Snow Cat Skiing, Food & Drink, Locally-Crafted Skis & More Terrain. There’s already plenty happening in Gunnison-Crested Butte, Colo., but its always refreshing to announce new happenings that involve snow cats, great food and brew, locally-made skis and new runs to ski and ride.
Snow Cat Skiing & Randonnee Race at Irwin is officially up and running full-speed for this winter. CS Irwin is bringing snow cat skiing back to Irwin, located 12 miles from Crested Butte. CS Irwin operates two custom snow cats to transport 10 guests a day in comfort and style. Participants meet at the company’s Belleview Avenue location in Crested Butte for a light breakfast and fitting of custom Wagner skis before boarding the “Tucker” at 7:45 a.m. for the 40-minute ride to Irwin made ultra-comfortable with leather seats, large picture windows, a large flat-screen TV and a surround-sound stereo system.
“No other snow cat or heli-skiing guests have the luxury of being picked up in a first-class snowcat and returned to the town where they are staying,” says Director of Operations Alan Bernholtz, former mayor of Crested Butte. “Last winter, Irwin received more than 525 inches of snow, beating every ski resort in the state by more than 90 inches.”
Upon reaching the restored Movie Cabin in Irwin (built in 1979 for the filming of “Mountain Family Robinson”) and receiving a safety overview, guests transfer into an equally luxurious high-speed Prinoth Bison cat with custom cabin that takes them on eight to 12 runs from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. CS Irwin’s terrain spans more than 1,000 acres of private property and Gunnison National Forest and can accommodate anyone who can ski or ride at least an intermediate slope. A gourmet lunch is served midday in the Movie Cabin.
The first Tuesday of every month, CS Irwin features cat skiing with freeskiing legend Wendy Fisher. The season will run from Dec. 15, 2010 – April 30, 2011. Call 1.866.IRWIN.77 or visit www.csirwin.com for details.
The first-ever CS Irwin Randonnee Race, part of the COSMIC (Colorado Ski Mountaineering Cup) series, will be held on Dec. 11 at 10 a.m. The course will include 5,000 vertical feet of climbing in the race class and less in the recreational class, with divisions for men and women.
Registration costs $50 (includes pizza and beer at the Brick Oven) and is limited to 50 racers for this first year. Racers must get to Irwin on their own by snowmobile, skis or snow cat (a $40 round-trip ride is available to the first 23 who request it). Register at www.csirwin.zapevent.com and call (970) 209-5803 for information.
New Options for Eating, Drinking & Buying Skis
Marchitelli’s Firehouse Grill, located in the Plaza Condominiums just a short walk from the slopes in Mt. Crested Butte, has been launched by well-known Crested Butte restaurateur Mike Marchitelli, proprietor of Marchitelli’s Gourmet Noodle. Enjoy the relaxing atmosphere and tasty wings, sandwiches, hand-tossed pizza or the signature chicken parmesan and marsala. Open daily at 4 p.m. Call (970) 349-4666.
Sherpa Café, a cozy space at 313 3rd St. just off Crested Butte’s Elk Avenue, will warm you up with tasty foods from Nepal, India and Tibet. The restaurant serves lunch and dinner, seven days a week. Call 970-349-0443.
Tequila’s Mexican Grill serves authentic Mexican food from Crested Butte’s historic powerhouse at 120 Elk Avenue. This large location in the bustling downtown district is great for groups or a table for two during lunch or dinner, seven days a week. Call (970) 349-0414.
While the Crested Butte Brewing Company label has been known for some time-producing beers such as Red Lady Ale, White Buffalo Ale, Rodeo Stout Oatmeal, Paradise Crisp Golden Ale and Jokerville IPA-its new 12,000-square-foot brew house and tap room and adjoining patio in Gunnison opened in June. The tap room also features food and wine, special food nights and live music. Crested Butte Brewing Company hosted an Oktoberfest celebration and is holding its first-ever Home Brewer’s Festival in November, inviting home brewers from around the region to submit their best beers. The winner’s recipe will be brewed on the brewery’s 10-barrel system and offered in the taproom. Visit www.cbbrewingco.com or call (970) 641-4487.
Brothers Caleb and Morgan Weinberg grew up freekskiing and ski racing in New Hampshire and moved to Crested Butte in the 1990s. They have launched ROMP Skis, offering six shapes to choose from with a variety of widths underfoot and at the tip and tail. There also will be a selection of graphic designs to choose from, or for an extra cost request a custom look. Most importantly, the Weinbergs will work with each buyer to pick the right shape, stiffness and camber to suit his or her needs. Visit www.rompskis.com or call (970) 349-5353.
Ski Area Improvements
Crested Butte Mountain Resort is introducing the new Gold Link Terrain Park and Superpipe for the 2010-2011 season. By relocating the resort’s largest park and pipe from the Paradise Bowl, crews have created a complete freestyle park pod off the Painter Boy and Goldlink lifts. This translates to a literal playground for park enthusiasts, who can progress from one park and one feature size to the next. Not only does this move create an additional intermediate run under the Paradise lift, crews have gladed Horseshoe Springs to add even more intermediate terrain to the resort’s tally.
Also, the new NASTAR race arena is located on the Canaan trail just above the Paradise Warming House, and the Trailhead Children’s Discovery Museum has relocated to the Outpost Building near the Adventure Center and is now open year-round.
New for the season are a Military Appreciation Week and a College Week in January, plus the Matthew Shepard Gay Ski Week in March. There also will be activities celebrating 50 Years of Skiing in Crested Butte, celebrating the opening of the ski area 50 years ago. In connection with the Matthew Shepard Gay Ski Week, Crested Butte Mountain Theatre and Western State College in Gunnison are collaborating on a staged production of “The Laramie Project,” which is about reactions to the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard. For information about CBMR, go to www.skicb.com.