“The signs are turning”
The Gunnison Board of County Commissioners gave its blessing to the concept of Crested Butte Mountain Resort’s plans to expand into the area dubbed Teo 2, along with the rest of the resort’s Master Development Plan (MDP), at a meeting on Tuesday, November 18.
During a brief presentation of the MDP, CBMR director of planning John Sale told the commissioners the plan looks at all of the development activities within the resort’s Forest Service permit boundary over the next decade, summer and winter.
In order to develop new terrain in the Teocalli drainage, Sale explained, the permit boundary would need to be extended to include an additional 440 acres, of which 118 would become developed terrain and another 200 acres would be undeveloped terrain.
Sale ran through the list of upgrades the mountain would see during the development, if the Forest Service accepts the MDP. Each of those upgrades would still need to be reviewed and approved individually during the process, he said.
CBMR vice president and general manager Ethan Mueller explained that the motivation for the expansion was to bring new people to the mountain, and part of that is building excitement through a phased project.
“It’s important to continually create that energy, so there’s always something new coming down the pipe for the customer, to keep that energy high,” he said.
Mueller said he was hoping to start the MDP process with the Forest Service as soon as possible, adding that preliminary conversations with stakeholders have been positive.
“There’s still a lot to do,” Mueller said, “but the signs are pointing in the right direction. This is a different resort from our other resorts back east. It’s more challenging for the market to react here … Here we have to be more aligned as a county to make sure that growth does come.
“We don’t want to do a project like this for just our existing customers. This isn’t something just to improve upon the experience. It needs to drive more visitation to the resort,” Mueller continued. “So the signs are turning. The economy is improving. Some of the things you guys are doing on the [Tourism Association], I commend you guys on that. That was encouraging to me to know you guys are trying to focus those dollars even more, because it’s going to take those things.”
With that said, Mueller said he hoped to have the plan in motion in the next two to four years. The commissioners voted unanimously to approve a resolution in support of the concept of the plans.