Pros: Ripping steeps, fast lifts, lots of hidden shots
Cons: Only 2 lifts matter (T-bars aren't 'lifts'), watch the rock bands, climbs for the good stuff
I spent a week here in March 2011, staying at the Chateau condos. First, the good stuff:
This mountain has amazing steeps. The Headwall area skied great all week, even without fresh snow. The north facing slope keeps the snow firm without getting icy, even after two days of full sunshine. The High lift T-bar will drop you off on this bowl after a quick ride up Silver Queen quad. For another rush, drop off the t-bar at the midpoint and get into Big Chute. This tight drop will test your resolve, since you don't see how steep it is until you've dropped past the point of climbing out.
Another venture from the top of the High lift T-bar takes you into Teocalli Bowl. This bowl has some steep but playful terrain, but beware, there's a stout 10-15 minute hike out. I dropped into Morning Glory for my only run into that bowl.
The second t-bar, NorthFace, gives you several options at the top. My favorite was to take a quick right behind the lift shack and traverse south. A small cliff band is easily surmounted, leaving you with some great powder runs back to the bottom of the t-bar. The second option is to go north for shots into the double blacks Hard Slab or Rachel's. That gets you into the edge of the back bowls like the Glades and Sock it to Me Ridge. The last day I skied Crested Butte it had snowed about 6", and the back bowls were a bit more friendly. A long up and down hike from the NorthFace t-bar gets you to Spellbound. This is the other edge of the back bowls, and has several steep drops with shelves between them to catch your breath on. A fairly painless hike/skate gets you out of the back bowls. I didn't ski the middle back bowls.
The East River Express had some funs runs, and Resurrection and Black Eagle were noteable in that half the run was groomed and half was bumped, so you can take your pick. Double Top was a particular favorite of our group. Paradise Express is the major lift for the 'back side' of Crested Butte, with mainly blue and double blue runs. For some challenge, try Tower 11 chute. If you can dodge the rocks at the top, it's worth the trip down.
Silver Queen Express is the main front side lift. Most of the runs it accesses are black diamonds like International, Jokerville, and Peel. I never got past Forest on the right side of the Silver Queen, so I can't comment on the exposed runs like Upper Peel or Banana Funnel. Peak is the run from the very top of the mountain, and was only open briefly during my visit. From the looks of it, count on powerful winds up there most of the time.
I never rode the Red Lady Express or WestWall, which accesses the main green runs. One ride apiece on Prospect, Gold Link, and Painter Boy all week was just to get a feel for the terrain (try 'flat').
Crested Butte had about 80" base, which was adequate for covering the everpresent rock bands. I managed to avoid any major hits to the ski bases all week. Like I mentioned before, only Paradise and Silver Queen lifts are necessary to hit most of the runs. I am not too impressed with t-bars; the novelty wears off pretty quick, and if you ride with another skier, be sure you're about the same height.
Nightlife isn't my forte, but we did make it into the town of Crested Butte for a couple of dinners. Most of the action is on Elk Street. I like to bring home a few trinkets for the kids, but I didn't find any good t-shirt shops in either the town or the base area. The bus system is pretty good, and we got the hang of it quickly.