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Overview

The Southern Rockies, just below Aspen and Leadville, are filled with 30 "fourteeners," or 14,000-foot peaks, but this area is known for skiing in just a few areas. The primary one is Crested Butte, which locals call "the last great ski town," a little historic area where it is not unusual to see people streaming down the slopes in kilts, pink-bunny costumes or no clothes at all. The town's personality is very different from hoity-toity Aspen and hippie-filled Telluride — in the winter, it's a magnet for extreme sports, and the ski resort plays host to the Winter X Games, the U.S. Extreme Freeskiing Championships, and the U.S. Extreme ...

The Southern Rockies, just below Aspen and Leadville, are filled with 30 "fourteeners," or 14,000-foot peaks, but this area is known for skiing in just a few areas. The primary one is Crested Butte, which locals call "the last great ski town," a little historic area where it is not unusual to see people streaming down the slopes in kilts, pink-bunny costumes or no clothes at all. The town's personality is very different from hoity-toity Aspen and hippie-filled Telluride — in the winter, it's a magnet for extreme sports, and the ski resort plays host to the Winter X Games, the U.S. Extreme Freeskiing Championships, and the U.S. Extreme Boarderfest, among others. In Salida, there is also Ski Monarch, with 55 trails spread out over 670 acres along the Continental Divide, evenly divided among expert and beginner runs. (Generally, Salida and nearby Buena Vista are more equipped for summer than winter visits.) Beware road conditions during the best times for winter sports; heavy snowfall can close Kebler Pass, along Highway 135, forcing travelers to use the longer, unpaved Highway 82 or 133 to get to Crested Butte.

Steve Knopper
About the Expert

Steve Knopper is the Denver-based author of Moon Handbooks Colorado as well as a contributor to numerous Fodor's city guides.

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Steve Knopper for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Winter for skiing at Crested Butte; spring and fall for sightseeing