Downhill Skiing and Snowboarding

Crested Butte Mountain Resort. The skiing here has a split personality, which is plain to see when you check out the skiers who descend on the place year after year. Its mellow half is the network of trails on the front side of the mountain, characterized by long intermediate runs. Families flock to Crested Butte for these trails, as well as the children's ski-school facilities and the laid-back and friendly vibe.

The wilder side of Crested Butte's personality is the Extreme Limits, more than 500 acres of backcountry-like terrain (all double black diamond), with steep bowls, gnarly chutes, and tight tree skiing. It's some of the toughest in-bounds skiing in North America. Sign up for one of the guided programs for expert instruction (and insider info on the best powder stashes on the mountain).

The best expert skiing on the front side of the mountain is off the Silver Queen high-speed quad, which shoots you up 2,078 vertical feet in one quick ride. For beginners there's a wonderful expanse of easy terrain from the Red Lady Express lift. Facilities: 121 trails; 1,547 acres; 2,755-foot vertical drop; 13 lifts. 12 Snowmass Rd., Crested Butte, Colorado, 81224. 855/969–3022; www.skicb.com. Lift ticket from $108. Late Nov.–early Apr., daily 9–4.

Lessons and Programs

Crested Butte Ski and Ride School. A full-day adult group lesson costs $134 (lift ticket not included) and is available for all levels. For kids ages 3 through 16, Camp CB offers single all-day lessons starting at $164, which includes lunch. Private lessons are also available. 12 Snowmass Rd., Crested Butte, Colorado, 81224. 800/444–9236.

Rentals

Crested Butte Sports. Full rental packages (including skis, boots, and poles), as well as telemark, snowshoe, and snowboard equipment, are available at this outfitter. Rates start at $24 per day. There's also a retail store and full repair shop. 35 Emmons Loop Rd., Crested Butte, Colorado, 81225. 970/349–7516; 800/970–9704; www.crestedbuttesports.com.

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