First things first…Despite my offer in last week’s paper, Mark Walter did not call me to take advantage of the opportunity to lay out his real estate plans in the valley as he buys up a bunch of commercial property. I did hear from a couple of people in the real estate business who felt I went overboard to put out there how much money he had and how much money he made in the market over a couple days. Fair. I also heard from some people, mainly mid-timers, who appreciated the editorial and assessment of where the old mining town, now high-end ski resort, is heading. I trust that what I’ve heard about Mr. Walter…that he’s a good down-to-earth guy who loves what this place is and what it represents, is true. And that’s good news. Community attitude still matters. CB may not be what it was but it’s still pretty good. It is what it is.
It was soooooo good for CBMR to get the Extreme Limits open this past week. A foot of fresh brightened up the steeps, the local attitudes and drew hundreds of people to the thing this ski mountain is most known for. Telly got tapped thousands of times at the North Face Lift and despite the look of the lines, the spacing made them actually move pretty quickly.
I figured just getting to the terrain would be a mental health boost and it was — but just as important was the fact the skiing was surprisingly good given the lean snowfall this year. A big shout-out to the packers, the patrol and everyone else in mountain ops that worked hard in a difficult snow season to open up the goods. Skiing around on a blustery Sunday, it was evident by the sound of bombs on the front side that they aren’t stopping. Peel, Forest and more on the West Side opened Tuesday as well. Yeah, there are rocks but if you’ve skied here any time at all, you know what to expect and understand ski tuning is a part of the package.
I can’t help but note the clock at the Four-Way that rarely has the right time. I love that old-school Crested Butte attitude. Yeah, it might be 10 o’clock and the bus should be coming, or it might really be 10:06 and the bus is already powering up the mountain. It doesn’t matter that much since there is (almost) always another bus coming in 15 minutes or less. Sit back, enjoy the bench, breath in some good high mountain attitude and know you’ll get up there safely and eventually.
Speaking of attitude, it appears most people are continuing to wear facemasks on Elk Avenue, on the buses and while waiting in line at the chairlifts. People seem to have an accepting attitude toward the intrusive measures recommended to ward off the coronavirus transmission and it continues to work here. Yeah, we all want to be back to a normal time when we could stand closer together, share a beer and listen to live music elbow-to-elbow but that ain’t happening any time soon. And if that weird variant virus explodes, it really won’t be soon. But this county continues to shine. Vaccines are up, the number of positive cases down (compared to other ski communities) and hospitalizations here are almost non-existent. We’ve been both lucky and good and I’m glad we are keeping it up to give our business-owning neighbors a chance to make a living while providing us all a chance at a sliver of normalcy found through making the effort to show respect for one another.
I was listening to the radio news Tuesday and the debate between politicians and union reps across the country was about the danger of having kids back in classrooms. Well Tuesday marked the 100th day of school for the children of this high mountain village and as principal Sally Hensley reminded me in an email: “Every last one of them have been In Person!” Heck ya! It goes to the spirit and attitude of this place and is absolutely fantastic.
And how good was it to have an actual live event in town? Crested Butte Nordic, which did such an outstanding job when this COVID-19 came roaring through the valley last winter and spring, stepped up huge again this past weekend when they organized a real life outdoor ski race. It wasn’t as big as recent years but just the fact that animals and cartoon characters were zipping around Crested Butte on skinny skis was a blessing.
Yeah – it’s not what it was…but it’s still better — and still different — from most places. That is indeed a blessing.