Après all day: 5 ways Crested Butte has you covered if you don't want to ski

 

Let's face it - the mountain isn't for everyone. Some Southern Californians accustomed to sun and waves prefer to get straight to the après part of après -ski and enjoy the scenery fireside rather than slopeside. But skiing isn't everything in Crested Butte, Colo., an idyllic ski resort in the Rocky Mountains. Indoor and outdoor experiences like snow biking, ice sculpture, rock concerts and nightlife keep the town alive with non-powdery fun.

Live the nightlife. Once a booming mining town, Crested Butte is alive and well with historically styled nightlife, full of fun and casual saloons serving handcrafted brews and small-batch whiskey. Follow the locals to the Talk of the Town, an insider favorite with lots of entertainment from either a jukebox or a deejay. The Eldo, Crested Butte's only local brewery, is a must for handcrafted drafts. Sample Colorado's high altitude rum either neat or in creative cocktails at the Montanya distillery tasting room.

Looking for a place to drop the kids while you step away for an adult beverage? Try the kids' night out program. Crested Butte's kids' instructors host a visit to the ski adventure park followed by dinner and games, leaving parents free to enjoy a little quiet time.

Events for everyone. Year-round events offer countless opportunities to spectate -- and costumes are always encouraged. To kick off the season, this year's Santa Ski and pub crawl aims to set the record for the most skiers in Santa costumes.

The inaugural Fat Bike World Championships takes place Jan. 27 to 31. More than just a race, the event includes a conference, demo rides and a pub crawl. Give one a shot and then tear up the SoCal desert: The specialty bikes perform as well in sand as they do in snow.

For more costumed fun, give the Alley Loop Nordic Marathon a shot. On Feb. 6, the 30th annual race will bring hundreds of serious skiers dressed very non-seriously for a race and Crested Butte's largest costume party.

Unleash your inner James Bond at Aston Martin on Ice 2016. Develop some extreme auto racing skills on a custom-built ice track, with professional instruction from the Aston Martin driving team. Tickets start at $2,499 for this luxury once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Get cultured. Take the First Friday art walk in historic (and nearby) Gunnison. Pair drinks and painting lessons with a Canvases and Cocktails in one of Crested Butte's newest bars, the Red Room. See some skilled chainsaw artists at the Rock on Ice carving festival on Dec. 16.

Rock out. Savor the sounds at the Mountain High Music Festival, with headliners Dean Dillon and the Marshall Tucker Band, Jan. 13 to 17. The festival takes place in multiple venues throughout the ski areas and downtown Crested Butte.

Chill. Enjoy myriad winter activities in the town of Crested Butte. Take someone special on a romantic horse-drawn sleigh ride ending at a gourmet dinner.

Snowshoe on beautiful well-groomed trails. Keep an eye out for wildlife or bring your own: Some trails allow pets.

For a breathtaking experience, glorious evening snowshoe tours feature stargazing under the brilliant night sky. With near zero light pollution, Crested Butte is considered one of the best spots in the U.S. to view the Milky Way -- a "polar" opposite of L.A.'s skies.

And for something completely different, you can even drive a snowcat! The Snowcat Driving Experience allows you to get behind the wheel of the heavy machinery used to groom the runs. You'll have a chance to carve the slopes without ever clicking into skis.

-Barbara Beckley, Tribune Content Solutions

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