Class is in session at Crested Butte Mountain Resort. Located in beautiful Crested Butte, Colorado, the resort's ski and ride school attracts all ability levels. Beginning, intermediate and advanced students alike appreciate the small class sizes and short lift lines, which make learning to ski or snowboard fun, not stressful.
"The neat thing about learning on our mountain is you don't feel rushed," says Nick Herrin, director of the school. "At busier areas, the crowds can stress students out. The resort is like the town of Crested Butte: laid back."
CBMR offers private and group lessons, with kids as young as toddler age hitting the slopes as part of the Snowy Bears program. The full-day childcare session for 2-year-olds and 3-year-olds includes a one-hour private ski lesson.
"People think of us as an extreme mountain, but we also have areas that are great learning environments for other levels," says ski school director Nick Herrin.
"For many of the kids, it's their first time on snow. We get them into boots and skis so they can get used to the equipment and being outside in that kind of setting," Herrin says, adding that the instructor sets a pace based on the student's physical and mental development. "They may learn to ski, or they may just make snow angels."
Kids ages 3 to 17 can attend the full-day Camp CB to learn how to ski or snowboard or to take their skills to the next level. Adult lessons are available for those 18 and older from beginner through levels 8 and 9, which take advanced students to the extreme terrain for which Mt. Crested Butte has become legendary.
To keep those class sizes small, the school employs nearly 200 instructors. The pros excel at helping students get the most out of their lessons and the resort.
"Our instructors know the mountain better than anyone. They can assess your ability and take you to the right terrain for it," Herrin says. "Learning to ski here is just a phenomenal experience. People think of us as an extreme mountain, but we also have areas that are great learning environments for other levels."
Among the many instructors at CBMR is Olympian and World Extreme Freeskiing champion Wendy Fisher, who also serves as an ambassador for the resort. She offers private lessons and monthly ski clinics for high beginner/intermediate skiers and high intermediate/expert skiers.
After class ends, many students head to 9380 Prime at Elevation Hotel & Spa, which sits at the base of the mountain and just feet from the lift lines. The restaurant is the place to go for après-ski dining and drinks, whether it's a hot toddy or a hot chocolate.
Elevation also is a popular hotel choice for students because of its ski valet services, which allows them to check their equipment after their last run. Beginners who are not used to carrying so much gear especially appreciate this service — that and the menu of spa treatments and massages available to soothe sore muscles and feet.
To Go: Convenient flights are available to Crested Butte from Houston, Dallas and Austin airports. Click here for more features about Elevation Hotel & Spa as well as Insider Offers for accommodations.