Mountain Sports Team finds home

“It builds a cohesive team”

The newly formed Crested Butte Mountain Sports Team has been given the green light by the Mt. Crested Butte Town Council to use the yurt near the main parking lot and the Grand Lodge as a base of operations this season.


 CBMR planning director John Sale and Mountain Sports Team director Drew Cesati came before the council last Wednesday to get the final piece of approval—a conditional use permit to occupy the base area yurt.
Cesati said, “Having a team locker space is a good thing. It provides a place to eat lunch, meet up with coaches and store things. It’s super important, and it builds a cohesive team.”
The Mountain Sports Team is intended to fill a gap left by the now-defunct Crested Butte Academy.
Cesati said the Mountain Sports Team will be a “public school sports academy” that offers athletic instruction in alpine skiing, and freeride/freestyle skiing and snowboarding.
The program is being assembled by Cesati, who is a former Crested Butte Academy instructor.
Crested Butte Mountain Resort, the Crested Butte Ski Club and the Crested Butte Community School are partnering to create the program.
Cesati said the program was still in its infancy and there were some kinks to be worked out, such as reliable transportation up to the mountain from the Crested Butte Community School, but he said there were already quite a few students interested. He expected 10 to 15 students in the program on weekdays, and upwards of 40 on weekends.
The yurt would serve as a base of operations where the team would meet, get dressed, review tapes and eat. The yurt would also be used for administrative functions by the Mountain Sports Team staff and instructors.
Sale said they had a letter of approval for Mountain Sports Team athletes to get dismissed early from Crested Butte Community School principal Stephanie Niemi.
On weekdays, Cesati said, students would get out of school around 12:30 or 1 p.m. and would proceed directly to the yurt to get ready. Hopefully they could be on the slopes by 1:30 p.m. and have a couple hours to ski and receive on-hill instruction, before returning to the yurt for about an hour to review video footage from the day’s skiing.
On weekends, Cesati said, students would be up at the yurt at 8 a.m. getting ready, and would ski all day—taking a break for an hour or two in the middle of the day to eat lunch, regroup, and review some more footage.
The new sports program received approval from the town’s Planning Commission on October 22, and several local residents spoke in support during a public hearing earlier in the Planning Commission’s meeting.
Sale said they intended on using the yurt as currently situated on the old site of the Manor Lodge. CBMR owns the yurt, and it was used in 2005 as a temporary shelter during the construction of the town’s transit center.
The Planning Commission had four conditions on the use approval, the first to get a letter from principal Niemi. Conditions two and three were that portable bathrooms for student athletes would be shielded from view from Gothic Road, and that the town manager would have purview over the yurt’s upkeep and appearance. The final condition was the permit would only last for one season, and if CBMR wished to continue using the yurt they would have to apply to renew the permit before June 1, 2009.
“We agreed with all of those conditions, and we’d like to move forward with getting the yurt ready,” Sale said.
Councilman Bill Babbitt asked for some clarification regarding how the portable bathrooms would be shielded.
Sale said, “The thought was to have them shielded from view from Gothic Road, at least with snow or some sort of structure.”
Sale said they were likely going to build a snow “bunker” that would enclose the bathrooms and shield the view on all sides.
The council approved the conditional use permit along with the Planning Commission recommendations.
More information about the program can be found at, under the Mountain/Mountain Sports Team buttons.

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