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Crested Butte

Airports Near Aspen, Colorado

jet_slopesWhile Denver International Airport is Colorado’s largest airport and is generally the easiest and cheapest to fly into, it is a four-hour mountain drive to Aspen, and even farther from the western ski resorts of Telluride and Durango. Colorado High Country has a variety of airports that are closer to its world-class ski resorts, allowing for more direct, quicker travel.

The Aspen/Pitkin County Airport (aspenairport.com) is Aspen’s regional airport, just five minutes from the resort area. Take a morning flight and be skiing by afternoon. Two airlines service the airport: United Express, operated by SkyWest, and Republic, operated by Frontier. Direct flights are available from cities including Denver, Los Angeles and Chicago.

While Aspen/Pitkin County Airport is the most convenient airport to Aspen travel, there are other airports in the surrounding ski country that are much closer to Aspen than Denver. Further, so long as you don’t mind car travel, these airports will allow you to piece together trips with other famous Colorado ski resorts. Eagle County Regional Airport (eaglecounty.us/airport) is about an hour and a half north of Aspen and is located conveniently to Vail and Beaver Creek. To the south, Gunnison airport (gunnisoncounty.org/airport.html) is not much closer than Denver, but would allow you to combine a trip to Crested Butte, one of Colorado’s most challenging ski areas, with a trip to Aspen.

Top Ski Bars In Colorado’s High Country

imagesColorado’s high country is home to some of the most fun ski bars in the United States. After all, Colorado provides some of the most fantastic skiing in the world. Once you’ve hit the slopes for the day, it’s time to unwind with friends and family. Below are five of the best apres-ski watering holes to replenish. My favorite bar in Telluride is the historic Sheridan. Click here to read CBSDenvers favorite high country bars.

Secret Stash, Crested Butte, CO – Secret Stash has the best pizza, wings and beer in the Crested Butte area. The pub is a very popular hangout after a long day of skiing or snowboarding. It has been a staple in the area since 2002 and features a happy hour each weekday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.  It’s a restaurant and a fun bar hangout all in one. 

Ajax Tavern,  Aspen, CO – Ajax Tavern is located in Aspen, at the base of Aspen Mountain. This is a fantastic restaurant during the day. One of its most popular entrees is the Ajax double cheeseburger with truffle fries. Once your day of skiing is done, you can kick back and relax with friends in the bar area. It’s a fun place to hang out with a great selection of the finest wines, as well as signature martinis and microbrews.

Cecilia’s Martini Bar, Breckenridge, CO-  Cecilia’s Martini Bar is located in Breckenridge. It provides an amazingly fun time to spend with friends and family after a great day on the slopes. Cecilia’s has a vast selection of spirits, including its signature martinis. There are nightly DJs, making it a prime spot to keep those ski legs loose with dancing.

Colorado Ski Visits Down 11%

colorado-ski-map-620x406According to The Colorado Springs Business Journal ski visits across the state of Colorado are down 11.5% so far this season, compared to the same period last year. The Journal sites the lack of snow and late openings for many Colorado resorts as major factors in the drop of skier traffic.

“First period is largely fueled by in-state visitors, and an unseasonably warm October and November kept many Coloradans from tallying lots of ski days” said Melanie Mills, president and CEO of Colorado Ski Country USA, a nonprofit industry group that represents several of the state’s largest ski resorts. “Snow did not arrive in earnest until mid-December.”

Despite the slow start, ski areas saw a strong holiday period with conditions more in line with an average year. The New Year started with storms, which bodes well for the rest of the season, she said.

“There is some real buoyancy in the indicators for the months ahead. February and March hotel bookings are pacing ahead of last year by 3.5 percent and 8.6 percent respectively,” Mills said. “Carnival and Easter are well-timed for ski visitation this year and Colorado’s traditional snowier months lie ahead.”.

Click here to read the entire article.

Crested Butte Submits New Master Development Plan

Screen-shot-2013-01-17-at-8.30.50-AM-620x405Crested Butte Mountain Resort has submitted its new 2012 Master Development Plan to the U.S. Forest Service for review and acceptance. The plans main goal is to attract and retain destination visitors to the area. The process can be expected to take a minimum of two years.

Lifts

  • Upgrading and relocating the North Face surface lift to a fixed-grip triple chairlift.
  • Relocating Gold Link lift to a new lower area and upgrading it to a detachable quad.
  • Red Lady Lift to be upgraded to a 2,400 person per hour capacity via additional chairs on the cable.
  • The Painter Boy Lift upgraded to a detachable quad.
  • Teocalli Lift to be realigned/extended to the west so that its upper terminal is located adjacent to the top terminal of the Red Lady Express and the future Red Lady Lodge. The MDP seeks approval to upgrade the lift to a fixed-grip or detachable quad.

Click here to read the entire article.

Your Guide to Buying a Rural Property in the Rocky Mountains

imagesThe Rocky Mountains offer many pristine, rural properties, ranches and farm houses for sale.  Here are ten pieces of advice to keep in mind before buying:

  1. Is the water supply public or private? If it’s well water, you should have it tested to check for chemicals or other harmful components.
  2. Does the house have adequate septic? When a house is constructed in a rural area, a leach field is built to collect sewage and water waste. Make sure the leach field is the proper size to avoid costly construction bills down the road.
  3. Is the house on a private road? If so, you could be facing thousands of dollars in extra expenses each year, as you’ll be forced to split the bill with your fellow residents for plowing, maintenance and paving.
  4. Has the area ever experienced a major power outage? If so, how long was the power out?
  5. How is the air quality? Ask about radon levels and smog levels from any nearby manufacturing plants.
  6. What is the average snowfall? How does the town handle major snowstorms?
  7. Where are the boundary lines? Make sure the property divisions are clear and established.
  8. Who handles trash pickup? Is there a nearby dumping ground?
  9. Are there any deed and zoning restrictions?
  10. How difficult is it to maintain the property?

Colorado Revenue Continues to Grow, Economists Say

imagesColorado’s economy continues to outperform expectations, spurred on by tax revenue from stock sales, although unemployment remains high, state economists told lawmakers Monday.  The state’s tax receipts are expected to be $548.2 million, or 7.1 percent higher, this budget year than the prior year, according to Gov. John Hickenlooper’s economists. The latest quarterly forecast from state economists touched on familiar trends of past reports: Colorado’s economy is outperforming the national economy, but there remains caution because of the revenue growth is driven by taxes on one-time stock sales.  “We have clue after clue that what we’re dealing with is volatile revenue stream,” said Henry Sobanet, Hickenlooper’s budget director.  With the adjusted revenue numbers from December, the state’s general fund is expected to be $8.3 billion for the fiscal year that began in July. The general fund now exceeds the pre-Great Recession peak of $7.7 billion in 2007. The quarterly forecast released Monday afternoon will play a key role in the upcoming debate over the budget, especially as lawmakers debate an overhaul of the state’s system to fund schools. Lawmakers typically give final approval to the budget next month.  State legislative economists also delivered a separate forecast to lawmakers Monday with a similar outlook of cautious optimism for the state.  “I believe it is the spring of this recovery. However, know that storms can still happen in the spring,” said Natalie Mullis, the Legislature’s chief economist.

Click here to read the entire article.

Colorado Ski Towns Face Off in Energy Challenge

imagesAspen, Crested Butte and Vail compete for skier days every winter. But this March, the towns and the counties they’re located in will go head-to-head for energy assessments in the Energy Smart Challenge.  In 2010, Eagle, Pitkin and Gunnison Counties all received Department of Energy grant funding to offer the Energy Smart Program. Now, in the third year of the program, it’s time for a little friendly competition.

The Energy Smart Challenge kicked off on Friday and will end on Earth Day, April 20. Every homeowner who signs up for an energy assessment during the Energy Smart Challenge will be entered into a raffle for a free pair of custom, locally-made skis. One lucky participant from the Aspen/Snowmass area, including Basalt, Redstone, Marble and unincorporated Pitkin and Eagle Counties within the Roaring Fork Valley, will win a pair of custom-made Double Barrel Meier skis from beetle-kill pine.

Besides good karma and bragging rights, the winning county will also receive recognition on the Energy Smart and Protect Our Winters websites and an Energy Smart Pizza Party for the community.

“Since the program began, we’ve facilitated 3,111 home energy assessments and 1,439 home energy improvements,” said Amelia Potvin, the Energy Smart Program Manager in Pitkin County. “The Energy Smart Challenge is a way to encourage more homeowners to take advantage of the program.”

Click here to read the entire article.

Crested Butte Ski Area Lays Out Vision for Growth

indexCrested Butte Mountain Resort’s new master development plan includes visions of adding about 440 acres and two new lifts on its east side.  One goal: to entice more visitors to stay longer at the out-of-the-way destination resort, which is smaller than the Vail, Telluride and Steamboat ski areas. The resort also aims to make itself more appealing to intermediate skiers and snowboarders, not just experts, who will bring their families.

“We’ve done surveys the last three to four years. The number one comment from guests is always, ‘Can you add more terrain?'” said John Sale, the resort’s director of planning and sustainability. On average, customers stay for about 3 1/2 days, which is a shorter than what peer resorts boast, he said. “Once people make the effort to get here, they would love to have additional ski pods to ski.”

The mountain also wants to boost year-round activities so that summer activities make up 30 percent of total revenue, up from roughly one-fourth of overall revenue today. To that end, it envisions adding several miles of biking and multiuse trails.  The U.S. Forest Service is reviewing whether to accept the plan, which lays out a vision of how the resort might grow over the next five to 10 years, rather than an exact outline of what will happen.

It includes adding 440 acres in the Teo Park and Drainage area. It would also add two lifts, a warming hut and ski patrol station in that area. The changes are intended to let intermediate skiers and riders take a chairlift to get to runs with more of a remote, backcountry feel without having to take an expert black diamond trail.

“A lot of times people affiliate Crested Butte with extreme terrain. We’ve got plenty of it. At the same time, the intermediate skier can get that experience without having to huck off double blacks to get there (after the proposed changes),” Sale said.  Other lifts would be upgraded to better distribute visitors on the mountain and improve access to terrain.

Click here to read the entire article.

An Epic Hike From Crested Butte to Aspen in Colorado

On-the-trail-near-the-Maroon-Bells-outside-of-Aspen-200x300Some vacations are about relaxing; some are about sightseeing and some are about accomplishing a goal—climbing a mountain, becoming a certified scuba diver, visiting as many ball parks as you can in two weeks. I’d always wanted to do the famous hike between Crested Butte in Southwest Colorado and Aspen –12.2 miles along the West Maroon trail, crossing the Maroon Pass which is 12,500 feet high. And in the year since— as we get ready to meet up with family for a week at a Portico  Club  rental house in Snowmass, up the road from Aspen–I’ve thought  a lot about that hike.

That I was able to do it has not only given me confidence to push myself in other arenas but has made me smile when I’m feeling low.  I treasure the memory, most of all because I shared the hike with my husband and 21-year-old daughter Mel, an avid hiker and backpacker who led the way.

This would be no walk in the park.   We were at high elevation hiking over a mountain pass. Many people backpack here.   I’d first heard about this hike years ago when we took our kids to ski at Crested Butte, one of my favorite mountain towns. Crested Butte is an old western town with an entire downtown area that is on the national historic register and a five minute free bus ride from the mountain (and the condos) and so safe we felt comfortable letting young teens wander. At many other ski resorts, you are 20 minutes or more from downtown if you stay on the mountain.

Click here to read the entire article.

Skiing’s Season Pass Revolution Now Includes Lodging

CBMR-FireworksIn the past two years I have covered the fast evolving world of season ski passes, which are a game changer for ski travelers. This trend just keeps getting better.

The main players I have profiled here are Vail Resorts with its Epic Pass, now good at 13 major resorts across Colorado, Utah, California, Nevada, Michigan and Minnesota, plus partners in Austria and Switzerland. The other major option is The Mountain Collective, a package of discounted lift tickets across several independent powerhouse resorts including Aspen/Snowmass, Jackson, Alta, Snowbird, Whistler/Blackcomb, Mammoth and Alpine Meadows/Squaw Valley. There are also more niche regional products such as Utah’s Ski Salt Lake Super Pass and Colorado’s Rocky Mountain SuperPass.

So what’s the newest wrinkle in the world of ski season passes? Well at Crested Butte Mountain Resort, whose season pass already includes limited free skiing at Okemo in Vermont and Sunapee in New Hampshire, the town’s Nordic Inn has upped the ante considerably with an entirely new concept, combining a traditional season pass with 10 flexible nights of bed and breakfast lodging. This means you can make up to two 5-day trips to Crested Butte to use the pass and each time have a place to stay at no additional charge. Or you can break the ten days up however you want for multiple visits at any time from Nov. 20, 2013 through April 6, 2014, with no blackout dates, and extra days are available as an add-on at a 40% discount. If your schedule is flexible you can chase storms and come just for fresh powder. At the same time, Crested Butte Mountain Resort just lowered its regular adult season pass prices by more than 40 percent, just $599 for a full-season adult ski pass with no blackout dates.

Click here to read the entire article.