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Planning your Colorado ski trip

Special to The Los Angeles Times

THE BEST WAY

From LAX to Gunnison, Colo., United has connecting service (change of plane). Restricted round-trip fares begin at $566.

To Durango, Colo., United, US Airways and Delta have connecting service. Round-trip fares begin at $502.

To Montrose, Colo., United has connecting service. Restricted round-trip fares begin at $487.

CRESTED BUTTE

(800) 810-7669, www.skicb.comWhere to stay

Lodgings near the slopes in Mt. Crested Butte include condos, homes and several refurbished hotels. In Crested Butte, a bus ride away, you'll find condos, homes, B&Bs and motels.

Grand Lodge Hotel, 6 Emmons Drive, Mt. Crested Butte; (888) 823-4446 or (970) 349-8000, www.grandlodgecrestedbutte.com. Formerly the Sheraton, and among the nicest of the lodgings in Mt. Crested Butte. Doubles in high season about $200 to $310.

Elevation Hotel & Spa, 500 Gothic Road; (800) 544-8448, www.elevationhotel.com. Former Club Med. Doubles in high season from $259.

Where to eat

Timberline, 201 Elk Ave.; (970) 349-6245, www.timberlinerestaurant.com. Quality new-American cuisine interpretations of dishes that include elk, trout, duck. Entrees $14 to $36.

DURANGO MOUNTAIN RESORT

(800) 982-6103, www.durangomountainresort.com.

Where to stay

Lodgings at the bottom of the slopes include individually owned condo rooms, some of which are offered under the rubric Purgatory Village Hotel, (800) 982-6103, www.durangomountainresort.com. Last year, the unit I stayed in was badly in need of a renovation. Doubles about $130 to $240 a night.

The Lodge at Tamarron, (800) 982-6103, www.durangomountainresort.com. A pleasant hotel a few minutes from the slopes; units of varying sizes. Free ski shuttle. Doubles $109 to $149.

Apple Orchard Inn, 7758 County Road 203, Durango; (800) 426-0751, www.appleorchardinn.com. My favorite B&B, with lovely rooms and wonderful little cottages, about a 20-minute ride from the ski area. Doubles from $150 to $170 main house; cottages $185 to $225.

Where to eat

Ken and Sue's Place, 636 Main Ave; (970) 385-1810. First-rate contemporary American food -- from pistachio-crusted grouper to "smashed" sweet potatoes -- with lovely presentation and comfy upscale booths. Entrees $15 to $25.

Gazpacho, 431 E. 2nd Ave.; (970) 259-9494, www.gazpachorestaurant.com. New Mexican dishes like chile relleno, enchiladas with red or green chile and sopaipillas (fluffy fried bread poofs meant to be slathered with honey), with most entrees less than $10.

WOLF CREEK

www.wolfcreekski.com.

Where to stay

The Springs Resort, 165 Hot Springs Blvd., Pagosa Springs; (800) 225-0934, www.pagosahotsprings.com. My favorite lodging, with its 18 natural hot springs soaking pools. Rooms are good motel quality. Doubles $149 to $200.

Where to eat

Isabel's, 20 Village Drive, Pagosa Springs; (970) 731-5448, www.isabelsdiningpagosa.com. This is an unexpectedly good choice, with dishes like herb-crusted Colorado lamb chops, in a town filled with Mexican and steak restaurants. Entrees, $17 to $23.

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