Unwrap events for the whole family, great vacation packages and more

A snowy mountain backdrop, lots of good cheer and plenty of unforgettable activities for all ages combine to create amazing holiday moments in Gunnison-Crested Butte, Colo.  The season for snowy fun kicks off just in time, with Crested Butte Nordic Center opening Nov. 17 and Crested Butte Mountain Resort opening Nov. 21.

November Rings in the Season

The 38th Annual Sugar Plum Festival is a prime stop for handmade gifts such as wreaths made out of sagebrush, Christmas decor, stained glass, pottery, jewelry and canned goods on Nov. 17 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the Fred R. Field Western Heritage Center.  Carols and a visit from Santa also make the Sugar Plum Festival a sweet experience.  Call (970) 641-6931.

Work off turkey dinner and all the trimmings with the Crested Butte Nordic Council’s annual Thanksgiving Training Camp on Nov. 22 – 24. Beginner, intermediate and advanced skate and classic clinics as well as clinics for women and master racers are planned. Pilates classes for Nordic skiers also will be offered. Anyone is invited to watch ski movies at Crested Butte Center for the Arts at a cost of $10 that benefits the Crested Butte Nordic Center. On Saturday night, a Nordic Season Kick-Off Party & Silent Auction at Montanya Distillers begins at 6 p.m. Tickets are $30 for adults, $15 for kids ages 5 – 18, and free for children under 5.  Call (970) 349-1707 and visit www.cbnordic.org to register and for more information.

Gunnison will formally usher in the Christmas season with Night of Lights held downtown on Nov, 30 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.  Admire lighted displays, warm up at bonfires for roasting marshmallows and booths for hot cocoa and other free treats, and enjoy local entertainment groups at various downtown venues. Santa will arrive at 6:30 p.m., escort the crowd to the community tree lighting and greet children at the Elk’s Lodge.

December Holidays Happenings

Holiday Open Houses will be held Dec. 1 and 2 at downtown Gunnison merchants, complete with shopping specials and refreshments from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Saturday and noon – 4 p.m. on Sunday.  For Night of Lights and the open houses, contact the Gunnison Country Chamber of Commerce at (970) 641-1501.

Shop for great gifts at the annual Crested Butte Community School Holiday Bazaar on Dec. 1 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.  The bazaar features handcrafted items, tasty baked goods and more.  For information, call (954) 614-9562.  There’s more great gift buying and browsing at Gunnison’s First Friday Artwalk & Music on Dec. 7 from 5 – 8 p.m.  Call Gunnison Gallery at (970) 641-6111.

Kids can make their own presents at The Trailhead Children’s Museum, located at the ski area base, during Gift Making Workshops on Dec. 1 and 2 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.  The price is based on the project selected.  On Dec 21, join Santa and his elves for holiday crafts, science projects, storytelling, caroling and more during Santa’s Workshop at the museum from 4:30 – 6:30 p.m.  The cost is $5 per person.  Call (970) 349-7160 or visit www.trailheadkids.org.

Nationally recognized ice sculptors will be back from Dec. 15 – 22 to decorate Mountaineer Square and other locations around Crested Butte Mountain Resort with beautifully crafted ice creations. Local carolers will add to the festive scene at the ski area base throughout the season.

Light Up Night on Crested Butte’s historic Elk Avenue is all about lighting the community Christmas tree, hearing favorite holiday tunes performed by local musicians and a bell choir and enjoying visits from Santa, Mrs. Claus and Crested Butte Mountain Resort’s Bubba and Betty Bear.  The festivities are scheduled for Dec. 15, 5 – 6 p.m., and will take place between Second and Third Streets. For information, call the Crested Butte-Mt. Crested Butte Chamber of Commerce at (970) 349-6438 or visit www.cbchamber.com.

Crested Butte Mountain Theatre’s annual holiday production on Dec. 20 – 23 and 27 – 29 will be “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever,” a book and play by Barbara Robinson.  Six delinquent children go to church for the first time and are given roles in the Sunday school’s Christmas play.  The story ends up being told in a nonconventional and hilarious fashion.  Tickets cost $15 for adults and $10 for students.  For times and to purchase tickets, call (970) 349-0366 or visit www.cbmountaintheatre.org.

The Art Studio of the Center of the Arts, located in downtown Crested Butte on Elk Avenue, is offering fun for all ages during Holiday Paint Your Own Pottery events on Dec. 21 and 29 from 2 – 5 p.m.  Choose from a wide selection of holiday pottery, ornaments, mugs, bowls, plates, kids’ items and more.  Prices range from $4 to $45 based on pottery selected.  Call (970) 349-7044 or visit www.crestedbuttearts.org.

Embark on an easy snowshoe or cross-county ski (approximately one mile with guides available) to the Crested Butte Nordic Center’s Magic Meadows Yurt and feast on a five-course gourmet meal for a Pre-Christmas Yurt Dinner on Dec. 23 and Full Moon Dinner on Dec. 28.  Dinner is prepared by local chef Josephine Kellett of Creative Catering and served at 6:30 p.m.  The cost is $70 for adults and $35 for children (under age 12) and includes a trail pass and equipment rental; alcohol and gratuity are extra.  For reservations, visit www.cbnordic.org or call (970) 349-1707.

On Christmas Eve, it’s exquisite to watch skiers and boarders winding down the slopes with lights during the Christmas Eve Torchlight Parade at Crested Butte Mountain Resort.  A few days later, gather up the family and enjoy moonlit trails during CBMR’s Moonlight Snowshoe Tour on Dec. 28. Catch a ride from a snowcat to the top of Red Lady Express chairlift and traverse trails bathed in the moonshine to the base area on this magical outing that runs from 7 – 9 p.m.  For reservations and cost, contact (800) 544-8448 or visit www.skicb.com.

New this year is the Gunnison Nordic Club’s Full Moon Hartman Rocks Ski/Snowshoe Tour on Dec. 28 at 6:30 p.m.  Bring the entire family and enjoy a beautiful ski or snowshoe on trails with club guides. Hot chocolate and treats will be served indoors on Hartman Rocks Road after the tour.  The event is free and open to all skill levels.  Bring your own equipment.

New Year’s Eve Magic, Dec. 31

Kids Rock – Noon Year’s Eve from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. will launch the celebrating for families with a concert, kid-friendly cuisine and hands-on art and science activities.  Presented By The Trailhead Children’s Museum, Crested Butte Music Festival and Crested Butte Center for the Arts, the event will be held at Lodge at Mountaineer Square Ballroom in Mt. Crested Butte.  The cost is $10 per person.  Call (970) 349-7160 or visit www.trailheadkids.org.

Greet 2013 in style by visiting the wide array of art galleries in downtown Crested Butte during ArtWalk Evening from 5 – 8 p.m.  Light refreshments, music and on-site artists are part of the fun.  Visit www.awearts.org.   The New Year’s Eve Torchlight Parade and Fireworks on the slopes of Crested Butte Mountain Resort in early evening also is a great way to celebrate for all ages before heading out for dinner.  For information, visit www.skicb.com.

Join the Crested Butte Nordic Center for its New Year’s Eve Yurt Dinner by skiing or snowshoeing to the fun at Magic Meadows that begins at 7 p.m.  Enjoy a five-course dinner prepared by Josephine Kellett of Creative Catering, wine, beer and live music by Alpine Soul for a cost of $90 per person.  Also included is a trail pass and rental equipment.  A New Year’s Eve Yurt Party will begin at 10:30 p.m. and includes wine, beer, snacks, DJ music and a trail pass, all for $35.  For information and reservations, visit www.cbnordic.org or call (970) 349-1707.

Holiday Vacation Packages

The Grandest Christmas package features four nights of lodging at Grand Lodge in Mt. Crested Butte, three days of skiing or riding, and Adventure Park access for tubing, mini golf and bungee trampolines at Crested Butte Mountain Resort.  The $999 package is for two adults and two children, ages 17 or younger, and is good for travel from Dec. 14 to Dec. 23, 2012.  This deal must be booked by Dec. 16, cannot be combined with other offers, and is subject to availability and prior to all fees and taxes.  Call Crested Butte Vacations at (800) 600-2803 and visit www.skicb.com.

Take advantage of the Gunnison Getaway package for great ski vacation rates over the holidays. When not skiing or snowboarding at nearby Crested Butte Mountain Resort, ice skate on the three rinks at Jorgensen Park (indoor, covered and Pac-Man Pond), stop by the Gunnison Arts Center, and rock climb, swim and more at the recreation center.  Prices ranges from $61.50 at Wanderlust Hostel to $99.50 at Holiday Inn Express & Suites per adult, per night (includes a lift ticket at Crested Butte Mountain Resort) from Dec. 14, 2012 – Jan. 4, 2013.  Price is based on double occupancy with two adult lift tickets and does not include taxes. Young adult and children’s lift tickets can be purchased when booking the stay, and properties may charge fees for children and other additional occupants staying in the room.  Go to www.gunnisongetaway.com.

Visitor Information & Personalized Vacation Packages

To find out more, call the Gunnison-Crested Butte Tourism Association’s toll-free line, (800) 814-8893, or visit www.GunnisonCrestedButte.com.  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 by United Airlines year-round and by American Airlines during winter.

Image courtesy Gunnison-Crested Butte Tourism Association

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