Winter in the Gunnison Valley means skiing! Alpine skiers who get a thrill from steep terrain can head to Crested Butte Mountain Resort for some of the best downhill skiing in Colorado. For a more mellow day of downhill skiing, head to Cranor Hill in Gunnison. Between the Crested Butte Nordic Center and the ski trails in Gunnison, Nordic skiers have dozens of miles of trails.
Crested Butte Mountain Resort (CBMR) is known for its steep and extreme terrain. The ski area holds 1,547 skiable acres and accumulates an average of 236” of snow each year. With a summit elevation of 12,162 feet and a base area elevation of 9,375, the resort is made accessible by 15 chairlifts serving 121 trails. It’s the kind of place you can ride all week and still find new areas to explore.
Crested Butte Nordic grooms more than 30 miles of pristine cross-country ski trails around Crested Butte. The trails, which are also open to snowshoers (and some to fat bikes), are accessible from right from town but still provide a quiet wilderness experience in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. Scenic views are boundless, from the blue waters of the Slate River to the white peaks of the Elk Mountains.
Cranor Hill is owned and operated by Gunnison Parks and Recreation. You can only hit Cranor Hill during heavy snow years- with no snowmaking operations the ski hill relies fully on natural snow. This small ski hill only has four runs, but that doesn’t stop it from being a great spot for quick laps.
There are a few places around Gunnison to Nordic ski. Dos Rios Golf Club, Van Tuyl Ranch and the Western Colorado University practice field are all options in town. Mill Creek and Hartman Rocks Recreation Area offer more of a wilderness experience.
Though skiing might be the main winter activity for many in the Gunnison Valley, there are plenty of other winter things to do. Gunnison and Crested Butte both have groomed areas for fat biking. The Elk Mountains around Crested Butte and Gunnison National Forest offer snowmobiling access. Many of the trails you hike on in the summer can be snowshoed in the winter. Looking for something more unique? Other winter activities include dog sledding, ice fishing, ice skating and sledding.
The Gunnison Valley is home to four mountain towns: Gunnison, Almont, Crested Butte, and Mt. Crested Butte. Each town has its own flair and amenities. Gunnison Valley is nestled within two million acres of public lands. The parks and outdoors that make up the public lands give you plenty to explore during your visit. Find a place to stay and winter things to do as you plan your trip to Colorado this winter.