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Cranor Hill Ski Area

Gunnison’s Local Ski Hill

Cranor Hill Ski Area opened in 1962 and operates most seasons in Gunnison. Owned and operated by the City of Gunnison, Cranor Hill is another way to get outside during winter in Gunnison. Beginner and advanced skiers alike can enjoy getting their laps in at Cranor Hill. It might be the smallest place you’ve ever skied, but that doesn’t stop it from being a lot of fun. 

What is Cranor Hill like?

Small town skiing vibes

Cranor Hill has one Poma platter lift and four runs. This Poma platter lift is one of the oldest operating lifts in Colorado. It is a small ski area, with a vertical drop of 305 feet across 45 acres. The runs are groomed with a snowcat. Cranor Hill’s elevation is 7,860 ft. There is a small lodge at the base area with snacks for sale. Cranor Hill also has a small terrain park to practice jumps on. Cranor Hill first opened as a private ski ranch but was sold to the city of Gunnison in 1966 under the condition it remains a ski area. The City of Gunnison now operates Cranor Hill when it opens. Cranor Hill is a community ski hill and has a mellow vibe. It might remind those who learned how to ski in the east of home, but with better snow. It’s a great ski hill for beginners, groups with skiers of varying abilities or anyone who wants to get some quick laps in. The top of the lift gives you an excellent view of Gunnison and the West Elk Mountains in Gunnison National Forest. Some years Gunnison Parks and Recreation and Western Colorado University hold races and other ski events at Cranor Hill. Keep an eye out for free skiing days.

Uphill Travel at Cranor Hill

Cranor Hill is a great place to practice skinning. Skinning is traveling uphill on skis or a splitboard. You will need skins for your skis or splitboard. Skins attach to the underside of your skis or splitboard to give you traction when climbing uphill. When you’re done climbing, you remove the skins and ski or snowboard down normally. Uphill travel can take some getting used to. If you ever plan to venture into the backcountry, make sure you feel comfortable operating your equipment. Also ensure you have the proper skills, knowledge and equipment before heading out. Cranor Hill is available for uphill travel at night (bring a headlamp) and when the lift isn’t spinning. Since Cranor Hill isn’t very steep it’s a great place to practice uphill travel.

When is Cranor Hill open?

Cranor Hill is usually open from January to March. This depends on snow conditions, though. Cranor Hill relies fully on natural snow and has no snowmaking operations. Some seasons it opens late, closes early or doesn’t open at all. Take advantage of the fun turns at Cranor Hill when it does open! Skiing Cranor Hill is a treat because there’s no guarantee it will open every season.

Where is Cranor Hill Ski Area located?

Cranor Hill is in Gunnison, Colorado

Cranor Hill Ski Area is located at County Road 10, Gunnison, CO 81230. Gunnison is a small, laid-back college town in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. It has a rich history of ranching and mining. Today the town serves as the county seat for Gunnison County. It’s home to Western Colorado University (WCU). WCU takes advantage of its location by offering students a chance to join mountain sports teams, including alpine and freeride skiing. Located among two million acres of public lands, outdoor recreation is at the heart of Gunnison. Its access to the outdoors makes it a great spot for outdoor enthusiasts. 

A sunset over snowy mountain peaks

Is Cranor Hill on a ski pass?

Can I ski Cranor Hill on the Epic or Ikon Pass?

Cranor Hill is an independent ski hill not on a ski pass. It is owned and operated by the City of Gunnison. Lift tickets can be purchased in the lodge at the base area of the ski hill. Lift tickets range from $13-$22. Season passes are also available. Season passes are $80. For questions about tickets and to see if Cranor Hill is open, give the warming house a call at 970.641.4655.

Other things to do in Gunnison

Cross-country skiing, fat biking and more

Fat biking, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling and snowshoeing are other winter things to do in Gunnison. Hartman Rocks Recreation Area is a great spot for fat biking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Gunnison Trails grooms for fat biking and Gunnison Nordic grooms for Nordic skiing. For more downhill skiing, head to Crested Butte Mountain Resort. Pitkin, Colorado and Taylor Park are good snowmobiling spots. In summer enjoy mountain biking, boating, hiking, gravel biking and off-roading. After a day outside, head downtown. Main Street is where you’ll find most of the options for food and drinks. Many restaurants also have a bar where you can order craft beer and yummy cocktails. Go shopping and see art in the stores and galleries that line Main Street. Looking for coffee and a snack in the morning before heading out to ski? Check out one of the coffee shops downtown. The Arts Center hosts classes, live music, and theatre and is usually the first stop for the monthly First Friday Art Walk. Check out the events calendar to see what else is going on around town.

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