Crested Butte Mountain Resort offers some of the steepest resort skiing in North America. We love skiing the resort. But, we also love heading into the backcountry.
Backcountry Skiing in Crested Butte is nearly limitless. Whether you access the area by foot or with the aid of a snowmobile, there are plenty of lines to choose from. Additionally, many of the backcountry ski lines north and west of the resort can receive two to three times as much snow as the resort receives. Just another reason why backcountry skiing in Crested Butte is amazing.
Note about Safety
Before heading into the backcountry, it’s important to have the proper knowledge and experience. Avalanche safety courses are a must as well as the proper avalanche gear. At a minimum, you should always carry a shovel, beacon, and probe – and know how to use them. Also, be educated on the avalanche forecasts and terrain before you head out.
Backcountry Skiing Resources
- Crested Butte Avalanche Center – Find your avalanche forecasts here!
- Colorado Avalanche Information Center – Another useful tool for avalanche forecasting
- Irwin Guides – Need to take an avalanche class? Need avalanche training? Want to hire a guide to take you to the good stuff? These are the guys! CBMG also has a range of skills courses – like an introductory course in backcountry skiing or splitboarding all the way to a class where you can perfect your ski mountaineering!
- Colorado BC – Another valuable resource. Best if you want to hire a guide for the Crested Butte backcountry
Backcountry Skiing Access
Backcountry skiing is typically accessed by foot (skinning, sometimes snowshoeing) or with the aid of a snowmobile. For lines closer to town, a snowmobile is not needed. But, many of our ski routes are accessed via dirt roads that are not plowed in the winter – perfect for a snowmobile. Renting snowmobiles is an option, although expensive. Never fear, if you don’t have a snowmobile, plenty of closer lines exist where one is not needed.
What to Ski in Crested Butte’s Backcountry
Below is a list of some of the more accessible things to ski in the Crested Butte backcountry.
Trailhead: Slate River Winter Closure
Trailhead: Snodgrass TH off of Gothic Road
If you need more details accessing these backcountry areas, we highly recommend purchasing Andy Sovick’s Off-Piste Ski Atlas for Crested Butte. This compact guide has trailhead info, brief route descriptions, and good aerial photos to help you choose your routes wisely. You can purchase the Atlas directly from our store:
I have also published a Gothic Area Backcountry Skiing Guide. Get your FREE copy here:
If you have specific questions about peaks or other regions to ski in the Crested Butte area, try searching our site:
You might find the answers you are looking for 🙂 You will also find a search bar in the navigation menu or on the right side bar.
Brittany Walker Konsella
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