Cross-Country Skiing in Crested Butte

Crested Butte | Colorado
Trip Highlights

Top three reasons to go skiing in Crested Butte

  • Trip Highlight

    Get lost in the Elk Mountains’ epic wintery vistas

  • Trip Highlight

    Top-notch terrain variety with excellent trails for beginners and experts alike

  • Trip Highlight

    Easy access from Crested Butte guarantees you’ll be in and out without a hitch!

Gunnison County’s two million acres of snow-capped landscapes just scream backcountry adventure. With some of the most accessible skiing terrain in Colorado and lines that often get 2-3 times more snowfall than the resort ones, choosing the backcountry is a no-brainer! And while the area’s more famous for its steep and challenging terrain, it also boasts an impressive amount of Nordic and cross-country opportunities. The Elk Mountains house too many classic trails to count, the snowy valleys are a feast for the eyes, and the terrain variety is guaranteed to satisfy all levels of cross-country connoisseurs. If you’re itching to discover how Crested Butte earned its title of Nordic Ski Capital of Colorado, come and see why!


December through March

Nearest city

Denver, CO, is 4.5 hours away from Crested Butte


1 day

Skill level

Beginner to advanced


Book this adventure

Private Cross-Country Tour in Crested Butte


Abandon the groomed trails and head for the wilderness! Join an experienced local guide on a fully customized cross-country ski tour in Crested Butte’s breathtaking backcountry. Whether you’re a newcomer or a cross-country fanatic, your guide will choose the perfect terrain and individual objectives for you. Travel light and fast, as most of the trailheads are only 15 minutes away from the town of Crested Butte!


Reviews (3)

Andrew D. about Irwin Guides on Facebook

Irwin does it right. They have top-notch accommodations, excellent terrain, extremely knowledgeable guides, and incredibly friendly staff. Billy, Jake, Sidney, and Dave were amazing on the mountain, and Tim, Juniper, Neil, and the rest of the support staff were great. My buddy broke a binding early in the day and Tim buzzed up, picked him up, gave him Irwin skis and he was back with the group on the next lap. Throw in being lucky enough to catch the best powder day of 2018 and you have a day we will never forget. I highly recommend Irwin for their professionalism, knowledge, and first-rate accommodations. I can’t wait to get back and ski with my new friends. Can’t say enough about this great outfit.

Michael F. about Irwin Guides on Facebook

Exceptional guides, exceptional skiing. Five-star experience.

Michael S. about Irwin Guides on Facebook

Highly impressed all around by Irwin. Kudos for doing it right!

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Things to know

Things to know

Covid measures in Crested Butte, Colorado

57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity.

We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, their guides, and the communities they’re traveling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in Crested Butte, Colorado, please refer to Colorado’s COVID-19 travel guidelines.

Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!

What’s included?

What you get in this adventure:

    • An experienced, certified ski guide with extensive knowledge of the area
    • Half a day of cross-country skiing
    • Group equipment (map, compass, first aid kit)
    • Rescue access, coordination, and response if necessary

What’s not included:

    • Cross-country skiing equipment
    • Transportation
    • Accommodations
    • Food and snacks

How fit do I need to be?

To enjoy this backcountry adventure, you’ll need to have decent cardiovascular fitness levels. You’ll be cross-country skiing on varied terrain for half a day. While cross-country skiing is a full-body workout and it can be very challenging, your guide will help you choose the right terrain for your experience and fitness levels.

What if I’ve never backcountry skied before?

This cross-country ski adventure isn’t just for experienced skiers, it’s also beginner-friendly, meaning anyone with decent physical fitness can participate. If you’re a beginner, you’ll stay on relatively flat and short low-altitude trails, and your guide will teach you basic cross-country techniques while you’re enjoying the beauty of the backcountry. For intermediate and advanced cross-country skiers, Crested Butte also has plenty of red and black trails to enjoy.

What equipment do I need to bring?

For technical backcountry cross-country skiing gear, you will need to bring:

    • Cross-country skis (can be rented)
    • Boots and poles (can be rented)

For personal items, we recommend bringing:

    • Helmet
    • Sunglasses
    • Gloves
    • Beanie or another winter-style hat
    • Ballcap or visor
    • Buff, neck gaiter or balaclava
    • Wind and waterproof shell jacket with hood (Gore-Tex recommended)
    • Ski pants (Gore-Tex recommended)
    • Down or synthetic puffy jacket
    • Synthetic or wool base and mid-layers, underwear, and socks
    • Boot gaiters — optional
    • Water bottle or bladder system and 1L of water
    • Thermos with a warm beverage — optional
    • Lunch and plenty of snacks you can eat on-the-go
    • Sunscreen and lip balm
    • Daypack large enough to carry all items listed (around a 20-25L backpack)
    • Camera — optional

Can I rent equipment?

All mandatory gear can be rented if you don’t have your own. You can rent:

    • Cross country skis, touring boots, and poles can be rented from your guide

Ski rental locations are in Crested Butte and should be picked up the night prior to your outing. If you need to rent gear, let us know and we can help make arrangements.

Group sizes and age requirements

Group sizes and pricing:

    • For this adventure, the max client-to-guide ratio is 5:1. All prices are per person.
    • Costs per person decrease as the group grows, so it’s the perfect opportunity to ski with friends and family.

Cross-country skiing in Crested Butte can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.

Min. age requirements:

    • If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
    • Minors may be permitted to join private tours on a case-by-case basis.

If your group has skiers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

Getting there and meeting location

To get to Crested Butte, CO, most people fly into Denver International Airport 4.5 hours away. From there, you can rent a car and drive to Crested Butte. Alternatively, you can take a bus to Gunnison and a taxi to Crested Butte, or hop on a local flight to Montrose and take a shuttle there.

Once you and your guide agree on the details of your itinerary, your guide will suggest the best place to meet, whether that’s at the guide shop in Crested Butte or a predetermined location. The guide will choose the appropriate terrain dependent on conditions and the ability of the group.

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Outdoor adventuring makes us fall in love with our planet and people, it gets our brains rewired differently and forces us to rethink our life priorities.

For years, we’ve dreamt of building a company that can make an impact on things that we deeply care about. Here are some initiatives we are grateful to be contributing to.

1% of our sales goes to environmental non-profits
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