CBMR celebrates Opening Day

Winter is here!

By Kendra Walker

Crested Butte Mountain Resort kicked off the 2023/24 winter season on Wednesday with an Opening Day celebration and banner break for the first chair of the season.

Despite the early season conditions, skiers and riders were still able to enjoy several open trails off of the Red Lady Express, Peachtree Express and Aspen Conveyor lifts, including Peanut, Lower Keystone, Warming House Hill, Augusta and High Tide, and the Ski and Ride School learning areas.

Adding to some recent snowfall, the CBMR snowmaking team has been hard at work this past month to prepare the mountain for the winter season. “When Mother Nature gifted us with 19 inches of fresh snow in late October, coupled with cold temperatures, our team made the decision to fire up the snow guns earlier than originally planned,” said CBMR communications manager Julie Block. “We also received five all-new air compressors for the winter 2023/24 season, which has made our snowmaking operations more efficient and has allowed us to provide our guests with the best possible early season ski and ride experience.”

In addition to the new air compressors for snowmaking operations, CBMR recently invested in three new grooming snowcats and widened sections of the Houston, Peanut and Lower Keystone beginner trails. “We’re excited to see how these investments and improvements can help us maximize our efficiency and provide the best possible ski and ride experience for our guests,” said Block. 

New this season, skiers and riders can store their pass on their phone in the My Epic app and get it scanned in their pocket without the need for a physical ticket or pass. “This reduces the need to visit the ticket window or wait to receive a pass or lift ticket in the mail,” said Block. “In support of our Commitment to Zero sustainability commitment, this change over time will also reduce the waste created by plastic cards and RFID chips.” Vail Resorts will continue to have plastic cards available to any guests who cannot or do not want to use their phone as their pass or lift ticket. 

Crested Butte Mountain Resort continues to offer free uphill access during non-operating hours when conditions permit. Block asked that uphill recreators familiarize themselves with uphill routes and safety guidelines ahead of time and always check that uphill access is permitted before accessing the mountain. “Please be reminded that early season conditions exist,” said Block. “Closed trails may contain hazards due to limited natural snow coverage and snowmaking operations. For the safety of all guests, please keep off closed trails and out of closed areas.” Folks can call the uphill access hotline at 970-349-2345 to check on uphill access openings and closures.

Guests also have a variety of food offerings at the base area and on the mountain, including the new Highlife Crust & Crafts located in the Grand Lodge.

Block says CBMR is pretty well-staffed for the season. “We feel optimistic about where we are in terms of staffing, and we continue to onboard team members during the early season as we ramp up operations,” she said. 

In March 2022, Vail increased its minimum wage to $20/hour with expanded benefits, which Block says helped with CBMR’s staffing needs. “That helped to drive our staffing numbers last season, and demonstrates our commitment to providing the best possible experience for our team members so that they, in turn, can provide the best possible experience for our guests,” she said. “We have a great team on board for the coming season, and we continue to hire across our teams for winter 2023/24.” 

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