A Beginner's Guide to Crested Butte Mountain Resort

Posted on Dec. 15, 2023
Crested Butte Mountain Resort is known as the North American birthplace of inbounds extreme skiing and riding — so you know it’s an expert’s paradise! We also have plenty to offer those who are just starting out in the sport, plus the stepping stones to get you ready for those hair-raising steeps that thrill-seekers will love! Whether you’re a first-timer or are becoming more comfortable on beginner trails, we’ve got some tips to help you make the most of your Crested Butte ski experience.
Child Ski Lesson at Crested Butte
1. Book a lesson

Just like when picking up any new skill, the best way to learn to ski or snowboard is by practicing with someone who knows their stuff! Whether you’re just starting out on the magic carpet or looking to start mastering those beginner runs with ease, taking a lesson is the best way to get the basics down and gain confidence on the mountain. Remember, the foundational skills we learn as beginners are the same skills the experts use as they move to more challenging terrain and engage their skills at higher speeds.

2. Explore beginner terrain

Once you’ve gotten some tips from your instructor, it’s time to start practicing your skills on one of our three magic carpets in the base area. These conveyors are great for beginners to master sliding and stopping on a very gently slope. Your next move will be to Peachtree chairlift. This will be the third winter for Peachtree – a three-person fixed-grip lift serving beginner terrain at the base of the resort. It’s your stepping stone to the steeps, allowing beginners to focus on the fundamentals: starting, stopping, balance, carving and more.

The next step after riding the trails off Peachtree is to try some beginner terrain off Red Lady Express. Houston is a great trail to try first, as it is wide and low angle. Then you can take on greens like Peanut, Roller Coaster and Poverty Gulch. When you’re feeling ready, ride Houston to Painter Boy chairlift and try some of the beginner trails in that area. Check out our 2023/24 winter trail map to find more beginner trails to explore at the resort.

3. Refuel with a view

Skiing is hard work, especially when you’re just starting out! Take a break and grab some lunch or a beverage while enjoying scenic views at one of our many beginner-accessible dining locations.

The Umbrella Bar at Ten Peaks is located at the top of Painter Boy chairlift, a perfect location for beginners to refuel while exploring the mountain. It offers postcard-perfect views of the valley and a variety of food options for the whole family.

Guests seeking a more upscale experience should check out Uley’s Cabin. Located at the bottom of Peanut – one of our popular beginner trails off Red Lady Express – Uley’s offers a sit-down classic Colorado-style menu with a cozy cabin feel. Reservations are available through OpenTable. The outdoor bar includes cocktails and American-style favorites on the grill, plus games like cornhole and giant Jenga. After a bite or beverage, guests can ski right back down to the base! Uley's is open Wednesday-Sunday.

If you want to stick to the base area, you have plenty of options. Butte 66 Bar & Grille is just steps away from the bottom of Red Lady Express and features some of the best views of the Butte. Butte 66 offers a full bar and table service with a barbeque-inspired menu and a lively après scene, including happy hour specials and extended hours on the weekends beginning in late December.

If you're itching to get back out there quickly, stop at Rooster Run next door for chicken and fries (with a vegetarian option, of course!). Coal Breaker Coffee Co. next to the Treasury Center Ticket Office is also a great option for a quick bite to-go, offering a variety of breakfast and lunch options.

Whether you’re looking for fuel to start your morning or an après slice at the end of the day, Highlife Crust & Crafts (formerly Woodstone Grille) has you covered! Located in the Grand Lodge next to the Transit Center, Highlife serves up a variety of pizzas and draft brews in addition to happy hour specials with to-go slices from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm. The pizza is hand-tossed with dough made in house from scratch, using the highest quality ingredients. In the morning, Highlife Crust & Crafts serves made-to-order breakfast options for dine-in and take-out, including breakfast burritos, egg scramblers and fresh-baked cinnamon rolls.

For restaurant locations, opening dates and hours of operation, please visit our website.

4. Explore Elk Ave.

Skiing is hard work, especially when you aren’t used to doing it all the time! Take a break from the slopes and explore downtown Crested Butte. It is located about two miles from CBMR and centers around the main strip of Elk Avenue. The street is lined with vibrant, colorful buildings that date back to the town’s mining days. From bars and restaurants to museums and art galleries, boutiques and so much more, this adorable little stretch contains something for everyone.

The best part? Getting there from the mountain is a breeze. The Mountain Express shuttles guests between the base area and town every 15 minutes in the winter, all for free!

We can’t wait for you to explore everything this “Butte-ful” valley has to offer! Remember to book your stay with us and we’ll see you on the slopes this winter.