Crested Butte’s Nordic Inn: All That’s Old Is New Again

crested butteSkiing. Budget. Two words that don’t generally go hand-in-hand. Fortunately, fans of fluffy Rockies pow have one more offbeat lodging option to choose from, with the re-opening of Crested Butte’s classic Nordic Inn today.

The 50-year-old property, which was recently purchased from longtime owners Allen and Judy Cox, is the longest operating lodge in Gunnison County. The new proprietors have renovated and upgraded half of the 28-room inn and separate chalet, utilizing sustainable materials like Colorado beetle kill pine, and adding ADA-approved, handicapped-accessible rooms.

There are also new, high-thread-count linens and down comforters, pet-friendly rooms, a hot tub, free Wi-Fi, heated walkways, in-room boot dryers, ski/snowboard storage, shuttle service, a meeting room and free continental breakfast. The property still retains its original exterior grooviness, however, and offers a variety of rooms ranging from loft or suite, to kitchenettes (see room photo after the jump). If you like the Spider Sabitch-era feel, opt to stay in one of the original rooms. High-season rates average $249 for a Signature King room.

nordic innFor those on a nano-budget, there’s also the clean, pleasant, Crested Butte International Lodge & Hostel, which offers everything from small dorm to family rooms, at rock-bottom prices ($34/night average for a dorm bed, high season). Do note that the hostel is located within the historic town of Crested Butte proper, while the Nordic Inn is three miles away, at the base of the ski mountain, known as Mt. Crested Butte.

Need more incentive? Crested Butte is one of the few remaining authentic ski towns in Colorado. It consists of just a few blocks of what was once a 19th century coal-mining center: these days, the refurbished storefronts house top-notch dining, drinking, and shopping establishments.

Crested Butte also has a reputation for fantastically bizarre cultural and sports events ranging from costumed Nordic marathons and a nighttime “Big Air” comp on the main street, to Flauschink (the “flushing” of winter). The holidays are also notoriously festive, featuring torchlight parades and fireworks. In addition to skiing, the Crested Butte region also offers Nordic sports, dog-sledding, snowmobiling, Snowcat-driving, ice skating, and backcountry excursions.

[Photo credit: Ken Stone]


Aspen’s St. Moritz Lodge rolls back room prices to $69/night

Snow enthusiasts salivating over last week’s dump in the Colorado Rockies, don’t despair. A fall vacation in Aspen is affordable thanks to the St. Moritz Lodge’s “Roll Back Our Rates to 2006 Levels” promo.

Starting now through November 24th, get a low-season rate of $69/night for a standard Lodge room (double bed, twin, mini-fridge, TV, and private bath). If you’re a returning guest, call 800-817-2069 and receive a 10% discount. Early winter and spring ski season is still a screaming deal if you’re traveling with a friend or two, with standard Lodge rooms going for $99/night. It’s Aspen’s only hostel, and thus the best accomodation bargain in town.

Enjoy an outdoor heated pool and hot tub (summer/winter only), steam room, daily housekeeping, laundry, a well-equipped kitchen, free Wifi, coffee, and deluxe Continental breakfast, and a cozy lounge/TV room/library, and off-street parking.

The St. Mortiz is just 10 minutes walking from the hopping scene in the center of town and the Silver Queen Gondola, spitting distance from a handful of trailheads. Even if you don’t ski, take advantage of the gorgeous running paths and hiking/snowshoeing trails for free.

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Need more incentive? United and Frontier just announced they are increasing their flights into Aspen. In addition to the 14 to 17 flights per day from Denver International Airport (DIA), there are more direct flights from San Francisco, Los Angles and Chicago, and the newly added Houston-to-Aspen route. Delta and American Airlines serve Eagle County Regional Airport, an hour-and-half-away (FYI, this is the closest airport to Vail, 30 miles away). Colorado Mountain Express has shuttle service to/from DIA to Vail, Eagle, and Aspen, as well as Keystone, Breckenridge, Copper Mountain, Beaver Creek, and Snowmass.