GUNNISON-CRESTED BUTTE, Colo. October 7, 2011 — With snow already gracing the mountaintops, the Gunnison-Crested Butte Valley is preparing to greet winter in style with November happenings.  The Crested Butte Nordic Center kicks off its season on Nov. 19, and Crested Butte Mountain Resort opens Nov. 23 with free skiing to honor its 50th birthday.  There are incredible early-season deals and the chance to win a free trip on www.gunnisoncrestedbutte.com to get the snow party rolling.

Gunnison

November in Gunnison is all about kindling excitement for the holiday season with First Friday Gallery Crawl & Music starting the festivities on Nov. 4. Great art, refreshments and on-site artists are the highlights from 5 – 7 p.m.  Call Gunnison Gallery at (970) 641-6111 for participating businesses and more information.

Take part in an elegant evening at Fantasy of Fashion featuring a Taste of Gunnison, entertainment, gift tables and more at the Fred R. Field Western Heritage Center starting at 5:30 p.m. For tickets ($25 early bird and $30 after Nov. 7) contact the Gunnison Country Chamber of Commerce at (800) 274-7580.

The 37th Annual Sugar Plum Festival is a prime stop for handmade gifts such as wreaths made out of sagebrush, Christmas tree decorations, quilted tree skirts and table runners, stained glass, pottery, jewelry and canned goods on Nov. 19 at the Fred R. Field Western Heritage Center.  Approximately 75 booths, carols and a visit from Santa Claus make the Sugar Plum Festival an extra sweet experience.  For information, call (970) 641-6931.

Crested Butte & Mt. Crested Butte

Crested Butte Mountain Resort (CBMR) officially opened for skiing in November 1961, and this year’s opening day marks the resort’s 50th birthday and the culmination of a yearlong celebration. To honor its golden year, CBMR is offering a free lift ticket valid on Nov. 23, 2011 (opening day) for the 2011-2012 season. The opening day birthday celebration includes live music with newgrass great Drew Emmitt, fun events, a big birthday cake and party favors.

To sweeten the deal, the resort also is offering a free lift ticket for “your” birthday, valid throughout the 2011-2012 winter season. Skiers and riders must show a valid photo ID at the CBMR Adventure Center on the day they were born to receive a free day of skiing for that day. Participants must be 18 years of age or older with a valid photo ID to prove their official date of birth.  For more information, go towww.skicb.com.

Start the Nordic season off right with fun, informative cross-country ski clinics and activities at the Crested Butte Nordic Council’s (CBNC) annual Thanksgiving Training Camp on Nov. 24 – 26. Beginning, intermediate and advanced skate and classic clinics as well as clinics for women only and masters racers are planned. The crew of renowned instructors includes experienced coach and Olympian Ingrid Butts, Olympian Rebecca Dussault, accomplished masters racer Murray Banks, PSIA examiner Ross Matlock, and Crested Butte Nordic Center’s lead instructor Toni Westerholm.  Participants also will have the chance to focus on overall fitness for skiing with Pilates instructor Kenny Marks and learn about waxing techniques with Fast Wax rep and 42k Alley Loop Champion Brian Smith.

Beginner clinics cost $40 each, intermediate and advance clinics $50 each, and Pilates $10. On Saturday night, the CBNC Community Dinner Party and Silent Auction will be held at  Montanya Distillers’ new location in the historic Powerhouse Building with live entertainment by Dr. Robert, a new generation Beatles tribute band. Ticket prices to be announced.  Call (970) 349-1707 or visit www.cbnordic.org.

Win a Free Trip

Who would you bring on vacation to the Gunnison-Crested Butte Valley and why?  That is the question you must answer to take part in a promotion to win two roundtrip airline tickets to the Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport (GUC) on American Airlines, three nights lodging at the slopeside Elevation Hotel & Spa, and two lift tickets from Crested Butte Mountain Resort.

Go to www.gunnisoncrestedbutte.com/October-Promotion-2011 from noon on Oct. 17, 2011 to noon on Oct. 31, 2011 to enter your response in 50 words or less.  American Airlines will have daily direct flights to GUC from Dallas/Ft. Worth (DFW) from Dec. 15, 2011 – April 2, 2012.

Early-Season Deals

Elk Mountain Lodge’s Early Skiing Special for $89 per person, per night (based on double occupancy) includes lodging, complimentary full breakfast and a lift ticket at Crested Butte Mountain Resort. The Crested Butte property is offering this deal, which is subject to tax and availability, from Nov. 23 – Dec. 15, 2011. Call (800) 374-6521 and visit www.elkmountainlodge.com.

It’s another La Niña year and that could mean exceptional early-season skiing and riding at Crested Butte Mountain Resort. From Nov. 22 – Dec. 2, the resort is offering lodging and lift tickets for $69 per person, per night. From Dec. 3 – 15, the rate is $89 per person, per night.  To reserve an Early Season Package, visit www.skicb.com/specials or call Crested Butte Vacations at (800) 600-2803.

Book Early and Save Big with Crested Butte Lodging & Property Management and Crested Butte Mountain Resort.  Crested Butte Lodging is offering a fourth night free all ski season, except for the Christmas and New Year’s holidays and spring break (March 10 – 18, 2012) when the fifth night is free.  Reservations must be booked by Oct. 31, 2011, and the offer is subject to tax and availability.  Call (888) 412-7310 and visit www.crestedbuttelodging.com.

CBMR’s book early offer features a 20 percent discount on lodging for reservations confirmed by Nov. 1, 2011, with a minimum four-night stay required. This offer is based upon availability with no blackout dates and can be booked at www.skicb.com/specials or by calling Crested Butte Vacations at (800) 600-2803.

Visitor Information & Personalized Vacation Packages

To find out more about Gunnison County or to book personalized vacation packages, call (800) 814-8893, or visit www.GunnisonCrestedButte.com/packages.

Find the Tourism Association on Facebook at www.facebook.com/gcbta or follow us on www.twitter.com/gcbta.  The Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport is served year-round by United and during the winter season by American Airlines and Continental Airlines.

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