“We’re cautiously optimistic”
[ By Kendra Walker ]
Anticipating an influx of visitors coming for the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend, especially those driving from the Front Range, the town of Mt. Crested Butte is working with Crested Butte Mountain Resort and Mountain Express to accommodate the larger amount of vehicle traffic headed to the mountain.
“We’re cautiously optimistic that we won’t need any extra parking based on what we saw over the holiday,” said Mt. Crested Butte interim town manager Carlos Velado. Even with the high-volume of visitors during the Christmas and New Year’s holiday weeks, Velado said that CBMR’s paid lot and the town’s free Snowmass and Rasta lots were able to accommodate the driving crowds.
“We are busy and our lots are packed, but CBMR is doing an excellent job of parking their lot efficiently,” he said. “At the busiest day over the holidays we still had about 30 spaces to spare in the pay lot.”
However, the town does expect more of a drive market coming this weekend and has a contingency plan in place should parking overflow. The Mt. CB Town Hall parking lot will serve as an overflow site, as well as the parking area in front of Winterset Drive, where the town campground used to be located. About 30 additional parking spaces will be supplied through those two locations, said Velado.
Those extra lots are located on the Mountain Express Snodgrass southbound route that will take visitors to Mountaineer Square. Mountain Express will also be available on call to run extra buses and more frequently if needed, said Velado. He noted that the Snodgrass route has experienced low ridership numbers so far this season, so the hope is the parking overflow won’t put too much pressure on those bus capacities.
Velado explained that historically the town has allowed ski parking overflow to spill onto Emmons Road, but the town would like to steer away from that option moving forward. The town is still working with CBMR and Mountain Express to explore additional parking solutions for Presidents’ Day weekend and the remainder of the season.
As for accommodating the crowds on the mountain itself, CBMR senior communications specialist Will Shoemaker said that there are still ski reservations available for this weekend (as of press time). The mountain is currently operating 13 lifts with 93 trails open across 896 acres. The North Face Lift and High Lift are still closed.
“Our Mountain Operations team worked hard during the early season to open as much terrain and as many lifts as possible, weather and conditions permitting,” said Shoemaker. “It’s now up to Mother Nature to deliver more natural snow so that we can open additional terrain. Think snowy thoughts!”
Shoemaker continued, “Snow surfaces are incredible, thanks to the hard work of our grooming team in keeping the snow in great condition. It’s going to be a fun weekend to come out and ski, ride and enjoy the outdoors. We simply remind guests to make sure they have their pass holder reservation or lift ticket as well as a face mask before arriving at the base area.”
Reservation availability can be viewed here: https://www.epicpass.com/plan-your-trip/lift-access/check-availability