New trails on the way
If you’re taking a stroll through the base area of Crested Butte Mountain Resort, things wouldn’t seem out of the ordinary right now—people getting on the chairlift, chatting at the bike shop, or playing Frisbee in the grass. But inside the buildings, and up on the mountain, about $1.2 million is being spent in upgrades to the ski area, and still more on repairs.
Possibly the quietest change is that the site for the proposed Red Lady Lodge has been tidied up and a large “coming soon” sign has been erected. The proposed 22,000-square-foot Red Lady Lodge will be located just past the top of the Red Lady Express lift on the north side of the ski slope. The lodge proposal includes a main dining space for 230 people, a fine dining component that will seat 100 diners, and a separate play area for kids. A single, large kitchen will serve both dining facilities.
CBMR vice president and chief marketing officer Ken Stone says the resort originally intended to do more work on the lodge this summer, but decided to focus on more immediate projects like building renovations at the base area instead. “We were originally going to go up there and put in the foundation. We opted not to do that and start next season,” he says.
Stone says the building is set for completion by the beginning of the 2010 winter season.
But by the end of this summer locals and visitors will be able to ride several new mountain biking trails at the resort.
On Monday, July 14, Stone said Forest Service officials, along with CBMR’s mountain operations crew, had just finished their walk-through of the proposed trails. For the sports enthusiast, CBMR has proposed four new cross-country-style segments, and a new downhill trail.
CBMR operations manager Ethan Mueller says the resort now has final approval to build two of the cross-country trails and will move forward with building them soon. For the remaining trails, he says other Forest Service officials are being invited to view the trail layout and voice any concerns before they give their approval.
The resort has also proposed building a dual slalom mountain biking course near the base area. “It’s tentative for this summer. We’re trying to work out the details on getting dirt, but it’s not a ‘for sure,’” Mueller says. “If not this summer, it’s a definite for next summer.”
A small BMX/biking pump track, which Mueller says has been a big hit, was recently completed at the site of the old Gothic Building.
Last week Chris Brown and High Mountain Flyers were up in the woods reconfiguring the disc golf course and installing a “back nine” that leads down to the base area to complete the 18-hole course.
Stone has seen a large jump in the popularity of the disc golf course. “I think only about 60 or so played it last year, and over 300 people have played it this year,” Stone says.
At the base area, a reconfiguration of the Treasury Center is under way, but currently involves the movement of a lot of ski equipment, Stone says.
Mueller says they are moving the rental shop up to the ground level, but are in lease negotiations to use the space occupied by Christy Sports. Mueller says they are looking to move Christy Sports to a different location in the Treasury building.
The Outpost (formerly Gene Taylor’s) is being redecorated into a day lodge with tables and couches. “It’s mostly new furnishings and vending machines,” Mueller says.
Kids World is also getting a makeover. Mueller says the resort recently completed a floor plan for the renovation of the Kids World space in the Whetstone Building and will begin remodeling the space soon.
Stone says all of the building changes will be completed by the beginning of the upcoming ski season. The renovation of the Elevation Hotel and Spa should also be completed by December, he says.
Moving into “other things not so glamorous,” Stone says, are ongoing repairs and maintenance— plumbing and electrical in buildings, a $300,000 haul cable replacement for the Silver Queen Express lift, and repairs to fleet vehicles.
Stone said he didn’t know the total cost of this year’s maintenance projects, but the improvements on the hill and building changes will cost $1.2 million.
For this upcoming winter CBMR will also be opening a new section of extreme limits terrain next to Teocalli Bowl, known by most skiers as Teo 2 and 2.5. Stone says no physical changes to the ski area were required to open the terrain, which is skied often in the spring once the lifts close for the season. “It’s pretty much a natural area we will expand into. The one thing required on our part is to control it (for avalanches) on a regular basis. If the snow is anything like this past winter, that’s going to be some amazing skiing back there,” he says.
In a June 24 press release regarding the improvements, CBMR owner Tim Mueller said, “We want to raise the bar again and continue to ensure that we deliver the best overall resort experience for our guests.”