Hockey Dad Diaries: Crested Butte Powder Before the Big Game

What would you do if you if you drew the short hockey dad straw and had to drive four hip-hop-listening, 14-year-old girls, with all their gear, to their tournament six hours away in Gunnison, Colo.? You take them out of school a day early and also head to nearby Crested Butte for an early day of powder skiing before the game…

Celebrating some pre-game powder...

Celebrating some pre-game powder…

Heading out in an epic snowstorm, the plan worked flawlessly, with our singing crew rolling into Budweiser’s quaint “Whatever” town at 6:30 p.m. to hit The Secret Stash for gourmet pizza before rallying on to our slopeside accommodations at the Grand Lodge (ask about their family-budget friendly $99 Ski and Stay packages). Hauling our hockey bags and ski gear in out of the cold, spelling more than a few cart-wheeling shuttles, we settled in, watching the storm continue its fury as we soaked in its spa.

By morning, the snow report read 21 inches in the past 24 hours, a deluging trend that would be echoed a short month later when the resort was forced to close for too much snowfall (90 inches in 10 days). So we geared up and headed out, guide Zach Pickett leading me – and girls’ coach Fred Powers — through secret tree stashes while the girls explored the mountain on their own. With the inside line of the East River chairlift opening for the first time of the season, we bee-lined there, outpacing a throng of locals lined up on the catwalk like a scene from Hot Dog, The Movie.

Then we met up with the girls for lunch at the midway lodge before lapping ever more powder runs, the girls showing no concern about saving their legs for the afternoon’s hockey game.

Casey, on a break-away...

Casey, on a break-away…

We wrapped up our slamdunk ski vacation by 2:30 p.m., loaded the car and headed back to Gunnison where they changed out of their ski clothes and into their hockey gear for their 5 p.m. game. How’d they fare after their forced father detour to ski a 21-inch dump in Crested Butte? Powder legs notwithstanding, they won 4-2, and again the next morning before heading home. Call it a father’s intuition…


Other Family Fun at Crested Butte

Winter Adventure Park & Tubing Hill
CBMR’s base area Adventure Park comes complete miniature golf, bungee trampolines, a climbing wall, and a tubing hill in the winter. The bungee trampolines provide a turbo-charged, gravity-defying ride up to 30 feet in the air, while the Climbing Pinnacle features a 28-foot, 6-route tower with auto-belay. Often the biggest hit during the winter months is the Tubing Hill. Great for all ages, the tubing hill offers an undulating ride down the snow, ending in a large quarter-pipe of snow to safely slow you down. A magic carpet lift helps guests complete lap-after-lap on the Tubing Hill! The Adventure Park is open year-round.

Kids’ Night Out
On vacation, kids and parents alike deserve a special night out. But sometimes, what’s special for the kids isn’t quite what you had in mind (games and pizza, or dinner and drinks?). We created Kids’ Night Out so you can all have the night you’re looking for. Our fun-loving kids’ instructors host your kids for a visit to the Adventure Park, followed by dinner and games while you head out on the town. Ages 4-12 welcome, $90 per child. Kids’ Night Out takes place nightly, but advance reservations are required at 970-349-2211.

Cross Country Skiing
Crested Butte has a well-earned reputation for being the Nordic ski capital of Colorado. Crested Butte Nordic grooms 55 kilometers of trails for classic and skate skiing, winding through the open valley and into the Aspen groves and pine forests. Rentals and trail passes are available at the Nordic Center in downtown Crested Butte—kids 17 and under as well as seniors 70 and over ski free.

Camp CB
Camp CB is where learning and fun converge to create a memorable experience for you and your child. Featuring tailored lessons for each age and ability level, Camp CB is able to provide plenty of individualized instruction to each student. Crested Butte Mountain Resort’s Camp CB is highly regarded as a top ski school program in part due to their ability to keep group lessons to only 4-5 students, encouraging individualized instruction.


Posted in: Parent Tales, Skiing

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