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Profile: Anthony Perez

The world of Anthony Perez revolves around being able to stay afloat amidst change—change in plans, change in direction, change in the weather, change in the wind. He’s sort of a self-made hybrid of a concierge and Mary Poppins.
Anthony grew up among the tall pines and thick woods of the Itasca State Park, where the Mississippi River comes off Lake Itasca in northern Minnesota. “The headwaters of the Mississippi is just a tiny creek there,” Anthony says and he pulls out a photo of a few young kids walking knee-deep through a tranquil, small creek, maybe six feet wide with cattails along its banks, that many hundreds of miles downstream becomes the wide and mighty Mississippi. “I like to pull out that photo for people from Louisiana or Mississippi, especially New Orleans,” he laughs, “just to show them what the river looks like from up here.”
His parents were avid outdoors enthusiasts and Anthony and his brother cross-country skied every weekend of the winter. Summers on the lake brought water skiing, cycling and hiking.
Musically encouraged by a jazz saxophone-playing dad and older brother, Anthony took up drums at 13. In eighth grade he finagled a way out of school so he could play drums in his brother’s high school talent show. He remembers, “I got let out of school for a half day to play music and then I was hooked.”
His first band, named Food, played mostly contemporary rock covers of the 90s. He later formed a mostly original band for three years until he was 18. “Typhoid Mary—we actually played some bars as under-aged kids,” he muses. “I don’t know if they realized how young we were when they booked us, but we showed up.” He graduated from high school in 2000, heading off to the University of Minnesota in Duluth, on the tip of Lake Superior.
Anthony dove into mechanical engineering, but his priorities were somewhat removed from his discipline and he says with no shame, “I was an aspiring ski bum—that was my top priority. I skied Spirit Mountain, a decent sized little hill with a good terrain park and that’s where I learned to ski terrain. It was open until 9 p.m. so we would ski after class. I probably put in 50 days a year while going to school full time.”
After two years of frigid night skiing, Anthony decided to move west to pursue a dream. “I loaded up a truck and moved to Boulder,” he smiles, recalling, “I had wanted to move out west since I was 13, live in a ski town, and be a skier.” When he was a child, his family “went on ski vacations to Steamboat, Vail, and Canada.”
Taking a year off to attain Colorado residency, he moved into a mudroom in a house on Boulder’s student-dense area, The Hill.
“The room was 7×7, basically big enough for a single mattress and the rest of my stuff—not a whole lot of room for $350 a month,” he laments.
With winter snows, Anthony moved to Frisco and worked in a Copper Mountain ski shop, putting college on hold and taking advantage of that lull in education. “After I got my residency, I was accepted into CU’s engineering program, but I quickly switched to business because I realized that I wanted to be in a ski town and engineering wasn’t going to do me a whole lot of good,” he chuckles. He changed his path to the quickest way out, since, he says, “In all honesty, business was the easiest and fastest way out of school.”
About a year later, in December 2004, he hit the pause button again on his education, having heard about this incredible little ski town called Crested Butte. “I had heard about Crested Butte when I was living in Summit County and some friends and I came out here on a powder day. We went straight to Fredos, East LA [Spellbound Cliffs] and I was completely amazed by the terrain. I couldn’t believe that kind of terrain was open to the public for skiing.”
“I didn’t know that you could be hucking cliffs like that. Every other ski resort that I had been to, they’d mark off rock and cliffs and divert you away from there. I saw someone hit 20 feet of air and I thought it was very impressive,” he says, still in awe. That was all it took for him to load up the truck and change horses in mid-stream, so to speak.
“I became a kids’ ski instructor. I had the job lined up before I even moved here,” he says of his commuting and hostel living until officially arriving in town on New Year’s Eve. “It was dumping snow and I rolled in at around 11 p.m. I went to sleep and when I got up in the morning of the first day of 2005, I was a ski instructor and went to work.”
But of course, that was only one of his jobs; his full-time job was as a concierge at the Grand Lodge. “I had no idea what a concierge was,” he shakes his head, laughing. When summer finally arrived, Anthony stashed all his possessions into a Gunnison storage unit and traveled south to Costa Rica, where he learned to surf and speak Spanish. “I spoke a little bit but it got immensely better traveling in Central America. I’ve got a lot of Latin blood in me, and family in Costa Rica as well,” says the brown-eyed man whose grandfather came north from Mexico to fight for the United States in World War Two.
With those winds of change rustling up the uncertainty of his adventurous spirit once again, Anthony finally opted to return to the Butte, concluding that skiing was not only the most important thing for him, but specifically, skiing here was the very best. He returned to his position as concierge at the Grand Lodge and in the autumn of 2005 he enrolled at Western State College. Regardless of his frenzied schedule, he still put in more than 100 days on the slopes while working full-time and commuting to classes, and was able finish up his bachelor’s degree in business with an emphasis in entrepreneurship in 2008.
The mover-and-shaker immediately went into biz for himself, creating his own company, Specialty Services. “I had put together a business plan as a school project and I was full-time self-employed six months after I finished school… with a lot of part-time jobs,” he adds. “I worked from home until I moved into my present office at the Four-way’s Outpost building.
“First, I did grocery delivery service and then I started transportation with only one Suburban in my second year of business. And now,” he grins, “we offer delivery service from wine to laxatives to groceries, and luggage shipping.
“People ship luggage to us, usually via UPS, so it arrives before they do so when they walk into their condo, their luggage, ski equipment and groceries are all waiting for them.
“This year we delivered lots of Christmas gifts and decorated Christmas trees. Recently, we started a babysitting service that’s been pretty popular,” says the makeshift Mary Poppins.
Anthony handles abrupt changes for his clients and notes that when it snows, as it thankfully often does, flights are cancelled. “Things change around a lot… we send cars to Montrose, Denver and Grand Junction. Basically our advanced reservations are still hanging out in Denver or diverted when those cancellations happen. They kinda get screwed… they get dropped off and told good luck.
“I’ve seen it worse though,” he says. “People get dropped off in Aspen because the airlines think it’s closer.” He tells of a call from a client whose boyfriend was diverted to Aspen and it was dumping snow. “I hopped in the Suburban and left right away. It was snowing sideways the whole way and it took me six hours just to get to Carbondale when the boyfriend calls and tells me his flight ended up in Denver. Every flight is flat-out cancelled so he’s stuck there. I told him to check into a hotel and I’ll pick him up at 6 a.m. So now it’s 9 p.m. and I’ve been in the car since 3 p.m. I drive from Aspen to Denver, sleep a couple of hours, get up, pick up the guy at 6 a.m. and drive back to Crested Butte and it’s still snowing hard the whole way.
“It was New Year’s Eve morning and that night, the guy (who I picked up) proposed to his girlfriend,” Anthony says proudly and adds that his 19-hour Colorado blizzard tour was worth it, and he still keeps in touch with those clients.
The newest expansion of his services is a retail store called The Switchback with tee-shirts, hats, sweatshirts and more custom-designed apparel. Specialty Services is also now a walk-in activity booking center offering information and reservations for any activity or service in Crested Butte, including rentals of townie bikes, SUPs and four-wheelers. It’s networked with other companies that provide these services. “If you want someone to teach you how to rock climb, fly fish, or you want rafting, jeep touring, mountain biking and hiking, it’s a one-stop shop,” Anthony says. It’s all part of his changing milieu.
One thing that never seems to change is Anthony’s love of the outdoors and the opportunity for the lifestyle that Crested Butte offers. “And the people,” he grins, “the amazing, interesting people that live in this town… the talented, quirky weirdoes. I’m always meeting new people who live here that I’ve never met before. I don’t want to go to a regular town and be with regular people. The day I decided to spend the rest of my life here I was racing the Alley Loop 42k and it just hit me that there was nowhere else I could go that would be like this, there is nowhere else for me. This is pretty much paradise.”

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