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Crested Butte

Crested Butt e rubs off on you. The same way you pick up a drawl after spending time with Southerners, you can’t help but take on a CB affect, with endless gratitude and perhaps a dash of smug satisfaction for having been lucky and/or smart enough to land here. Carving morning GS turns on the midmountain’s cascading double-blues as the rising sun chases shadows off perfect corduroy feels almost divinely inspired. An afternoon jump-turning the “holy extreme terrain, Batman!” on the back side and the steeper-than-steep gullies streaming from the peak—without the mercy of a single liftline to rest your legs—reminds you you’re alive. And mortal. But quite blessed. Maybe that’s why the locals—who outnumber the tourists in this “small, quaint and unpretentious town”— are so humble “and make you feel so welcome.” —D.W.

What’s New» Unclick at the top of the Peachtree lift and take Colorado’s only zipline canopy tour, which soars right over the ski trails year-round.

On-Hill Lunch » Lest you think CB’s laid-back vibe means it eschews gourmet, try a white-linen lunch at Uley’s Cabin; there’s also a prix-fixe sleigh-ride dinner.

Bragging Rights » At 55 degrees, Rambo is one of the steepest cut trails in the States. Huge bumps. Straight fall line. Full throttle.

Skiing Crested Butte

Skiing Crested Butte
Crested Butte Map
Long-time local and former freeskiing champion Alison Gannett reveals her lesser known sweet spots on the North Face. Follow at your own risk: This local doesn’t do blues.

From the top of the Paradise Lift—check out the jibsters in the DC Terrain Park on the way up—veer skier’s left and follow signs to the North Face lift (locals refer to it as the NFL). At the top of NFL follow signs to the North Face area entrance and proceed through the snow fence. To avoid tracks, traverse right for about 100 feet before dropping in. “Keep your head up for a few sharks on the first few turns,” Gannet advises, “but then you find a great powder field.” Head straight down the fall line, staying out of the bowl on the far right.

Alison Gannett, Saving Our Snow

Alison Gannett, Saving Our Snow

Gannett, a world champion freeskier, launched the Global Cooling Tour when she sustained a career-ending injury. She also works on former V.P. Al Gore’s Climate Project.

Gannett, a world champion freeskier, launched the Global Cooling Tour when she sustained a career-ending injury. She also works on former V.P. Al Gore’s Climate Project. That's why we're starting our list of High-Country Heroes with her.

Alison Gannett, a 43-year-old world champion extreme freeskier who lives in Crested Butte, Colo., was supposed to meet me at her place this morning. But last night, a fast-moving storm dropped nine inches of fluff. Gannett calls at 9, panting. “Let’s meet at the North Face T-bar at 11:30.” I get there five minutes late, and wait awhile before I realize that she has already split. North Face accesses Crested Butte’s double-black-diamond and extreme backcountry terrain, where Gannett has been doing laps since first chair. My cell phone rings again. “I’m headed to Third Bowl,” she says.

Scott Kennett wins his fourth US Extreme Freeskiing Masters Championship

Although Kennett is at least ten years older than his competitors, he still managed to claim his fourth title.

Crested Butte, Colo., Feb. 22 -- Scott Kennett, 51, of Telluride, has edged out Aaron Lypps, 42, of Crested Butte, for the U.S. Extreme Freesking Masters Division Championship.

It was Kennett’s fourth victory in this contest since the division was formed in 2001. He won in 2001 and 2002, 2007 and this year. He crashed out in 2003 and 2004 and was sidelined while recuperating from injuries in 2005 and 2006.

Where Now: Crested Butte, CO

One of the West’s best skier’s mountains debuts new terrain, lodging and dining. And that’s just the beginning.

Cruising up the Silver Queen Express in steady snowfall, it’s hard not to be amazed by how steep and narrow Crested Butte’s terrain is. Off to the right are a handful of chutes like Peel and Banana Funnel. The latter is currently socked in by low-hanging clouds. But it’s there. I know because when you drive into town on a clear day, it’s the first thing you see—a tight gulley running down the mountain that gives this small town its name. And if steep and narrow aren’t enough, the mountain also throws in rocks—rather, boulders—trees and plenty of cliff drops.

Upward Mobility: The Coburn House

Upward Mobility: The Coburn House

The kitchen, living, and dining rooms sit on the second floor in what Bill Coburn calls his "upside-down house." He says, "In Crested Butte, the snow stacks up above your first-floor windows. You want your living area to be where you can see out."

It’s hard to come home from a ski trip—especially one in Crested Butte, Colo. Which is why a Boulder family decided to move there.

Bill and Annie Coburn didn’t mean to move to Crested Butte. They met, some time ago, at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Bill grew up in Boulder. They got engaged in Boulder, had three kids in Boulder. “I’m a big Boulder fan,” Bill says now. And yet Boulder, tiny but urbane, sitting enviably in the Rocky Mountain foothills, had one serious and perhaps insurmountable drawback: The closest skiing is 40 minutes away.

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