A flurry of snowshoeing opportunities are happening this winter in Gunnison-Crested Butte, located in the beautiful Rocky Mountains in southwest Colorado. Not only can snowshoeing be learned quickly by all ages, it’s a terrific option for traveling to the Crested Butte Nordic Center’s yurt for dinner, traversing trails bathed in moonlight at Crested Butte Mountain Resort and seeing the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.
Gourmet Dining on Snowshoes
Slip on a pair of snowshoes (or Nordic skis) for an easy trip one-mile trip (one way) to Magic Meadows for delicious Yurt Dinners, hosted by the Crested Butte Nordic Center and held on the full moon or around holidays, including Jan. 26, Feb. 14, 24, and March 26. Local chef Josephine Kellett of Creative Catering prepares a five-course dinner, with doors opening at 6 p.m. and dinner served at 6:30 p.m. Guests chose between chicken cordon bleu, steak au poivre, encrusted filet of salmon and vegetarian strudel for the entrée. The cost is $70 for adults and $35 for children under age 12 and includes a trail pass and equipment rental but not tips or alcohol. Visit www.cbnordic.org for more details and to make reservations or call (970) 349-1707.
Guided Tours – Crested Butte & Mt. Crested Butte
Crested Butte Mountain Resort offers daily snowshoe tours with a guide at 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Snowshoes, poles, water, a light snack and a lift ride are included in the cost for the two-mile outing. Also check out the daily snowshoe tour of Snodgrass Mountain from 1- 4 p.m. that includes transportation. During the ski area’s Moonlight Snowshoe Tours on, Jan. 26, Feb. 25 and March 27, enjoy the thrill of snowshoeing moonlit mountain trails after being transported by a snowcat. For information, costs and reservations, call (970) 349-4554 or visit www.skicb.com.
For the second year, Crested Butte Nordic Center will be guiding backcountry snowshoe tours on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The tours cost $65 per person and will take participants to the beautiful Gothic, Washington Gulch or Slate River areas depending on conditions and guests’ interests. Private snowshoe tours are available by appointment. A half day is $65/person and a full day is $95 (includes lunch). Go to www.cbnordic.org or call (970) 349-1707 for reservations.
Crested Butte Mountain Guides also offers backcountry adventures; visit www.crestedbutteguides.com.
Full Moon Events & Guided Tours – Gunnison Area
New on the Gunnison Nordic Clubs’ schedule is a Full Moon Bonfire at Van Tuyl Ranch on Feb. 22 at 7 p.m. Snowshoe or Nordic ski to the fire and enjoy hot cocoa and treats. This free event is for all ages. For more details about the Gunnison Nordic Club, go to www.gunnisonnordic.org.
At Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, located between Gunnison and Montrose, park rangers will lead free snowshoe tours on Saturdays and Sundays, 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., from January 19 through March 3 as conditions allow. On these 1.5 mile walks, meander through the oaks, open meadows and along the rim of the canyon. Meet at the South Rim Visitor Center where snowshoes are available to borrow at no charge for these tours. Call (970) 249-1914, ext. 423 or (970) 641-2337, ext. 205 for reservations and more information.
Visitor Information & Personalized Vacation Packages
To find out more about Gunnison County or to book personalized vacation packages, call the Gunnison-Crested Butte Tourism Association’s toll-free line, (800) 814-8893, or visit www.GunnisonCrestedButte.com. Find the Tourism Association on Facebook at www.facebook.com/gcbta or follow us on www.twitter.com/gcbta.
About Gunnison-Crested Butte, Colorado
Nestled in a valley with nearly two million acres of pristine, mountainous wilderness, Gunnison-Crested Butte has a prime location in southwest Colorado. Winter sports enthusiasts know the area for its world-class alpine skiing and snowboarding, cross-country skiing, ice fishing and more. Fair-weather activities include mountain biking, hiking, wildflower and wildlife viewing, climbing, boating, whitewater rafting, kayaking, fly-fishing, camping and horseback riding. Year-round visitors enjoy distinctive restaurants, locally-owned shops, stimulating cultural opportunities and festivals galore ranging from the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival and Gunnison Cattlemen’s Days to Crested Butte Bike Week and Gunnison Car Show weekend.
Along a 31-mile stretch of wide-open vistas and stunning scenery, visitors can explore Gunnison, Almont, Crested Butte and Mt. Crested Butte and connect with the quaint and historic burgs of Pitkin, Gothic, Tin Cup, Marble, Powderhorn and Crystal, also located in Gunnison County. Gunnison and Crested Butte, both founded in 1880, are known for their Victorian-era charm, friendly Western hospitality and free-spirited nature. Almont is a fishing, rafting and rock climbing mecca, and the resort village of Mt. Crested Butte is home to renowned Crested Butte Mountain Resort. Visitors also can explore Curecanti National Recreation Area, home to Colorado’s largest body of water, and the nearby Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. Gunnison County is part of the West Elk Loop and Silver Thread Scenic & Historic Byways.
Air service to the Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport (GUC) for the 2012-2013 winter season is provided by American Airlines and United Airlines with direct flights from Dallas (DFW), Houston (IAH) and Denver (DEN). Montrose Regional Airport (MTJ) is another option that offers additional nonstop jet service to the area, with direct flights on Allegiant Air from Phoenix, Ariz. (IWA) and Oakland, Calif. (OAK).