Crushing It Cross-County Style on Your Visit to Crested Butte

junior nordic team

Remember families, kids 17 and under ski and rent for free in CB!

If you’re visiting CB this winter, we’re really excited to have you.  Here’s a summary of what to expect in terms of nordic skiing.

The 55 kilometers of nordic skiing around Crested Butte are operated by the nonprofit Crested Butte Nordic Council.  Thanks to agreements between the CBNC and forty public and private land owners and managers, CBNC’s trail system radiates from Crested Butte in three pods.  The east side consists of 25 kilometers, the west side consists of another 25 kilometers, and Ruthie’s on the south has a 5 kilometer standardized or “homologated” race course.

Trail maps are available at the Nordic Center on 2nd Street and Whiterock or at  The map is worth a look in order to understand which trails allow which uses such as dogs or snowbikes, where the limited but free trails are, and how to access the system.

Trail passes are available at the Nordic Center.  There are day passes, punch passes, season passes, and some special categories of passes.  Remember, as part of the CBNC’s mission, kids 17 years-old and under ski and rent for free.  It is asked that skiers keep their passes visible while skiing so please come by the Nordic Center to be issued a pass, even for free passes.

Grooming is usually done every twenty-four hours on the entire trail system.  One can read a daily trail report at or see a GPS based visual trail report in real-time at  The CBNC operates two snowcats that perform the grooming.  Sometimes, based on conditions, a light snowmobile based rig may do the grooming.  Comments and updates on conditions and grooming are at or via Twitter at @cbnordic.

On the east side, Town Ranch and Riverbend are loops that are flat as a pancake and good for beginner skiers to start with or advanced skiers looking for easy terrain for, say, double-poling.  Town Ranch is free and allows snowbikes and dogs.  The Skyland Connector goes out and back to the Skyland area.  Unfortunately, the Skyland Loop cannot be groomed for the winter of 2014-15, the GPS trail report will show this but some maps mistakenly show it as a loop.

The Rec. Path is groomed in cooperation with the Town of Crested Butte and, thus, is free and open to multiple uses.  Skiers may encounter walkers or footprints but, otherwise, it is a nice, graded ski corridor that accesses intermediate and advanced terrain like Rudy’s Rollers and Washington Gulch.  Tony’s and The Maze offer more beginner terrain and access to blue and black skiing on Middle Earth and Mordor.  Mordor earns its name, fight your way into the kingdom, ski across the top, and then fly out of it!

On the west side, one can depart from Butte Avenue in town.  One can park at two trailheads along Peanut Lake Road, The Lower Loop parking area or the “Gronk” parking area.  The Gronk is named for the large, concrete structure left over from historic mining operations. The Red Lady Trailhead is a short distance up Kebler Pass Road and also has parking.

Pooch’s Paradise and Mike’s Mile allow dogs.  Remember that dogs must have a trail pass.  Check at the Nordic Center to purchase dog passes.

Mike’s Mile is one of the gems of the system for all levels of skier.  The small lollypop GB (Gunsight Bridge) Loop at the end of Mike’s is a touch of black terrain with one uphill and one downhill, each of them mildly technical in nature.  The Magic Meadows Loops that surround the Magic Meadows Yurt offer great intermediate, flowing terrain.

If you’re not with a dog, the Beaver Trail gets a skier in and out of the Magic Meadows area with no dogs and fewer skiers in general.  Paradise Park off of Magic Meadows and the Red Lady Loop offer black terrain or black mixed with blue terrain for stronger skiers.  Sweeping turns and climbs and descents characterize Paradise Park and The Red Lady trails.

There is a lot going on in Crested Butte and at CB Nordic so check for news about things like Yurt Dinners, Sundays at The Yurt, races, tours, and more.

From everyone at CB Nordic, enjoy your visit!