Friday, September 21, 2018
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An apology, a compliment and an admonition

Last week’s “Overheard” certainly raised more than a few eyebrows and all of us at the News heard about it. Some thought it was funny. Most thought it was inappropriate. They are right. At the time, it seemed to me a joke when a mother with young kids sent it to me. Tying in a “silent” disco with a 1970s vibe and someone yelling out a request for an illegal drug that permeated discos in the 1970s like so many rocks on the traverse into Phoenix Bowl was situationally funny. But as it stood on the front page of the paper, it was a bit more raw. Too raw, frankly. We understand the angst and we admittedly could have used better judgment. My bad. Sorry.

Speaking of rocks into Phoenix Bowl. I loved the tires laid down by members of the Crested Butte Professional Ski Patrol to ease the pain of the entrance. Great idea. I’ve heard of wooden bridges with Astroturf being built in similar situations at other resorts. The tires or bridges seem like an easy fix to some of the sketchiest winter entrances. Not that local ski tuners would be in favor but the tires sure were a nice touch last weekend. Thanks.

My first read of a High Country Citizens’ Alliance press release reacting to CBMR’s proposed 10-year Master Development Plan that includes a possible expansion to the Teo drainage tweaked me. The tone seems stereotypically agro for an early stage proposal and despite a sentence saying HCCA is eager to work with the ski area and community, the rest of the statement reads like the start of another strategy of roadblocks. That is not really productive. Timing and tone really matter.
This resort MDP isn’t in the same class as a molybdenum mine or expanded fracking in the region but HCCA’s tone sounds the same. That lack of nuance really does the organization little good.
CBMR has been beyond inclusive with the broad community when broaching the subject of that Teo expansion. I was with some HCCA staff on a tour of the proposed terrain on a late summer hike. CBMR had several public meetings looking for feedback before penning their proposal. During a bruising debate over expansion to Snodgrass, it was the environmental community’s stated desire to see “build-out on the current mountain” before moving to any other area.
I understand that HCCA is an environmental advocacy group. They have a valid role to play here in the valley. I am glad they are tenaciously keeping a sharp eye on the potential molybdenum mine on Red Lady. But to write the Forest Service and “recommend” a rewrite of the ski area MDP to include details normally analyzed through the environmental review process like NEPA is, frankly, lame and irritating.
There will surely be valid concerns to that proposed expansion that will have to be discussed (the Evans elk herd for example) when it starts to move from idea to reality. That’s what the Forest Service process will entail if and when CBMR is ready to pull the trigger. But the MDP is a conceptual document…and it seems to me the community is fully behind the concept of on-mountain expansion if it is done with thought. For HCCA to set a tone this early in the process that could be interpreted as building roadblocks to slow down a very publicly vetted MDP process is just fingernails on a chalkboard. If HCCA is sincerely trying to find a “sweet spot” between the local economy and environment, this first foray into that unchartered territory might be considered clumsy. Timing and tone matter (see first paragraph above).

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