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New Year’s questions and an answer or two

A New Year is upon us.

Welcome to 2018.

Some questions for the next 365 days (and beyond):

Will Crested Butte ever be able to go back to the point where a lift op, waitron, teacher or nurse can buy a free market house in town? Could we even go back to the point where all four of those people could combine their salaries and buy a condo in town? Or have we tipped over the top of “moneyed resort world” and aside from deed-restricted units, fatter trust funds or big-city suburban-type apartment projects, Crested Butte South will be the “locals’” place of the future? Probably. Is that bad or is it more in the line of It Is What It Is?

Why did the bikes placed in a tree by the Silver Queen’s Tower 20 this fall get taken down this December? They seemed pretty cool and uniquely “Crested Butte funky.” Here is the answer from Crested Butte Mountain Resort’s Erica Mueller: “We operate on the USFS land under a Special Use Permit. Within that agreement it is our responsibility to be stewards of these public lands and that includes removing non-native objects. This is also why we don’t encourage people throwing beads in trees, but as you can imagine beads are much more difficult to remove all over the mountain. If someone wants to install something, more permanent, on the National Forest, they need to go through the proper channels with the District office and get approval, then work with us as permit holders for further approval and installation. While some believe the bikes were like art and should remain, there are also others who believe this is defacing our natural environment. So either way, we get complaints…

Do you cash out the house on Sopris Avenue and the college fund for CU and buy Bitcoin? What the heck is a Bitcoin really anyway?

With the Gunnison County sheriff bringing new deputies up to the north end of the valley and the Mt. Crested Butte Police Department keeping the force at the current level, can we get any more cops up here? Between Crested Butte, Mt. Crested Butte, Gunnison County deputies, and the Colorado Highway Patrol we may be the most protected population on the Western Slope. (Really think about that after your last New Year’s Eve cocktail). One law enforcement officer per family or two seems about right—so remember to pick your personal cop and buy him or her a (off-duty) drink.

Speaking of numbers, can we get any more people on the 13 acres at the corner of Brush Creek Road and Highway 135 or is 700 it? If 700 people keep the place special, 900 should take it off the “magical” chart. If some of them work at night, and others are spending hours walking to work on the Deli trail, they won’t all be there at the same time anyway. And the fact that the entire nearby neighborhood is full of giant buildings with hundreds of people living there now so we don’t have to worry about setting new precedents or changing character or anything isn’t a concern. Why would any developer going through the county review process use a similar template when making density arguments anywhere else in the county in the future? I mean, what can go wrong when the focus is to do anything to try to solve one issue without deeply considering the balance of all the other issues? There won’t be any unintended consequences, right? Can I lose some of my cynicism on this proposal?

Will it snow enough to get the Headwall and Phoenix Bowl open this season? Let’s hope so, soon…

Will Mt. Crested Butte councilmembers push to use some of the acreage it controls in town as an alternative for affordable housing with the simple idea that hundreds of workers living within the town boundaries will not only provide legitimate easy access (pedestrian and bus) for workers to get to a lot of the jobs in the north end of the valley but would also provide an economic base to revitalize and bring vibrancy to its business zone. I’m confident there is such potential given the changing attitude toward workforce housing….

Could the snowmakers have done any better job to start this season in one of the leanest snow Decembers in decades? Doubtful. Great work by those guys.

Is it worth expanding the Crested Butte Conservation Corps and Mountain Manners teams to help ease the pressure of backcountry issues in the summer? The Forest Service is looking at the National Forest Foundation for some assistance and the county is open to using the Tourism Association for some different avenues so there is potential—and Lord knows, it is still needed.

Will 2018 be the year that CBMR spends the $24 per seat to make the chairlift chairs look like they belong in a resort and not a 1967 Chevy Impala that sat in the rain with the windows down? Or should we all just chip in with a roll of duct tape and do it ourselves while riding up the Queen between stops?

Or is the Queen not stopping this year? I haven’t yet been on a 10 or 15 minute hanger this season but have gotten plenty of texts, emails and calls from people who have. Think of it as part of our brand—extreme lift riding? If you don’t think that’s true, ask the people who were told to walk back up from the Teo lift line to the Paradise Lift the day after Christmas, when the Teocalli Lift went down for a long period of time.

Will this new Crested Butte Town Council with a, shall we say, less new—I mean, experienced—mayor implement something that takes the town into a productive future while keeping the community real?

Will the new Crested Butte Center for the Arts provide one more dimension to a growing arts community that complements the outdoor attributes of the community? And who doesn’t like the evening light show on Big Blue’s great wall?

With all the issues facing this valley, are we still not among the world’s most fortunate people to be able to live or visit this incredible place and access all that it has to offer? Yes.

Happy New Year, everyone.

—Mark Reaman

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