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Unwrap Holiday Mountain Merriment in Gunnison-Crested Butte, Colorado

November 16, 2013 Destination North America No Comments Email Email

A spectacular Rocky Mountain backdrop, lots of good cheer and plenty of unforgettable activities for all ages combine to create amazing holiday moments in Gunnison-Crested Butte, Colo.

The season for snowy fun kicks off just in time, with Crested Butte Nordic Center opening Nov. 16 and Crested Butte Mountain Resort welcoming skiers and boarders starting Nov. 27.

Night of Lights in Gunnison, photo by Gunnison Country Times

Night of Lights in Gunnison, photo by Gunnison Country Times

Fun for Families and All Ages

Gunnison formally ushers in the Christmas season with Night of Lights held downtown on Dec. 6 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Admire lighted displays, warm up at bonfires for roasting marshmallows visit booths serving hot cocoa and other free treats, and enjoy local entertainment groups at various downtown venues. Santa will arrive at 6:30 p.m. pulled by human reindeer, escort the crowd to the lighting of a massive community tree and hear children’s wishes at Elk’s Lodge.

Gunnison Arts Center is offering a fun outing for all ages with its presentation of a traditional Christmas pantomime “Puss & Boots” on Dec. 12 – 14. On Dec. 12 and 13, the performance begins at 6 p.m., and on Dec. 14, performances are at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets cost $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and $8 for kids. Go to

In Crested Butte and Mt. Crested Butte, 12 Days of Holiday Cheer kicks off with tree lightings in Mt. Crested Butte on Dec. 13 and Crested Butte on Dec. 14. A teddy bear story hour, shopping night for dads, photo booth downtown, Santa visit and cookie decorating, teddy bear tea with Mrs. Santa, chocolate shopping, and much more are being planned. As the holidays near, watch for all the details on or call (970) 349-6438.

The Trailhead Children’s Museum, located at the ski area base, has several holiday programs that will plug kids into the holiday spirit. At Celebrate the Tree Lighting on the evening of Dec. 13, families will learn more about the tradition of tree lighting while making crafts and enjoying hot chocolate. Kids can decorate gingerbread houses on Dec. 15 and the First Night of Winter Evening on Dec. 21 features an hour of quiet stories and winter crafts accompanied by hot chocolate and cookies. For times, costs and more details, call (970) 349-7160 and visit as December approaches.

Rock on Ice has become an annual holiday tradition at Crested Butte Mountain Resort (CBMR), with nationally recognized ice sculptors flown in to decorate Mountaineer Square and other locations around the mountain with beautifully crafted ice creations, many illuminated for evening viewing. Watch the artists at work from Dec. 17 – 21.

View the entries in Mt. Crested Butte Town Center Association’s annual Gingerbread House Competition at CBMR from Dec. 21 – 28. There are kids, adults and professional categories with entries due on Dec. 20 for anyone interested in getting creative and sharing some sweet holiday goodness.

Watch Santa’s sleigh pulled by a snowcat as he travels down the mountain at CBMR on Christmas Eve and takes a break from his busy schedule to hand out candy canes. Stay to watch Crested Butte Ski and Ride School present a torchlight parade down the front side of the mountain. For these CBMR events, visit

Unique Shopping Options

Night of Lights on Dec. 6 happens in tandem with First Friday Artwalk & Music held at various galleries and businesses from 5 – 8 p.m. Gunnison Arts Center launches its Holiday Art Market on this evening with handcrafted art, jewelry, bath products, knitted items and more by area artists available for sale from Dec. 6 – 21. Call Gunnison Gallery for First Friday participants at (970) 641-6111.

Over the weekend, Holiday Open Houses are Dec. 7 and 8 at downtown Gunnison merchants, complete with shopping specials and refreshments from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Sunday. For details about Night of Lights and the open houses, contact the Gunnison Country Chamber of Commerce at (970) 641-1501.

Also shop for great gifts at the annual Crested Butte Community School Holiday Bazaar on Dec. 7 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The bazaar features handcrafted items, tasty baked goods and more. For information, call Jill Hughes at (713) 408-7487.

Merriment on Skis and Snowshoes

New for this year, Crested Butte Mountain Resort is sponsoring Santa Day on Dec. 14 in hopes of ho-ho-hoing into Guinness Book of World Records for the most skiers in full Santa costumes. CBMR is offering discounts on lift tickets and lodging for participants. Call (800) 810-7669.

To kick off full moons for the winter season, CBMR is hosting the first-ever Full Moon Party at Uley’s Cabin on Dec. 17. Guests will make their way up to the mid-mountain Ice Bar at Uley’s Cabin on skis or snowshoes for a bonfire and bowl of warm chili. Tickets include the guided tour, food and a beer for each participant over the age of 21. Snowshoe and uphill skiing equipment are available for rent at CBMR’s Scarpa Demo Center. The cost and more information will be posted at http://www.skicb/events.

Embark on an easy snowshoe or cross-county ski (approximately one mile with guides available) to the Crested Butte Nordic Center’s Magic Meadows Yurt and feast on a five-course gourmet meal at Yurt Dinners on Dec. 21 and 22. Doors open at 6 p.m. and dinner is served at 6:30 p.m. The cost is $70 for adults and $35 for children (under age 12) and includes a trail pass and equipment rental; alcohol and gratuity are extra. For reservations, visit or call (970) 349-1707.

Lights, Camera, Action

Crested Butte Mountain Theatre presents Decking the Halls: A Mountain Theatre Chrismas Special presented by Crested Butte Mountain Theatre, Mallardi Cabaret Theatre on Dec. 19 – 21 and 26 – 28 at Mallardi Cabaret Theatre. Performers will sing, dance, and sketch a winter wonderland with scenes from plays like “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and “Mrs. Bob Cratchit’s Wild Christmas,” songs such as “Baby It’s Cold Outside” and “You’re A Mean One Mr. Grinch,” and a skit or two from “Saturday Night Live” thrown in for good measure. The cost is $16 for adults and $10 for students. For tickets, visit

Learn how to capture the beauty of winter with a Winter Wonderland Photography workshop with local expert Rebecca Ofstedahl on Dec. 27, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. The workshop focuses on using the manual settings of digital cameras for both beginner and intermediate students and is offered by Art Studio of the Center for the Arts. For information, visit

New Year’s Eve Magic

Greet 2014 in style by visiting the wide array of art galleries in downtown Crested Butte during ArtWalk Evening on Dec. 31 from 5 – 8 p.m. Light refreshments, music and on-site artists are part of the fun. Visit Art Studio of the Center for the Arts is offering an Unraveling Visual Art class on Dec. 31 that looks at art mediums and the visual world from 3:30 – 5 p.m. in the studio followed by a guided tour of ArtWalk Evening from 5 – 6 p.m. led by instructor Suzanne Pierson. The cost is $15 with registration available at

An early evening New Year’s Eve Torchlight Parade and Fireworks on the slopes of Crested Butte Mountain Resort is a great way to celebrate for all ages before heading out for dinner. Watch as several of Crested Butte’s finest ski and snowboard instructors wind their way down the mountain carrying torches followed by a festive fireworks display. Go to

Join the Crested Butte Nordic Center for its New Year’s Eve Yurt Dinner. Ski or snowshoe to the fun at Magic Meadows that runs from 7 – 10 p.m. Enjoy a five-course dinner, libations and live music by Alpine Soul. The cost is $90 per person and also includes a trail pass and rental equipment. A New Year’s Eve Yurt Party rings in 2014 from 10:30 p.m. – 12:30 a.m. and includes wine, beer, snacks, DJ music and a trail pass, all for $35. The cost for the entire evening is $120. For details and reservations, visit or call (970) 349-1707.

Holiday Vacation Packages

Enjoy a ski holiday and spend only $999 for a family of four (two adults and two children ages 17 and under) with Crested Butte Mountain Resort’s The Grandest Christmas package. This deal includes four nights of lodging at Grand Lodge, three days of skiing and three days of adventure park access. Or upgrade to Elevation Hotel & Spa for $1,306. This package is good for stays from Dec. 13 – 26, 2013, subject to availability and must be booked by Dec. 16, 2013. Price is prior to fees and taxes. Call (800) 810-7669.

Save 20% during the holiday season at a variety of properties in Mt. Crested Butte and Gunnison. With Crested Butte Lodging, choose from one- to three-bedroom condominiums with easy access to the ski area base when visiting from Nov. 27, 2013 – Feb. 13, 2014. This deal must be booked prior to Feb. 1. At the Comfort Inn in Gunnison, save 20% and receive a free upgrade (based on availability) from Sept. 1, 2013 – April 30, 2014. The newly renovated Inn at Tomichi Village in Gunnison is offering 20% off from Sept. 20, 2013 – March 31, 2014.

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