Magical Holiday Moments in Gunnison-Crested Butte, Colorado

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Events for the whole family, great vacation packages and more are a reason to ho-ho-ho

A snowy mountain backdrop, lots of good cheer, and plenty of fun activities for all ages combine to create magical holiday moments in Gunnison-Crested Butte, Colo. The season for winter sports kicks off just in time, with Crested Butte Nordic Center opening Nov. 19 and Crested Butte Mountain Resort opening Nov. 23.    

2            Gunnison Night of Lights, Main Street
3            Holiday Bazaar, Crested Butte Community School
3 – 4             Holiday Open Houses at Downtown Gunnison Merchants
10            Light Up Night & Holiday Parade, Elk Avenue, Crested Butte
10            Moonlight Snowshoe Tour, Crested Butte Mountain Resort
23            Pre-Christmas Yurt Dinner, Crested Butte Nordic Center
24            Torchlight Parade & Fireworks, Crested Butte Mountain Resort
29            ArtWalk Evening, Crested Butte Galleries
31            New Year’s Yurt Dinner Party, Crested Butte Nordic Center
31            New Year’s Eve Torchlight Parade & Fireworks, Crested Butte Mountain Resort
1            New Year’s Brunch at the Yurt, Crested Butte Nordic Center

December Holidays Happenings
Gunnison will formally usher in the Christmas season with Night of Lights held downtown on Friday, Dec. 2, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Expect many bright moments with competitions for best lighted displays, bonfires for roasting marshmallows and warming up along the way, booths for hot cocoa and other free treats, and local entertainment groups at various downtown venues. Santa will arrive at 6:30 p.m., escort the crowd to the community tree lighting and greet children at the Elk’s Lodge.

Holiday Open Houses will be held Dec. 3 and 4 at downtown Gunnison merchants, complete with shopping specials and refreshments from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Saturday and noon – 4 p.m. on Sunday. For more information about Night of Lights and the open houses, contact the Gunnison Country Chamber of Commerce at (800) 274-7580.

Also find great gifts at the annual Crested Butte Community School Holiday Bazaar on Dec. 3 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The bazaar features handcrafted items for everyone on your shopping list as well as tasty baked goods. For information, call Lisa Blunck at (970) 349-6820.

Join Father Christmas and carolers in the Light Up Night & Holiday Parade procession down Crested Butte’s historic Elk Avenue to illuminate Christmas trees. The festivities are tentatively scheduled for Dec. 10, beginning at 5 p.m. by the Crested Butte Visitor Center. For information, call the Crested Butte-Mt. Crested Butte Chamber of Commerce at (970) 349-6438 or visit    

Enjoy moonlit trails during Crested Butte Mountain Resort’s (CBMR) Moonlight Snowshoe Tour on Dec. 10. Catch a ride from a snowcat to the top of Red Lady Express chairlift and traverse trails bathed in the moonshine to the base area on this magical outing that runs from 7 – 9 p.m. and costs $75. For reservations, contact (800) 544-8448 or visit

Also during December, CBMR will hold its annual gingerbread house contest with the candy-loaded creations on display throughout the holidays at Elevation Hotel & Spa. Nationally recognized ice sculptors will be back for a few days in December to decorate Mountaineer Square (entrance to the base area) and other locations around the mountain with beautifully crafted ice creations, many illuminated for evening viewing. Local carolers also add to the festive scene by singing Christmas tunes at the base area throughout the season.

As the countdown to Santa’s arrival draws near, embark on an easy snowshoe or cross-county ski to the Crested Butte Nordic Center’s Magic Meadows Yurt and feast on gourmet foods prepared by local chefs for a Pre-Christmas Yurt Dinner on Dec. 23. Dinner is served at 6:30 p.m. and costs $65 for adults and $30 for children (under age 12), including a trail pass and equipment rental (alcohol and gratuity are extra). For reservations and information, call (970) 349-1707 or visit

On Christmas Eve, it’s exquisite to watch skiers and boarders winding down the slopes with lights in hand during the Christmas Eve Torchlight Parade and Fireworks at Crested Butte Mountain Resort, with fireworks further illuminating the snow-covered wonderland. For information, visit

Visit the wide array of art galleries in downtown Crested Butte any day of the week, but the art scene really comes alive on Dec. 29 during ArtWalk Evening, a gallery walk held from 5 – 8 p.m. Light refreshments, music and on-site artists are part of the fun. Visit

New Year’s Magic
Greet 2012 in style with the New Year’s Eve Torchlight Parade and Fireworks on the slopes of Crested Butte Mountain Resort in early evening. It’s a great way to celebrate for all ages. For information, visit

Join the Crested Butte Nordic Center for its New Year’s Yurt Dinner Party by skiing or snowshoeing to the fun at Magic Meadows that begins at 7 p.m. in order to celebrate a “New York” New Year’s. Enjoy dinner prepared by local chefs, drinks and live music for a cost of $85 per person. The official New Year’s Eve wave will begin at 10:30 p.m. and include two drinks, a New Year's toast and live music, all for $25.

Or enjoy New Year’s Brunch at the Yurt with tasty selections from 11a.m. to noon. The cost is $25 for adults and $10 for kids (under 12). Ski passes and rentals are extra. For brunch and dinner reservations, call (970) 349-1707 and visit

Holiday Vacation Packages
The Grandest Christmas package features four nights of lodging at the Grand Lodge in Mt. Crested Butte, three days of skiing or riding, and Adventure Park access for tubing, ice skating and bungee trampolines at Crested Butte Mountain Resort. The $1,199 package is for two adults and two children, ages 17 or younger, and is good for travel from Dec. 17 to Dec. 25, 2011 (check-out on Dec. 26). This deal must be booked by Dec. 17, and price is subject to availability and prior to all fees, taxes and optional travel protection. Call Crested Butte Vacations at (800) 600-2803.

Every Second Night is Half Off at Elevation Hotel & Spa located slopeside at Crested Butte Mountain Resort. Book one night, get the next at half off (price is subject to availability). This offer is good for travel from Dec. 16, 2011 – Jan. 28, 2012 and cannot be combined with any other offer. Valid only on new reservations. For more information visit or call Crested Butte Vacations at (800) 600-2803.

Visitor Information & Personalized Vacation Packages
To find out more, call the Gunnison-Crested Butte Tourism Association’s toll-free line, (800) 814-8893, or visit Find the Tourism Association on Facebook at or follow us on The Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport is served year-round by United Airlines and during the winter season by American Airlines and Continental Airlines.

About Gunnison-Crested Butte, Colorado
Gunnison-Crested Butte is nestled among almost two million acres of pristine wilderness in southwest Colorado. Winter sports enthusiasts know the area for its world-class alpine skiing and snowboarding at Crested Butte Mountain Resort, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and ice fishing.

Gunnison-Crested Butte is also a haven for outdoor summer activities. In the warmer months, visitors can choose from recreational activities such as hiking, climbing, mountain biking, boating, whitewater rafting, kayaking, fly-fishing, camping and horseback riding. Year-round visitors enjoy distinctive restaurants, unique shops and stimulating cultural opportunities, and have a wide range of lodging options — from rustic inns to guest cabins and bed-and-breakfasts to full-service resort hotels.

Gunnison, county seat and a real western town, is home to the Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport, Gunnison Whitewater Park, Gunnison Valley Observatory, Pioneer Museum and Western State College, which offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in liberal arts and sciences and pre-professional fields. Both Crested Butte and Gunnison have thriving historic central business districts packed with shopping and dining opportunities.

Recognized as the “Official Wildflower Capital of Colorado” by the Colorado Legislature and one of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s “Dozen Distinctive Destinations” in 2008, Crested Butte is 28 miles from Gunnison and the site of rich mining, ranching and skiing heritage and home
to the Crested Butte Mountain Heritage Museum and Mountain Bike Hall of Fame. Only three
miles up the road is the resort village of Mt. Crested Butte, home to the ski area, an active base area, the area’s conference center, and outstanding hiking and biking trails.

Marble is located in the Upper Crystal River Valley along the Elk Mountains and is the gateway to nearby Crystal, home to one of the most photographed mill sites in the country. Marble has seven sites on the National Register of Historic Places and is the location of the Yule Marble Quarry.

In Gunnison County, visitors will find the Curecanti National Recreation Area, where dinosaur fossils were recently discovered; the Blue Mesa Reservoir, Colorado’s largest body of water and home to the largest Kokanee salmon fishery in the United States; and The Black Canyon of the Gunnison, one of our country’s newest national parks. Gunnison County includes the quaint and historic towns of Pitkin, Gothic, Tin Cup, Powderhorn, Almont and Crystal, plus the better-known communities of Gunnison, Crested Butte and Mt. Crested Butte. Gunnison County is part of the West Elk Loop and Silver Thread Scenic & Historic Byways.


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