Did you know there are many events in Crested Butte and Gunnison? See live music, take an art class, volunteer, play trivia, watch (or participate in) a ski or bike race, and more! Check this calendar to see what’s going on.
The Elk Mountains Grand Traverse was conceived by Jan Runge in the 1990s. The race’s genesis was partially based on the historical mail routes that connected the Colorado mining towns of Crested Butte and Aspen in the 1880s. It also drew inspiration from the Patrouille des Glaciers, a point-to-point ski race in Switzerland which Runge had become familiar with in the 80s. In 1998, with the help of the community, Runge sent a brave field of competitors from Crested Butte, over the Elk Mountains, to Aspen. It worked, and the Extraordinary Backcountry Ski Race was born. In 2012, event ownership was transferred to Crested Butte Nordic. The race is now a major fundraiser for the organization. In 2014 the Grand Traverse summer events were launched. Now the Grand Traverse features a winter ski race, a summer mountain run, and a mountain bike race.
Gunnison Valley is also host to several beloved annual events. A classic winter event is The Alley Loop, a Nordic ski race that doubles as a costume contest. In fall, Mt. Crested Butte hosts the famous Chili and Beer Festival. Every summer in Gunnison, a crowd gathers to watch America’s fourth-oldest rodeo, Cattlemen’s Days. There are also festivals in Crested Butte that celebrate local art, music, wildflowers, and more. Attending an annual event is a good way to connect with the culture of the Gunnison Valley. You might even create a new tradition for you and your family and friends!