat on-mountain or in the base area. With the Gothic building gone, there really isn’t much of a base. For families with beginners, there aren’t very many green runs going down to the base. The greens are served by the Red Lady chair and it can get packed. It is a big step moving from the Red Lady green runs to the blue runs off of Paradise. The Painter Boy chair to the north helps with this and does provide some more easy terrain without any lift lines.
What makes this resort unique?
Carrie: We love the mountain because you have to hike to get to the really good stuff, and usually don’t see lots of people in that area. You get a good sense of being in the middle of nowhere.
What are your favorite places to eat at this resort?
Carrie: Crested Butte has lots of great restaurants. Our favorite is a pizza joint in an old house called Secret Stash Pizza.
Silverton Ski Fanatics: Secret Stash Pizza.
Laura: At the mountain base, we love D’jangos, especially for an “adult” dinner. They serve “small plates” which are delicious and in the summer you can sit outside. For casual dining, we like the Lobar, which is owned by the same people who own the Secret Stash. LoBar serves sushi and other things. They have great ginger martinis and ginger mojitos and their french fries with parmesan cheese and truffle oil are to die for. Donita’s is good for casual mexican. A really unique place is the Dogwood Cocktail Cabin, a cocktail, appetizer and desert place in an old Victorian home. Everything on their menu is fresh and unique. It is very cozy in the winter and a great place to sit outside in the summer. No kids allowed however.
What is your favorite place to stay at this resort?
Silverton Ski Fanatics: The hostel in downtown Crested Butte.
Laura: The Grand Lodge is convenient, just a quick walk to the chairlifts. It has big rooms and they all have small kitchens. They have the best pool in Crested Butte. The Nordic Inn, also near the base, has a great fireplace and is very cute.
What is your favorite thing about family skiing?
Carrie: Skiing is not just about flying down the hill. For our family, it’s also about playing cards in front of the fire, walking through town and having hot cocoa, sitting in a hot tub together, and eating!
Silverton Ski Fanatics: Jumping the jumps!
Laura: You can be outside getting exercise in the Winter, for eight hours, together.
The Brave Ski Mom Adds…….
Thanks Carrie, Laura and the Silverton Ski Fanatics!
Here is the Crested Butte website, with tons of information on lift ticket pricing, lodging and dining.
Right now, CB is running an incredible Christmas Getaway deal: four nights of lodging at the Grand Lodge for a family of up to four people and three days of lift tickets for 2 adults and 2 kids 17 and under for $999! This offer is good December 17-27 and must be booked by December 18.
Carrie and Laura both mentioned Crested Butte’s Extreme Terrain. Two surface lifts serve the extremes: The High Lift and the North Face. You can access some great steeps off of these lifts or hike a bit to the Teocalli Bowl (High Lift) and the Spellbound, Phoenix and Third bowls (North Face). Be prepared to hike out when you’re done.
When snow is plentiful a great “lap” will give you an extreme tour of the entire mountain. Take the Silver Queen chair to the top, then take the High Lift up. Ski the Headwall and get in line for the North Face J-bar. Ski any run except Rachel’s (it will just take you back to the North Face lift again), hike out to the East River area. Ski down and take the East River chair up. Ski over to the Paradise Chair, take it up, ski back to the frontside and down to the Silver Queen chair. Repeat. The extreme terrain is challenging, so this is for advanced skiers and above only.
My family has never been able to get a table at the Secret Stash without a long wait, so plan ahead. We’re always so hungry that we can’t wait. It must be terrific…
Our absolute favorite quick, inexpensive place to eat in Crested Butte is Teocalli Tamale. The good is fabulous, the atmosphere is fun and casual. There is no table service, but there are tables and they turn over pretty quickly. The owner is super nice, as is the staff. We found Teocalli Tamale on a cold, January night when the entire natural gas system in CB had gone down due to an explosion. I don’t know how they did it, but they were one of the few restaurants still able to serve food and it was delicious. We now make an annual pilgrimage to get our tamale fix.
I have to concur that the Grand Lodge is a great place to stay. They have cookies in the afternoon around the fire and they’ll even take your skis and poles to the base ski storage and store them for free for the length of your stay.
In town, we go basic and stay at the Old Town Inn. The rooms are small, the bathrooms smaller, but they are clean, the staff is friendly, they have a nice big outdoor hot tub and a good continental breakfast that is more than sweet carbs. The price and convenience to the free bus cannot be beat.
*Carrie Brown-Wolf is the award-winning author of Soul Sunday: A Family’s Guide to Exploring Faith and Teaching Tolerance.
Finally, Cathy from Colorado won the signed advance copy of Fade To White. Congratulations!
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