Crested Butte, CO Nov. 15--For the ninth year in a row, Crested Butte Mountain Resort will offer free lift tickets for six weeks of the season--Nov. 24-Dec. 18, 1999, and April 2-16, 2000. Pegged as the "Greatest Ski Deal On Earth"--this ski bargain is every skier's dream--a no-strings-attached, no-purchase-required deal. Just free tickets for the taking.
Crested Butte's usually superb early and late season snow conditions make this an especially sweet bargain. The resort received its first big snow of the season a few weeks ago, when a full 10" of powder rained down on the mountain town in just one day. "It was a blizzard, you couldn't even see." said Carolyn Bird, Special Events Manager for Crested Butte. "It was just beautiful."
Old Man Winter has been elusive of late however, so the resort has been relying on their snowmaking equipment to build up their base. "We should have at least two runs open, even if it keeps up at this rate", says Bird, "but hopefully there will be another storm soon."
No worries here, it is free skiing after all, and the area is well known for its big dumps of powder, with an annual average snowfall of approximately 300".
As can be expected, the biggest crowds show up for free skiing on the weekends, with up to 8,000 skiers visiting the slopes over the course of last Thanksgiving weekend--the busiest weekend last season. You can count on the slopes being much less crowded mid-week.
But if you want to ski free at the Butte, this winter may be your last chance. Resort officials report that the "Greatest Ski Deal on Earth" is in its final season. "We introduced this deal to the ski industry nine years ago, and we believe it's run its' course," said Bird. "It's definitely time for something new." Don't despair yet, though, as Crested Butte has made that threat for the last two seasons.
Since the skiing is free, you may want to opt for luxury accommodations at one of the resort's two signature hotels. Stay at the Crested Butte Marriott Resort for $225 per person for 3 nights, or, at the Sheraton Crested Butte for just $201, per person for three nights, any time during the free lift tickets periods. Rates are based on double occupancy in a standard room.
Additionally, the town of Crested Butte boasts no fewer than 50 hotels, which cover the full spectrum, from sumptuous to supersaver. These inns, B&Bs, and condominiums will be offering enticing packages throughout the "ski free" season. For more information call Crested Butte Vacations, Crested Butte Mountain Resort's central reservations center at 800-544-8448. Crested Butte officially opens for the season on Nov. 24.