Snow fell briefly this morning outside my office window here in the Rocky Mountains, turning thoughts of golf to skiing or snowboarding and the mind-numbing process of deciding what lift ticket products to buy: season passes, multi-day passes, multi-mountain passes, buddy passes, and on and on and on.
Crested Butte Mountain Resort soothes such brain damage by simply offering free lift tickets from Nov. 25 to Dec. 15. The southwestern Colorado resort has revived its â€śSki Freeâ€? series after ending the original program a few years ago. This year, lift tickets are â€śabsolutely, positively, incredibly, 100 percent FREE with no strings attached,” according to resort promotions. Lodging and lesson discount packages are available to go with the free lift tickets.
The popular Ski Free program originally ran from 1991 to 2000, prompting crowds of Denver-area residents to make the nearly four-hour drive to Crested Butte and hit the slopes during what is typically a slow period between Thanksgiving and the Christmas holidays. The programâ€™s revival comes after a few years of improvements at the resort known for its steep expert terrain. In the past few years, Crested Butte has added more snowmaking and started grooming more trails to attract a wider range of skiers and boarders.
The return of the Ski Free program has many Coloradoanâ€™s wondering if the formerly funky and rowdy resort will also revive what may be its most popular special program: Ski Naked. While never sanctioned by Crested Butte officials, skiing in the buff became a closing-day tradition among locals until a crackdown a few years ago.
The 07-08 snow sports season at Crested Butte runs from Nov. 17, 2007, through April 13, 2008. For more details about the Ski Free program, go to www.skicb.com.