Friday, September 18, 2020

Search Results for: resort town life

Profile: Moss Wagner

Take the long way home

by Dawne Belloise

He was a wandering hippie who was part of the free-spirited generation and attended Woodstock, and Moss Wagner’s home is cozy with everything in its place and notably, an entire wall of floor-to-ceiling shelves with an impressive collection of music, from vinyl albums and cassette tapes to CDs and digital mastering DJ equipment.

photo by Lydia Stern

There are vintage psychedelic concert posters, magazine articles and photos on the walls that reflaect his almost seven decades of life lived to its fullest and complement the expansive views out his mountain condo windows.

Moss has taken the long and winding road to arrive here, creating the life he enjoys in a place that he loves, and seemingly light years away from the start of his journey on the shores of the Delaware River in a small town in New Jersey.

Living on the banks of a constantly flowing river is an adventurous world for a growing kid and Moss remembers spending his days swimming, boating and watching the big ships go by.

“It was a great little town to grow up in,” he says of its quiet and safe environment. “Now I think it would be boring because I’ve lived in resort towns for 40 years where there’s so much going on.”

Moss excelled in gymnastics throughout high school and excelled on the side horse, now called the pommel horse, taking the New Jersey state championship in his senior year of 1965.

When Atlantic City featured the same musical line-up as Woodstock, Moss trotted off to attend, hitting Woodstock’s three days of peace, love and understanding two weeks later. As it was for many of that generation, the experience was life altering.

“It was a mind-blowing thing and we had gotten there so early so we already had tickets. We set up the tent and wandered around, catching the show from a distance and soaking up the love.”

Despite all the turning on and tuning out that was going on then, Moss received a scholarship from Temple University in Philadelphia for his nationally ranked gymnastics talent. He graduated in 1969 with a degree in education. Unsure of what he wanted to do for a lifetime career, but knowing that he liked kids, he taught for a Head Start program and physical education for a couple of years in Philly.

In 1972, he and his girlfriend decided to travel around the world, which was indeed a hippie thing to do, especially hitting all the trendy destinations at the time: Europe, Amsterdam, and at the top of the list, Morocco and India. So the couple set out for Morocco.

They were told that if they entered the country through Spain, he might have to cut his hair. “Hippies don’t like that,” Moss chuckles, “so we went around to the south border.”

Tourist extortion was somewhat prevalent and Moss was forced to pay their hired cab driver double the agreed-upon price, then had to spend the night sleeping in an alley, waiting for daylight before an attempted border crossing from the Spanish Sahara into Morocco. They rode all night on top of a large truck with many other passengers but as indefatigable youth, Moss recalls only the stunning colors of an exotic, strange land.

“It was a beautiful, gorgeous sunset. We stopped in the middle of nowhere to take meals and just outside of Tan-Tan, the driver dumped all the passengers off to walk the rest of the way to town,” he said of the carrier who was also a smuggler, probably using his load of people as a front for whatever he was illegally transporting.

The couple walked into the tiny village at 1 a.m. and discovered that the popular cheap hotel, where young travelers stayed, had no vacancy. “So we wandered around; it was a beautiful night with all these noises, donkeys braying and growling wild dogs in the distance. We slept in a dry riverbed since the sun was going to come up soon. The next day, after getting our passports stamped, we moved up the coast hitting Tunisia and Algiers.”

Moss and his girl traveled for six months, returning to the United States to work in order to get more funds to travel. The wanderlust bug had bitten hard and in 1974 they took off for India and Nepal.

“The fashionable place everyone was going during the holidays, especially New Year’s Eve, was Goa. It was great and it was a nude beach,” Moss says.

Or so he thought, but as he was soaking up the sun, snoozing in the hot sand, Moss awoke to his feet being kicked and a circle of police surrounding him. He and four of his friends were arrested for nudity and hauled off to jail. All five men and women were thrown into the same cell, a cement room with a rebar gate, where, despite the sparse amenities, they were fed excellent curry.

Held overnight, the group missed the big New Year’s Eve beach bash and the next day the police hustled the offending five into a cab for court. The judge wasn’t amused with their loose mores and fined them ten rupees each, which was the equivalent of $1.30, finally threatening them with prison if they ever shed their clothes in public again.

Moss left the idyllic, never-nude beach town of Goa and traveled around the rest of India before trekking to Nepal.

Moss liked Nepal since it wasn’t crowded like India. He hung out in the din of Kathmandu, inhaling its clamor and determined to find original wall hangings, not the cheap, common tourist ones, but the real deal.

In Moss’ quest, he met an Italian who connected him with His Holiness the Chine Lama, the high Buddhist lama of China, who was run out of his country the same time the Dalai Lama was exiled from Tibet. The Chine Lama was the pope and caretaker of the Boudhanath stupa and he happened to have piles and piles of fine, handmade silk wall hangings.

His Holiness reached into one of the large layers of silk and extracted the perfect wall hanging, handing it to Moss. It was exactly what he had in mind, a collage of richly colored brown, silver and grey silk, a detailed story, brushed and sewn with intricate stitches of embroidered figures and symbols. It still hangs on his wall today.

After roaming the Himalayas and traveling for three months, Moss returned to his home in Delaware, where he opened the Bethany Beach Ice Cream Parlor, a successful, but seasonal, business.

“I just fell into it. I liked ice cream, I guess,” he grins, pulling out several magazines with articles and photos featuring the business, including a line in National Geographic that claimed the parlor “dominates summer nightlife.”

Besides serving up ice cream, Moss was politically active as vice mayor of Bethany Beach and was on its town council. He worked to get surfing, once outlawed, legalized. “They didn’t like surfers,” he recalled. He also fought for the use of absentee ballots for local elections.

When Hurricane Gloria tore through, the mayor skipped town and the responsibility of evacuation was hoisted onto Moss. “When it started getting really bad, everyone left except one old lady who was finally convinced to leave with the emergency crew.”

The hurricane destroyed their beachside boardwalk and Moss took charge to ensure its reconstruction. He and a few other locals started the Fourth of July parade since there wasn’t one and in 1987, Moss inaugurated the Bethany Beach Jazz Funeral for the end of summer, celebrated on Labor Day when summer business officially died for the tourist town. He donned robes and the title of the “Not Too Grim Reaper,” a character similar to his Crepitus, the Grump Advocate, a leper sort of guy Moss created who tries unsuccessfully every year to argue in favor of not burning the Grump.

In the winter of 1994, Moss’ sense for adventure fired back up when he decided he wanted to live in a small mountain ski town, and his résumés flew out with the mail. He had attended the Cayce School of Massotherapy in Virginia Beach a few years earlier, with the forethought of finding massage work in a Crested Butte.

Bill and Jennifer Rose, who were going to India, needed someone to cover their massage clients while they were gone, and his ice cream parlor was closing for the winter, so at summer’s end, Moss packed up and came west. “I had a job and a place to live and at that point, I started thinking about what I needed to do to move here permanently. I still had my ice cream business back in Delaware and I ran it through the summer of ‘95,” after which, he sold out of the East Coast life, trading it in for permanent residency in Crested Butte.

Moss started his own outcall massage business that year, mostly working through hotels, and that evolved into gigs at the Crested Butte Club on the mountain and later, the Sheridan and Club Med. Club Med operated from 2000 through 2006, and in Moss’ opinion, “It was a great, juicy gig that brought big bucks. It was exciting; you got to meet a lot of interesting people. President Carter and his family were my clients, and world ski champ Johnny Mosely.”

Moss continues to massage aches, pains and woes from his clients now at Sea Level Spa on Elk Avenue.

When Club Med left, Moss needed more work so he signed on to Mountain Express as a bus driver in 2006, and he now proudly sports the decorated 10-year service pin.

If you didn’t know Moss from his diverse talents and characters, you’d probably recognize his voice as a KBUT deejay since he’s been spinning the tables for almost 20 years. In his first three years with the station he had an oldies show called “Classics from the Golden Vault,” featuring R & B and do-wop from the 1950s and ’60s. Now he does intricate production shows that include music, spoken word, comedy, rockumentaries and documentaries.

When Moss first moved here it was Vinotok weekend, “Our great local celebration that’s distinctly Crested Butte in nature, and that was my first impression of the town. I thought, wow, I picked a good town to move to sight-unseen. I wanted to be part of it. I originally started out as a torchbearer but I didn’t think the Grump was getting a fair trial. It was a kangaroo court, so I created the Grump Advocate character. I did the makeup, costume and wrote all my lines. I wanted to be the defender of the Grump. It goes back to my days in Delaware of defending the surfer,” he laughs, and his Crepitus, Defender of the Great Grump is now an integral part of the Vinotok event.

As the snow falls on this epic season, Moss marks his 23rd winter here. “I’m getting too old for world traveling now. I ended up here,” he says happily, “but where else could I go that would be better, where I have things to do, I know people and I’ve got a job and a place to live, I get to do my radio shows and Vinotok?” he shines with gratitude. “I’m still pretty much a recluse, which is a title the Crested Butte News gave me in an April Fool’s issue one year. It’s an honor to get lampooned, it means you’re somebody around town!” he laughs with the knowledge that his many journeys have landed him exactly where he’s supposed to be.

Getting rid of Mt. CB snow a big challenge in Pitchfork

January storms highlight snow removal challenges

By Alissa Johnson

Snowmageddon 2017 continues to keep snow removal crews busy across the Gunnison Valley, but in Mt. Crested Butte, it highlighted a couple of areas that will require some problem solving. Snow removal in Pitchfork and parking in the base area have both stood out as potential issues.

At a January Mt. Crested Butte council meeting, town manager Joe Fitzpatrick informed the council that town staff had put in 169 hours of overtime in two weeks to keep up with snow removal; 49.5 overtime hours were put in by the maintenance supervisor, Bobby Block.

“It’s important when we talk about what goes on to note that the town’s responsibility is life safety and keeping the roads open. We had a high percentage of our roads that were completely open with two lanes, but some were getting down to one lane,” Fitzpatrick explained.

During the height of the storm, Fitzpatrick and Block prioritized every road in town in terms of what needed to be widened and what could wait. They prioritized routes for Mountain Express as well as the school bus, and also placed  an emphasis on keeping roads wide enough for emergency services. As a result, by the Tuesday after the storm, a few roads, such as the upper part of Gold Link, were still pretty narrow.

“But there are just a couple of houses, no other traffic and it’s a dead-end road. It is passable, and fire and police can get there without a problem,” Fitzpatrick said.

The biggest challenge, he noted, had been encountered in Pitchfork. Fitzpatrick read part of the plat for the subdivision: “However, homeowners and/or occupants of Pitchfork will be subject to difficult living situations during periods of significant snowfall. For example, cars parked adjacent to the road will be plowed in and driveways will be blocked by snow banks caused by a plow.”

“If it was just as simple as blocked driveways, it would be okay,” Fitzpatrick said. “But because people don’t clean out where they park their cars, which is private property [and] not right of way, the cars creep out into the right of way, which narrows the road.”

As a result, there were times when getting a fire truck into the subdivision would have been very difficult. In addition, Fitzpatrick noted that the manger of Pitchfork was using town right of way for private snow storage.

“I would like to thank Wayne Meredith, who allowed us to blow snow over the fence, but there is a conflict in the way Pitchfork is being managed…” Fitzpatrick said. “When we need space for right of way snow, we don’t have it, and during a storm cycle like that, it’s not possible to haul snow out of there. We just don’t have the man power and we only have one truck, so it goes pretty slow.”

By the day of the meeting, January 17, the town had already hauled 175 loads of snow out of the subdivision. That in turn raised questions about where to put the snow. Currently, the town stores that snow at the site of the future Mt. Crested Butte Performing Arts Center at the north end of the base area parking lot. It also sometimes hauls snow from the Evergreen Redstone building and the roof of the Three Seasons building.

Block pointed out that Crested Butte Mountain Resort also stores snow there from the hour-and-a-half parking lot. According to Fitzpatrick, that raises questions about not only future snow storage but also overflow parking. He noted that the previous Saturday, at least 100 cars were turned away and sent to the parking lot at the Crested Butte Community School.

“We have a parking issue because this resort has changed in its makeup. We are now bringing Front Range folks here, and they come in cars. We’re not used to so many vehicles, so parking is going to be an issue, especially as we build out the base area,” Fitzpatrick said.

There was little council discussion of the issues.

Community calendar Thursday, January 19–Wednesday, January 25

THURSDAY 19
• 7 a.m. Core Class at The Gym. 349-2588.
• 8 a.m. Ecumenical Meditation at UCC.
• 8:30 a.m. Women’s book discussion group at UCC.
• 8:45 a.m. Indoor Biking at The Gym. 349-2588.
• 8:45-10 a.m. Vinyasa at Yoga For The Peaceful.
• 8:45-10 a.m. Vinyasa Flow / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Gunnison County Branch Office is open at the Crested Butte Town Offices.
• 10 a.m. Learn To Skate Ski for free at Crested Butte Nordic. 349-1707. (first Thursday of each month, by reservation only)
• 10 a.m. Mothering Support Group at Oh Be Joyful Church. (Last Thursday of every month)
• 10:30-11:45 a.m. Yoga Basics at Yoga For The Peaceful.
• 11:30 p.m. Duplicate Bridge at UCC. 349-1008.
• noon All Saints in the Mountain Episcopal Church Community Healing Service at Queen of All Saints Catholic Church. 349-9371.
• noon-1 p.m. BUTI Yoga / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 12:30-1:30 p.m. Intro to Prana Vinyasa Level 1 with Monica at Yoga For The
Peaceful.
• 4-5:30 p.m. St. Mary’s Garage, a free thrift store. 300 Belleview, Unit 2, on the south end of 3rd Street. 970-318-6826.
• 4:30-6 p.m. Crested Butte Community Food Bank open at Oh Be Joyful Church. (First and third Thursday of every month)
• 5:30 p.m. Communion Service at Queen of All Saints Catholic Church.
• 5:30-6:45 p.m. Lunar Prana Vinyasa Level Open with Jackie at Yoga For The
Peaceful.
• 5:30-7:30 p.m. Calligraphy at the Art Studio of the Center for the Arts. 349-7044. (runs through February 2)
• 5:45 p.m. Cardio Dance Class at The Gym. 349-2588.
• 5:45-7 p.m. Evening Flow / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 6:30 p.m. AA Open Meditation at UCC.
• 7 p.m. Women Supporting Women Group Discussion at the Nordic Inn.
• 7:30 p.m. Narcotics Anonymous meets at 114 N. Wisconsin St. in Gunnison.

FRIDAY 20
• 6:30 a.m. All Levels Iyengar Yoga Class at The Gym. 349-2588.
• 7:30 a.m. Barre Class at The Gym. 349-2588.
• 8:30 a.m. Alanon at UCC Parlour (in back). 349-6482.
• 8:45 a.m. Core Power Yoga Class at the Pump Room.
• 8:45-10 a.m. Yoga for the Flexibly Challenged / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 9-10:30 a.m. Solar Prana Vinyasa Level 2/3 with Stacey at Yoga For The Peaceful.
• 9 a.m.-noon Open Clay Workshops at the Art Studio of the Center for the Arts. 349-7044. (runs through March 31)
• noon Closed AA at UCC.
• noon-1 p.m. Vinyasa Flow / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• noon-1:15 p.m. Restorative Yoga at Yoga For The Peaceful.
• 1 p.m. Art group meets at the Senior Center. 641-4529.
• 4:30-5:30 p.m. Aprés Ski Yoga Level Open at Yoga For The Peaceful.
• 5:15-6:15 p.m. Freestyle Flow / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 5:30 p.m. Communion Service at Queen of All Saints Catholic Church.
• 6-7 p.m. Poi Playshop at the Pump Room.

SATURDAY 21
• 7-8:15 a.m. Ashtanga Level 2/3 with Joe at Yoga For The Peaceful.
• 7:30 a.m. Open AA at UCC.
• 7:45 a.m. Weights and Indoor Cycling Class at The Gym. 349-2588.
• 8:45-10 a.m. Solar Prana Vinyasa Level 2 with Jackie at Yoga For The Peaceful.
• 9-10 a.m. Core Power / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 9-10:30 a.m. Community Yoga at the Sanctuary Yoga & Pilates Studio, Gunnison.
• 9 a.m.-noon Open Sewing Workshops at the Art Studio of the Center for the Arts. 349-7044. (runs through April 1)
• 10-11 a.m. Hip Hop Community Dance Class at the Pump Room (above Fire House on 3rd & Maroon). 415-225-5300.
• 10:30-11:45 a.m. Slow Flow at Yoga For The Peaceful.
• 10:30 a.m.-5 p.m. St. Mary’s Garage, a free thrift store. 300 Belleview, Unit 2, on the south end of 3rd Street. 970-318-6826.
• 11 a.m. Narcotics Anonymous meeting at 114 Wisconsin Street. 970-201-1133.
• 1-4 p.m. Monthly Watercolor Workshops at the Art Studio of the Center for the Arts. 349-7044.
• 6:30-7:30 p.m. Guided Sound Meditiation at 405 4th Street.

SUNDAY 22
• 7-8 a.m. Meditation at Yoga For The Peaceful, by donation.
• 8:30 a.m. Mass at Queen of All Saints Catholic Church.
• 9 a.m. Worship Service at Oh-Be-Joyful Church.
• 9 a.m. Worship Service at Union Congretional Church. 349-6405.
• 9-10:15 a.m. Slow Flow at Yoga For The Peaceful.
• 9:30-11 a.m. Free Class / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Backcountry Bistro at Magic Meadows yurt on the Nordic trail system. Trail pass required. www.cbnordic.org. (runs through March 26)
• 4-5:15 p.m. CBCYC Community Book Club at 405 4th Street.
• 5-6 p.m. All Saints in the Mountain Episcopal Eucharist at Queen of All Saints Catholic Church. 349-9371.
• 5-7 p.m. Pick-up Adult Basketball. HS Gym, CBCS.
• 5:30-7 p.m. Restorative Yoga at Yoga For The Peaceful.
• 6 p.m. AA meets at UCC.
• 6:30 p.m. Duplicate Bridge at UCC. 349-1008.
• 7 p.m. Gamblers Anonymous meets at the Last Resort.

MONDAY 23
• 7 a.m. Barre Class at The Gym. 349-2588.
• 8:45 a.m. Pilates at The Gym. 349-2588.
• 8:45-10 a.m. Vinyasa Flow / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 9-10:30 a.m. Lunar Prana Vinyasa Level 2/3 with Jackie at Yoga For the Peaceful.
• 10:15-11:45 a.m. Hatha Yoga / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• noon-1 p.m. Yoga Basics at Yoga For The Peaceful.
• noon-1 p.m. Lunch Break Therapeutic Yoga / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 12:45 p.m. Bridge at the Senior Center. 641-4529.
• 4-7:30 p.m. Tang Soo Do classes for children and adults with West Elk Martial Arts, Jerry’s Gym at Town Hall. 901-7417.
• 5 p.m. Mothering Support Group at the GVH Education House, 300 East Denver St. (First Monday of every month)
• 5:15-6:15 p.m. Hatha Yoga / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 5:30 p.m. Communion Service at Queen of All Saints Catholic Church.
• 5:30-6:45 p.m. Yin Yoga Nidra at Yoga For The Peaceful.
• 5:30-7 p.m. Moms in Motion class at the GVH rehab gym.
• 5:30-7:30 p.m. Printmaking at the Art Studio of the Center for the Arts. 349-7044.
• 5:45 p.m. Ski Conditioning at The Gym. 349-2588.
• 6:15-6:45 p.m. Free Sound Meditation / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 6:30-8 p.m. Women’s Domestic Violence Support Group at Project Hope. Childcare available upon request. 641-2712.
• 7:30 p.m. Open AA at UCC. 349-5711.
• 7:30 p.m. Narcotics Anonymous meets at 114 N. Wisconsin St. in Gunnison.

TUESDAY 24
• 6-7 a.m. Meditation at Yoga For The Peaceful, by donation.
• 7 a.m. Core Class at The Gym. 349-2588.
• 7:30 a.m. AA/Alanon Open at UCC. 349-5711.
• 8:45 a.m. Indoor Biking at The Gym. 349-5288.
• 8:45-10 a.m. Vinyasa at Yoga for the Peaceful.
• 8:45-10 a.m. Vinyasa Flow / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Gunnison County branch office is open at the Crested Butte Town Offices, 507 Maroon Ave.
• 10:15-11:45 a.m. Hatha Yoga / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 10:30-11:45 a.m. Yoga Basics at Yoga for the Peaceful.
• 11:30 a.m. League of Women Voters meeting at 210 W. Spencer in Gunnison.
• noon AA Closed at UCC.
• noon-1 p.m. Ashtanga Vinyasa / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 12:30-1:30 p.m. Iyengar Yoga at Yoga For The Peaceful.
• 1:30-3:30 p.m. Tech Tuesdays at Old Rock Library. 349-6535.
• 4-5:30 p.m. St. Mary’s Garage, a free thrift store. 300 Belleview, Unit 2, on the south end of 3rd Street. 970-318-6826.
• 5:30 p.m. Communion Service at Queen of All Saints Church.
• 5:30-6:45 p.m. Slow Flow at Yoga For The Peaceful.
• 5:45 p.m. All Levels Iyengar Yoga Class at The Gym. 349-2588.
• 5:45-7 p.m. Gentle Restorative Yoga / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 6-8 p.m. Figure Drawing Sessions with a live model in Downtown Crested Butte.
349-7228.
• 7 p.m. Alanon meeting at the Last Resort.
• 7-8:30 p.m. Blessing Way Circle support group at Sopris Women’s Clinic. 720-217-3843.
• 7:15-8:15 p.m. Dharma Punx Meditation / CB Co-op at 405 6th Street.
• 7:45-9:45 p.m. Drop-in Adult Volleyball, CBCS MS Gym.

WEDNESDAY 25
• 6:30 a.m. All Levels Iyengar Yoga Class at The Gym. 349-2588.
• 7:30 a.m. The Crested Butte / Mt. Crested Butte Rotary Club breakfast meeting in the Shavano Conference Room at the Elevation Hotel.
• 8:45 a.m. Mat Mix at The Gym. 349-2588.
• 9-10:30 a.m. Solar Prana Vinyasa Level Open with Monica at Yoga For The Peaceful.
• 9:30 a.m. Mah Jong at the Senior Center. 641-4529.
• 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Two Buttes Senior Citizens van transportation. Roundtrip to Gunnison. Weather permitting. Call first for schedule and availability. 275-4768.
• 10:15-11:30 a.m. Forrest Yoga / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• noon Closed AA at UCC.
• noon-1 p.m. Power Yoga / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• noon-1 p.m. Prana Vinyasa Express Level 1/2 with Stacey at Yoga For The Peaceful.
• 1-2 p.m. Tai Chi at Town Hall. 349-7197.
• 4-7:30 p.m. Tang Soo Do classes for children and adults with West Elk Martial Arts, Jerry’s Gym at Town Hall. 901-7417.
• 5 p.m. Mass at Queen of All Saints Catholic Church.
• 5:15-6:15 p.m. Hatha Yoga / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 5:30 p.m. Prenatal Yoga class in Crested Butte South. 349-1209.
• 5:30-7:30 p.m. Ladies Art Nights – Hand Lettering at the Art Studio of the Center for the Arts. 349-7044.
• 5:45 p.m. Ski Conditioning at The Gym. 349-2588.
• 6-7:15 p.m. Slow Flow at Yoga For The Peaceful.
• 7-9 p.m. “GriefShare,” a grief recovery seminar and support group, meets at Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church, 711 N. Main St., Gunnison. 970-349-7769.
• 7:30 p.m. Alanon at UCC Parlour (in back). 349-6482.
• 8-9:30 p.m. Adult Indoor Soccer in the CBCS HS Gym. 349-7197.

Events & Entertainment

THURSDAY 19
Gunnison State Driver License Office closed for employee training.
• 6 p.m. Colorado Parks and Wildlife discusses the baiting program for deer and elk at the Fred Field Building at the county fairgrounds, 275 S. Spruce.
• 6-9 p.m. Beads & Bubbly AND Series Event with instructor Jodee Costello in the Main Gallery at the Gunnison Arts Center. 641-4059.
• 7 p.m. Crested Butte Film Festival Monthly Film Series: The Eagle Huntress at the Center for the Arts. 303-204-9080.
• 7-10 p.m. Late Night Study Hours for CBCS high school students at the Crested Butte Library.
• 8 p.m. Ladies Night at the Red Room.

FRIDAY 20
• noon Inaugural Un-Celebration meets with the regular Friday Peace Group at the Oddfellows Park, corner of North Main and Virginia.
• 6 p.m. Crested Butte Film Festival Monthly Film Series: The Eagle Huntress at the Center for the Arts. 303-204-9080.
• 10 p.m. Great Blue plays at the Eldo.

SATURDAY 21
• 3 p.m. Women’s March on Crested Butte, meet at the Chamber building at the Four-way Stop.
• 3:30-5 p.m. CB Unplugged: Kyle Park plays at Butte 66.
• 5-6 p.m. Silence in Solidarity at Yoga For The Peaceful.
• 8 p.m. Kyle Hollingsworth Band plays at the Center for the Arts.
• 7:30 p.m. Gunnison Arts Center Concert Series: Gypsy Jazz Social Club plays in the Black Box Theatre.
• 10 p.m. Head for the Hills plays at the Eldo.

SunDAY 22
• 12:30 p.m. Butte Banked Slalom presented by Burton at CBMR.
• 3-5 p.m. Choice Pass Dinner discusses internet safety at the CBCS Multipurpose Room. 641-7612.

MONDAY 23
• noon Lunch Beat at the Crested Butte Library.
• 5:30 p.m. The Financial Literacy Program discusses Goal Setting and Financial Planning at the CB South POA Building. 349-6535.
• 6-8 p.m. Choice Pass Dinner discusses internet safety at the Fred Field Center in Gunnison. 641-7612.

TUESDAY 24
• 7 p.m. Discussion of Waiting For Lefty at the Crested Butte Library. 349-6535.
• 7-9 p.m. Ka’imi Hanano’eau plays at the Eldo.

WEDNESDAY 25
• 6:30-9 a.m. GVH Early Blood Draws at Queen of All Saints Parish Hall. 642-8418.
• 5:15 p.m. gO SkiMo Race Series, start at the base area of CBMR.
• 7 p.m. Coloring and Conversation at the Crested Butte Library. 349-6535.

Kid’s Calendar

THURSDAY 19
• 9 a.m. Munchkin’s Music & Dance Class in the High Attitude Dance Academy in Gunnison.
• 10-11:30 a.m. Tumblebugs in Jerry’s Gym in Town Hall, Ages 4 & Under, 349-7197.

FRIDAY 20
• 11 a.m. Big Kids Storytime for ages 3 and up at the Crested Butte Library.
• 3:45-5:15 p.m. Trailhead After School – Advanced Art Drawing Skills at The Art Studio. 349-7160. (runs through March 10)
• 4-5 p.m. Tang Soo Do Martial Arts classes for youth with West Elk Martial Arts, Town Hall Fitness Room. 901-7417.

SATURDAY 21
• 1:45-3:45 p.m. Crested Butte Book Binders at the Crested Butte Library for ages 9-13 years old. (every 2nd and 4th Saturday)

MONDAY 23
• 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. CBCS community workshops for Kindergarten through sixth grade.
• 3:45-5 p.m. Messy Mondays for school aged kids at the Crested Butte Library. (kids younger than 8 must be accompanied by an adult)
• 3:45-5:15 p.m. Trailhead After School Semi-Private Wheel Throwing at The Art Studio. 349-7160. (runs through March 20)
• 4-7:30 p.m. Tang Soo Do classes for children and adults with West Elk Martial Arts, Jerry’s Gym at Town Hall. 901-7417.
• 4:15-5:15 p.m. Arting Around Afterschool Art at the Gunnison Arts Center, ages 6-12.
• 4:45 p.m. Tang Soo Do classes for juniors at Town Hall. 901-7417.

TUESDAY 24
• 9:30 a.m. Munchkin’s Music and Dance in the Community Room, downstairs at the Town Hall. 349-9639.
• 3:45-5 p.m. Tween Scene (ages 8-12) at the Crested Butte Library.

WEDNESDAY 25
• 9:30 a.m. Munchkin’s Music and Dance in the Community Room, downstairs at the Town Hall. 349-9639.
• 11 a.m. Baby & Toddler Literacy Time at the Crested Butte Library.
• 3:45-5:15 p.m. Trailhead After School Art and Play. 349-7160.(runs through March 15)
• 4-7:30 p.m. Tang Soo Do classes for children and adults with West Elk Martial Arts, Jerry’s Gym at Town Hall. 901-7417.
• 4:45 p.m. Tang Soo Do classes for juniors at Town Hall. 901-7417.

Now that feet and feet of snow have fallen—where does all of it go?

Hundreds of truckloads a week

by Mark Reaman

There is some snow out there in the valley. Everywhere. And if it isn’t moved, everything shuts down. The towns, the ski area, your life would all grind to a halt if the snow wasn’t hauled away from the driveways and the streets.

Every plow and snowblower that can has been working hard for two weeks. But what happens to the feet and feet of snow that is moved?

As one reader asked, “Where oh where does all the snow go?” One hint: You know that volcano that spews water on the Strip in Vegas? You probably skied this week on what could eventually be part of that Vegas spew.

The valley has seen larger overall amounts of snowfall in the past but this recent storm was consistent and wet. The moisture content was big. According to Upper Gunnison River Water Conservancy District general manager Frank Kugel, probably no one is surprised that this January storm has had a real impact on the basin’s water stock.

“January has been a particularly good month for our water supply,” Kugel confirmed. “We began the month with a projection of only 85 percent of normal Blue Mesa Reservoir inflows for April through July. This below-average inflow projection, despite heavy snow in December, was due to our very dry late summer and fall. Since January 1, the inflow projection has increased from 85 percent to 134 percent of normal. This year’s early bounty stacks up quite well compared to the big snow years in recent history—2008 and 2011.”

The Colorado Basin River Forecast Center tracks water content in the basins, and looking at the Butte and Schofield SNOTELS (the sites that measure area snowpack), this storm was not small. Kugel pointed out that based on the forecast center numbers, the pace of the current snowpack is ahead of the record snowpack year of 1995, which didn’t really begin its above-normal accumulation until mid-February.

When the snow comes so quickly, it has to be moved somewhere so people can get around. The town of Crested Butte’s main snow storage area is in the gravel pit south of the community school and at the big lot next to Rainbow Park. The town, along with six private contractors, hauls snow from the streets, alleys and driveways to the gravel pit.

“The last two weeks have been wild,” said Crested Butte Public Works director Rodney Due. “Everybody is scrambling. Our priority is the streets. We want to pull the snowpack and widen the streets. It was a ridiculous storm. We had crews working 24/7.”

Due said the town has hauled about 350 dump trucks full of snow just from Elk Avenue. Each truck carries about 12 cubic yards.

“Rainbow Park is almost full to capacity,” Due explained. “It’s really early in the season to be full over there. As for the gravel pit, we have had to hire private snowcats to push the snow back and enlarge the pit to make more room for snow.”

Due and town manager Dara MacDonald said they have appreciated everyone’s help when it comes to assisting the snow crews. People are trying to park on the correct side of the street at night and are understanding of the overall situation.

“We will be pulling up the snowpack on the streets this week at night and we know it is loud, but we hope people understand that once we pull the pack they get their street back,” said Due.

Snow is also keeping Mt. Crested Butte busy. Town manager Joe Fitzpatrick said that seven staff members have put in 169 hours of overtime in two weeks to deal with all the snow. The town typically has to haul snow out of Pitchfork at the entrance to town and sometimes from parts of Emmons Road, which it stores in the parking lot to the north of the Grand Lodge and parking structure, which will eventually become the home of the Biery-Witt Center.

“We have the advantage here of having more room to put snow, but have hauled 175 loads out of Pitchfork so far, not including today,” Fitzpatrick said on Tuesday. The limits of that area are being tested with this recent storm cycle.

“We suffer from not having another snow dump site right now,” Fitzpatrick said. He said the town used to store snow on land owned by the town next to Town Hall, but it created too many issues with debris, garbage and even noxious weeds.

Crested Butte Mountain Resort also deals in snow. While resort executives like keeping the snow on their trails, the company too has to haul a bunch away during these big storms. The parking areas by the Grand Lodge and the parking structure along with the walkways to the base of the ski lifts all accumulate so much snow that it could hamper customers getting to the skiable powder on Jokerville or Cesspool.

CBMR general manager Michael Kraatz said the resort hauls away just a fraction of the snow that is dealt with by Crested Butte and Mt. Crested Butte, but it is one thing the resort must deal with.

“Like everyone, we’ve had a hard time getting trucks to haul the snow away,” Kraatz said Monday. “But this is a good problem to have. Frankly, if we were in the opposite situation with no snow, that would be a much bigger problem.

“We finally have some trucks lined up for this week,” Kraatz continued. “Right now we are stockpiling the snow from the parking lot and the parking structure north of the buildings. To get the snow out of the area by the Treasury Center we can load it only between 5 and 8 a.m. It will probably take a few days to move it all and historically we have it hauled up to the North Village at the base of Snodgrass.”

Kraatz said the snow that is plowed in the main parking lot stays there. It is piled up on the edges of the lot.

Kugel points out that snow at a ski resort is compacted and can act as a reservoir of sorts. “The snowpack does act like a huge reservoir. Now, if only we had more control over that release valve,” he said. “CBMR has the added storage component of the snowmaking, which enhances the runoff season on the lower portions of Washington Gulch and the Slate River.”

So it appears we can expect a decent wildflower season up here this coming summer. Wet winters feed the colorful summers. Spring will bring an interesting runoff so homeowners might think flood insurance and sandbags now before it’s too late. And the boating in the rivers and on the lakes should be pretty decent throughout the valley.

Eventually most of this sweet winter snowpack will end up west and downstream of here. It will melt into the Slate and the East Rivers and flow into the Gunnison and Blue Mesa Reservoir. From there, it will head toward Montrose, where some of it will be used to raise crops. Some will wind up in Nevada, where you might drink it between Cirque du Soleil shows or dice rolls in Vegas. Some of the stuff you are skiing on this week could be used to water a golf course for Tommy Martin in Scottsdale, Arizona or could make the spring houseboat experience a bit higher at Lake Powell.

As for the short-term, “I don’t think we have any worries about having enough snow for the Alley Loop,” noted MacDonald.

CBMR and Western team up for local sustainability efforts

“They’re the anchor on that end, and we’re the anchor on this end”

by Crystal Kotowski

Transitioning from an historic mining town to a ski town, Crested Butte has taken pride in redefining itself. But when it comes to an environmental footprint, the ski industry’s boots are heavy. Crested Butte Mountain Resort is not immune, and while its report card is mixed when it comes to its environmental footprint, partnerships with Western State Colorado University could help the ski resort improve its score, further benefitting the community, environment and its bottom line.

Seeing opportunity

Western Masters in Environmental Management (MEM) professor Brooke Moran knew that several students in her ”Sustainability Coordinating and Consultingcourse were currently working for CBMR, had in the past, or had a recreation background. As such, Moran approached CBMR to forge a partnership and the resort agreed.

Four MEM students are setting out to create the first phase of a Sustainability Strategic Plan (SSP) for CBMR, which has been a stated company value for years. “They took a triple bottom-line approach, wherein they attended to three integrated areas of sustainability: social, environmental, and economic. Given the constraints of the semester, they couldn’t tackle all facets of an SSP, so they focused on the critical areas of energy efficiency, waste, employee engagement, and marketing and communications,” said Moran.

CBMR has a strategic plan, but the SSP, for which the MEM students laid the foundation, delves deeper into the nuances of environmental factors, Moran said.

Mixed report card

The Ski Area Citizens Coalition’s most recent report card for Crested Butte Mountain Resort gives them a ‘C’ ranking overall, with a ‘D’ in habitat protection, an ‘A’ in watershed protection, a ‘C’ in addressing climate change, and an ‘A” in environmental policies and practices.

The coalition rates all of the resorts in the United States for sustainability, based on 35 environmental criteria.

Thanks to the interest of WSCU’s MEM students, the resort now has new ways to look at its footprint, addressing some of the greatest challenges nearly all ski resorts face—from extensive water and energy use to fuel snowmaking, ski lifts, lodges, maintenance equipment and the thousands of water bottles that make their way from local groceries to the lodges, to habitat fragmentation from ski area expansion and communicating mindful environmental behavior to guests.

Internships, master’s projects and class projects have been the result, too, of professors and students looking up-valley for real-world learning experiences and impact.

“They’re the anchor on that end, and we’re the anchor on this end. Western brings a lot to the table as part of academia to give us a different perspective,” confirmed CBMR vice president Erica Mueller.

Greenhouse gas emissions 

Since 2008, CBMR has reduced its mountain operations greenhouse gas emissions by 39 percent resort wide; it attributes the reduction largely to energy-efficient equipment upgrades and energy conservation outreach efforts. This is CBMR’s second year utilizing an intern from Western to assess energy consumption and facility inefficiencies.

“We wanted to build on what the first intern had built, keeping the energy record updated and to measure trends. Rich Stromberg, our new intern, is looking at the facilities, especially at the base area at the different buildings, to get an assessment of where we’re using energy and how to become more efficient,” said CBMR director of planning Matt Feier. Stromberg has been working two days a week crunching numbers since November and will continue until March.

Feier confirmed that CBMR has talked with Gunnison County Electric Association about renewable energy, but it would rather leave proposal development to them. “We’re happy to be on board and ride that momentum; but we’re not in the business of producing solar energy,” said Feier.

“Our focus right now is how to be more efficient on the resort. We have a lot of room to improve with our older facilities,” Mueller added.

CBMR is looking into several grant opportunities, one of which would be an in-depth study of whether solar energy would pair well with standard lift operations. CBMR is also assessing the benefits of lighting upgrades. “I’ve done analysis on the timing and cost effectiveness—at what rate to invest in upgrades and at what time [staff is available] to do the switch-outs. There are different paybacks. We’ll look at costs to reduce heat loss, including pleated blinds, curtains, glass. Right now I’ve been working on getting the heat loads of the buildings. Then you start getting into more expensive things, like changing windows and insulation,” stated Stromberg.

Resort expansion and wildlife impacts

The Ski Area Citizens Coalition’s most severe rating for CBMR was for habitat protection, noting the expansion of real estate and lodging, and the ski area expansion’s potential impact on critical habitat.

As stated in its Master Development Plan adopted by the USFS in 2013, CBMR has proposed new summer and winter recreation developments within its permit boundary and expanding the permitted ski area boundary by 500 acres of forested habitat in the Teo-2 Bowl area. As ski resorts in Colorado are located on U.S. Forest Service land, an Environmental Impact Statement is being prepared.

“The interesting thing about the coalition is their poor grades for ski expansion; that’s directly correlated to CBMR here. The design plan is pretty considerate of wildlife. There will be some trails at the bottom—most of it is gladed, which requires a minimal amount of grooming. As far as ski area expansion goes, it’s about as minimally impactful as possible. It’s really one lift going into the drainage,” Mueller said.

This area is suitable Canada lynx habitat and provides habitat for their primary prey, the snowshoe hare. Canada lynx is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. One graduate student is analyzing the potential impacts of recreation on these species.

“There is little to almost no research and understanding on how outdoor recreation on public lands impacts wildlife,” noted MEM graduate student Rebecca Stern. “Section 7A1 of the Endangered Species Act requires federal agencies to use their authorities to implement actions that further the conservation of listed species.”

For her master’s project, Stern is assessing snowshoe hare occupancy and abundance, which is lynx’s main source of prey, ultimately providing scientific contributions to help inform how USFS manages and supports multiple uses of the forest to benefit people and federally listed species.

“Snowshoe hare are adapted to require a certain vegetative composition/forest structure. Ski resorts manipulate this vegetative structure to build lifts and create gladed terrain. Habitat manipulation is what I ultimately see as the biggest issue,” explained Stern.

Stern developed her research project by looking at previous snowshoe hare pellet survey studies, consulting with experts in the field in both the United States and Canada, and through the guidance of her community sponsor, Matt Vasquez with the USFS wildlife biologists in Gunnison and her MEM advisor, Dr. Jonathan Coop. Stern is unaware of any duplicate study, so cannot look to other ski resorts for a feasible study format.

Said Stern, “I think it is important for people to realize and understand that they are recreating in a space that is something else’s home. While they are hiking, biking, or skiing, there is a deer, bear, fox, hare, or even a lynx nearby trying to forage, stay safe from threats, and raise their young. Ski resorts should do more to educate visitors on what wildlife they are sharing their play space with and why it is important that we try to minimize our impacts to their environment. Really driving home the importance of keeping wildlife wild and giving them their space can help create good public land stewards in Crested Butte’s visitors and residents.”

Waste management 

In 2008, CBMR launched a resort-wide recycling program, working with a local waste management startup and purchasing its own industrial cardboard compactors and recycling collectors. Currently, CBMR recycles more than half of the waste generated at the resort; the major gap is from guest impacts.

MEM graduate student Casey Hess is focusing her master’s project on building a waste management regime for CBMR to develop “guest inclusion pathways,” or crafting sustainability outreach to guests through existing communication outlets. Hess is also working on developing internal plans and suggestions for adjustments in how the resort houses and disposes of divertible waste, which includes any materials that are recyclable, compostable, recoverable and/or reusable.

“What I hope to achieve is to calculate returns on investments for in-room recycling bins. I also hope to calculate a return on investment for a recycling compactor. In conjunction with the calculations, I will be conducting waste audits approximately two times per month until early April on CBMR properties to get a real idea of what they experience in the waste stream and the potential for waste diversion,” said Hess.

Hess wants to make recycling as easy as possible for guests and is utilizing her experiences working for Crested Butte Lodging and skiing abroad in Europe—as well as her interviews from other ski resorts—to guide her recommendations.

“I think now is the time for CBMR to capitalize on what they’ve got: a killer resort with some amazing terrain, a solid community ethic, amazing staff from CEOs to lift operators to line cooks to bellmen. It’s not yet a metric for success, which would be amazing to study, but CBMR has an opportunity to leverage a reputation for being an exceptional mountain town that is also doing its best to be sustainable, which has the potential to influence brand loyally,” said Hess.

Feier noted that CBMR intends to launch some pilot projects regarding guest engagement this winter.

Uncertainty plagues both climactic models and the political climate, exacerbating the capacity of citizens to protect our winters. However, Mueller is certain that the passion and expertise from WSCU are fostering CBMR’s ability to help guests ski lightly. “Without the passion from Western—Rebecca, Casey and Professor Moran sought me out—much of this wouldn’t be happening,” said Feier.

And it is certain that guests and shareholders alike will have expectations of environmental standards. “In 2016, the Harvard Business Review found that the largest number of shareholder resolutions filed by investors—the method through which activists work—now concern social and environmental issues. This is a recent phenomenon; the number of these resolutions has increased dramatically over the past five years. This new insight suggests that we’ll see more and more businesses fostering sustainability, and we already know that consumers are demanding more and more that businesses operate responsibly,” concluded Moran.

And with the help of the MEM program, CBMR is in the process of actively raising its environmental profile.

Shades of grey and a salute to Igor

As I get a little older, the life shades of grey are not just showing up in my mustache—most everything is a complex shade of grey instead of simple black and white.

For example, I defy anyone to give me a solid black-and-white answer to the STR (short-term rental) dilemma in Crested Butte. To ban them completely hurts some of our local neighbors who use such rentals to help pay the mortgage so they can continue to live here. It fills beds in Crested Butte, which used to be rare since in the “old days,” downtown Crested Butte provided the charm and Mt. Crested Butte provided the lodging. Now STRs bring in tourists who shop and eat and fill the coffers of our local businesses that provide jobs, character and an economy.

But to give total carte blanche to STRs would indeed hollow out the neighborhoods and community so that town would be filled with little to no locals during certain periods of the year such as July and August. And if the economics continue on the current trend, every house could be a rental business and there would be no one here ever, except those living in the deed-restricted places. The town would be for the really rich and the working poor and middle class who can’t afford free market housing in a growing resort town. It would make us more like every other place we try not to be like except when we want to follow their lead.

And even some of the deed-restricted places are a bit of a grey area right now with an ADU (accessory dwelling unit) lawsuit gearing up. It is too bad the ADU situation ended up in court but it will be good to finally clear up the grey area and make it obvious what the community and legal expectations really are with the alley units. No matter which way the court rules, I believe more people than not understand the value of keeping working locals living in town—even if not forced to by law, they will do the right thing and continue to rent their units to solid local community members. And if not forced to by law, the people wanting to keep a dark ADU will get a dark town, with no unique characters and no one to serve them. What a great win!

My instinct on the STR issue is to favor those who live here and tax the hell out of it. Then throw that money to workforce housing in town. That will take a vote of the Crested Butte citizens so that is something that could be pondered for 2017.

There are many different shades of grey. Take two conversations I was part of this Tuesday—one having to do with facts in the political realm and the other having to do with the fact of the powcam. There is a difference between, say, the CBMR marketing crew rounding up with the snowfall total received overnight to help the marketing department, and, say, Donald Trump rounding up the number of votes he says were illegally cast to give Hillary the popular vote.

One (nightly snow totals as brought to my attention from a consistent pow-watcher) is a light shade of grey. The pow-watcher reported that on Saturday the powcam showed 3.5 inches and the resort reported six inches. We received 2.5 inches on the powcam Sunday and the report was for five. Tuesday there wasn’t any new snow but the report was for two fresh. Is snow bumping a standard operating procedure at every ski resort? Did we get two inches Tuesday or did someone “forget” to wipe the powcam on Monday? Does it make a difference to a skier from Denver if we report six inches instead of four? Maybe, but I doubt it. I do know the skiing has been really great for December and maybe those reports mean to say that while we got three inches, it is skiing like six! For what it’s worth, the official CBMR snowstake is in a different location from the powcam.

The other example from a separate conversation (Trump’s illegal vote accusation) appears to be a dark grey insecure middle-school response to hard facts that doesn’t shine a golden light on The Donald. But his tantrum actually throws doubt onto the very foundation of America’s democratic process that relies at its core on fair and honest elections. For Trump to hold his breath and stamp his tweety feet that the votes were tainted is dangerous because of his casual disregard for facts and the fact that so many people believe whatever he says. The election system is not perfect but there is not a single shred of evidence of even a tiny amount of voter fraud. To undercut the integrity of the American voting system is not only immature, it is a danger to the republic, given his stature as the incoming president. That is junk. And the Republican “adults” in the room shrug their shoulders at such disregard for facts and cross their fingers that Trump will support some of their schemes and keep them in power.

Finally, a shout out to one of the characters in town who passed over to what is probably the great Canadian outback in the sky. Igor was one of those people who was kind, considerate and sometimes odd… in a good way. He had wanted to visit Cuba and maybe move to Canada. A man with a mysterious and electric past and present, he loved the “older” Crested Butte but found that even the current Crested Butte was better than most other places. And it was because of the people. He missed the people here. He would come back from a trip and not tell you where he had been and question every “weird” and liberal thing the town was doing, and it made you appreciate the other side. But I never was sure how much of any side (except the firearms side) he was on. Igor’s passing to the other side was a shock this week, and I’ll miss running into him on Elk Avenue or in City Market.

His last lesson might be to experience every moment because you just never know when this dimension will come to a close. Experience a foreign desert or a cold continent. And remember that one big reason you live (or visit) here is because of the people. You can go to a warmer place and you can go to an easier place to live but the people won’t be there. So appreciate the quirky people of Crested Butte—and as this place grows and changes, let’s try to keep giving the characters opportunities to actually live here.

Here’s to what is sure to be an interesting 2017. I think I’ll experience a surfing beach sometime this year. What will you do?

—Mark Reaman

USFS approves most of fat bike proposal

Good partnerships across the board helped in the decision

By Mark Reaman

Get ready to get your fat bike on all over the upper valley this winter. The local Gunnison National Forest District has approved grooming for nearly 37 miles of new trail after it received a proposal last fall from the Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association (CBMBA) to expand grooming for fat bikers, hikers, Nordic skiers and dog walkers.

Gunnison National Forest District ranger John Murphy signed the decision on Friday to allow most of the proposed grooming. Murphy signed the order under a Categorical Exclusion (CE) that indicates there are no extraordinary circumstances that would warrant further analysis under an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) or Environmental Assessment (EA).

Permitting should not take long so CBMBA executive director Dave Ochs said to look for the expanded trail system to be up and operating starting this week. If the weather cooperates, Ochs hopes to have the Gothic section groomed by the time this paper comes out and the Brush Creek trails groomed by the coming weekend.

Not surprisingly, Ochs was stoked by the decision. “I am over the top, crazy excited and so appreciative of the Forest Service and the efforts they put in to make this happen,” he said.

The Forest Service decision includes motorized grooming on the road between Mt. Crested Butte and Gothic for non-motorized uses; just about ten miles of trail will be groomed in the Brush Creek area, including the Strand Bonus trail, the Canal trail, and the Farris Creek Road area; and nine miles of the Cement Creek Road that lies on Forest Service lands.

Murphy did not allow the proposal to groom a loop at the far reaches of the Upper Cement Creek trail as a single track trail because it would add to snow compaction that could impact potentially high quality Canadian lynx habitat. Cement Creek Road will be open to both motorized and non-motorized users.

Trails in the North Village on Snodgrass and on property included in the Crested Butte Mountain Resort ski area permit were not part of this decision but will be groomed.

Ochs said not getting permission to groom the top of the Cement Creek trail is fine with him right now. “We’ll be pretty busy with Gothic and Brush, and supporting Al Smith’s efforts in Crested Butte South,” he said. “That loop would have required some riding to get to. Sure, that would have been great, but we’re very glad to concentrate on the stuff even closer and more accessible, and we very much respect the concerns from the Forest Service on that particular loop. Al Smith already does amazing work out there on Cement—we are so proud and happy to partner and support him.”

Conditions apply

In Murphy’s decision document, he noted that the grooming would be allowed between November 30 and March 31 of each year on a probationary basis for two years. If all goes well, CBMBA would be issued grooming permits in five-year increments at the district ranger’s discretion after the probation period.

Murphy did not allow grooming of the Upper Cement Creek trail “due to issues brought forth in the analysis regarding newly compacted routes through quality lynx habitat.”

High Country Conservation Advocates public lands director Matt Reed appreciated Murphy’s overall decision and the sensitivity to potential lynx habitat.

“High Country Conservation Advocates welcomes the Forest Service decision memo, which approves CBMBA’s proposal, with some key environmental safeguards,” Reed said. “This decision provides an opportunity for the growth of human-powered recreation, while positively addressing sensitive lynx habitat, conditional approval, minimum snow depth, and seasonal grooming limitations. We look forward to continued engagement with CBMBA, the Forest Service, and our community, to protect wildlife and natural resources while providing sustainable recreation opportunities.”

Two years to shine

The two-year probationary period will give CBMBA a chance to work out any kinks with the grooming program. “We’re glad to have two years to shine and help even more people understand just what we’re trying to do, which is provide an amazing winter trail and recreation experience for all users,” explained Ochs. “We will be doing a total of 37 miles of grooming—that includes the ‘out and backs’—or it will be parallel trails, so out one way, and the other back. [The] exception is Brush, where it’s going to be 10 miles of real deal track.”

The amount of grooming will be determined by conditions at the time. “We have no plan to groom on a fixed schedule. We will play it by ear with conditions and area needs,” said Ochs. “We have no desire to be out there in avy conditions, whiteouts, or with a forecast of multiple days of snow. Our goal is to provide an amenity when the pow skiing and other options go dry, to fill voids and create more diverse and unique experiences. For the most part we will be grooming at dusk and when less use is on the ground.

“We have a workhorse of a sled that was purchased from the good folks at Irwin, and have made a lot of custom additions and add-ons to our groomer, a Yellowstone Track Systems 30-inch groomer, courtesy of the one and only Doug Bradbury,” Ochs continued. “Laying track is a hoot, as we have one or two on the sled, and one person actually ‘rides’ the groomer to help shape track, make berms, and compact the riding surface as best as possible. Just like summer trail work days—setting winter track is crazy fun, and something to be proud of once you lay the magic carpet down! Let alone, one person can build a berm in the snow in 10 minutes, where it’s hours of work in the summer.”

While admitting that fat bike travel is relatively new, Murphy said nothing in the decision changes the allowed mode of travel on existing snow trails contained in the proposal since fat bikes are already allowed on the Gothic Road, Brush Creek Road and the Cement Creek Road in the winter.

“Regular monitoring will occur during the probationary period to determine impacts to roads, summer use trails and areas that were permitted for off-trail over the snow use. If impacts are observed, adjustment to the permitted areas or other mitigations will be considered to reduce any impacts to resources,” Murphy’s decision document reads.

There must be a minimum of a foot of snow on the roads before any grooming can take place and at least 20 inches of snow at the Bush Creek trailhead.

Acknowledging that trailhead congestion is an issue, Murphy said his hope was that “by partnering with CBMBA, the Forest Service will actually be able to manage these areas in a more effective fashion than is currently possible. Information dissemination and education of trail users will be essential to the success of the project.”

While keeping those winter trails and trailheads maintained will be a lot of work, Ochs emphasized that it is a lot of fun, too.

“I am very excited for the experience and we have learned a lot already in just one year of grooming, studying conditions, working the groomer for a desired outcome, and creating a great experience,” Ochs said. “Brush Creek is going to be a good bit of work, but it will be worth it and where we are hoping to really break ground on something that is truly unique and world class! We are so honored to have the support we gathered from the community, the grant funding and support from the towns, and we are breaking up CBMBA operations into winter and summer ops, so we can better examine and document the income and expenses that each season will present. The experiences so far have been of great value, and it has made our club and organization an even more cohesive and effective team.”

Good partnerships keep things rolling

Murphy said part of the logic for the decision and the relative speed of it was to follow a new initiative coming from the Washington office to streamline the special uses application and approval process. Having a cooperative applicant also played a big role.

“Streamlining the process would allow the Forest Service to process applications for special uses more quickly and efficiently than we have in the past,” Murphy explained. “The fat bike grooming application was processed the same way we have historically processed these types of proposals. We expedited the review and approval of this proposal because of the great deal of support there was for the proposal and to meet the spirit of the new initiative. Dave Ochs was willing to work with us to make adjustments to the original proposal to eliminate certain issues that could have caused delays. An example was in Cement Creek, where about 10 miles of proposed grooming was eliminated from the proposal. This was because the proposed route would have caused additional snow compaction in high-quality Canada lynx habitat. This may have resulted in a need for additional consultation with the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service delaying the approval of the proposal.

“Grooming this route would have impacted a fen which may have been determined to be an extraordinary circumstance and could have elevated the NEPA from a categorical Exclusion to and Environmental Assessment,” Murphy continued. “It takes a lot longer to prepare an Environmental Assessment than it does a Categorical Exclusion. I would credit Dave’s willingness to work with us to address these sorts of issues as the primary reason we were able to process the application so quickly.”

The Forest Service received 127 comments on the CBMBA proposal and 78 percent of those were in support of the proposal.

THURSDAY 8
• 7 a.m. Core Class at The Gym. 349-2588.
• 7:30-8:30 a.m. Foundations for Alignment / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 8 a.m. Ecumenical Meditation at UCC.
• 8:30 a.m. Women’s book discussion group at UCC.
• 8:45 a.m. Indoor Biking at The Gym. 349-2588.
• 8:45-10 a.m. Vinyasa at Yoga For The Peaceful.
• 8:45-10 a.m. Vinyasa Flow / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Gunnison County Branch Office is open at the Crested Butte Town Offices.
• 9:45 a.m. Ski Conditioning at The Gym. 349-2588.
• 10 a.m. Mothering Support Group at Oh Be Joyful Church. (Last Thursday of every month)
• 10:30-11:45 a.m. Yoga Basics at Yoga For The Peaceful.
• 11:30 p.m. Duplicate Bridge at UCC. 349-1008.
• noon All Saints in the Mountain Episcopal Church Community Healing Service at Queen of All Saints Catholic Church. 349-9371.
• noon-1 p.m. BUTI Yoga / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 12:30-1:30 p.m. Prana Vinyasa at Yoga For The Peaceful.
• 12:30-2:30 a.m. Pickleball in Jerry’s Gym in Town Hall, 349-7197. (thru April 13).
• 4-5:30 p.m. St. Mary’s Garage. 300 Belleview, Unit 2. Free clothing and bedding. 970-318-6826.
• 4:30-6 p.m. Crested Butte Community Food Bank open at Oh Be Joyful Church. (First and third Thursday of every month)
• 5:30 p.m. Communion service at Queen of All Saints Catholic Church.
• 5:30-6:45 p.m. Prana Vinyasa at Yoga For The Peaceful.
• 5:45 p.m. World Dance Class at The Gym. 349-2588.
• 6:30 p.m. Ski Conditioning Class with Adventure Physical Therapy Sunset Hall CB South. 970-251-5098.
• 6:30 p.m. AA Open Meditation at UCC.
• 7 p.m. Women Supporting Women Group Discussion at the Nordic Inn.
• 7:15-8:15 p.m. Dharma Punx Meditation / CB Co-op at 405 6th St.
• 7:30 p.m. Narcotics Anonymous meets at 114 N. Wisconsin St. in Gunnison.

FRIDAY 9
• 6:30 a.m. All Levels Iyengar Yoga Class at The Gym. 349-2588.
• 7:30 a.m. Barre Class at The Gym. 349-2588.
• 8:30 a.m. Alanon at UCC Parlour (in back). 349-6482.
• 8:45 a.m. Core Power Yoga Class at the Pump Room.
• 8:45-10 a.m. Yoga for the Flexibly Challenged / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 9-10:30 a.m. Prana Vinyasa at Yoga For The Peaceful.
• noon Closed AA at UCC.
• noon-1 p.m. Vinyasa Flow / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• noon-1:15 p.m. Restorative Yoga at Yoga For The Peaceful.
• 5 p.m. Holiday Social for all to enjoy snacks, drinks and merry cheer at Adventure Physical Therapy, 311 5th Street. 970-251-5098.
• 5:30 p.m. Communion service at Queen of All Saints Catholic Church.
• 6-7 p.m. Poi Playshop at the Pump Room.
• 6-7:15 p.m. Yoga for Men at Yoga For The Peaceful.

SATURDAY 10
• 7:30 a.m. Open AA at UCC.
• 7:30 a.m. Weights and Indoor Cycling Class at The Gym. 349-2588.
• 8:45-10 a.m. Prana Vinyasa at Yoga For The Peaceful.
• 9-10 a.m. Core Power / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 9-10:30 a.m. Community Yoga at the Sanctuary Yoga & Pilates Studio, Gunnison.
• 10-11 a.m. Hip Hop Community Dance Class at the Pump Room (above Fire House on 3rd & Maroon). 415-225-5300.
• 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Paint Your Own Pottery: Holiday Gifts & Décor in the GAC Clay Studio.
• 10:30-11:45 a.m. Slow Flow at Yoga For The Peaceful.
• 10:30 a.m.-noon St. Mary’s Garage. 300 Belleview, Unit 2. Free clothing and bedding. 970-318-6826.
• 12:30-2:30 p.m. Crested Butte Book Binders at the Old Rock Library for ages 9-13 years old. (every 2nd and 4th Saturday)
• 6:30-7:30 p.m. Guided Sound Meditiation at 405 4th Street.

SUNDAY 11
• 7-8 a.m. Meditation at Yoga For The Peaceful, by donation.
• 8:30 a.m. Mass at Queen of All Saints Catholic Church.
• 9 a.m. Worship Service at Oh-Be-Joyful Church.
• 9 a.m. Worship Service at Union Congretional Church. 349-6405.
• 9-10:15 a.m. Slow Flow at Yoga For The Peaceful.
• 9:30-11 a.m. Free Community Yoga Class / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 2-6 p.m. Holiday Paint Your Own Pottery: Christmas at the Art Studio of the Center for the Arts. 349-7044.
• 4-5:15 p.m. CBCYC Community Book Club at 405 4th Street.
• 5-6 p.m. All Saints in the Mountain Episcopal Eucharist at Queen of All Saints Catholic Church. 349-9371.
• 5-7 p.m. Pick-up Adult Basketball. HS Gym, CBCS.
• 5:30-7 p.m. Restorative Yoga at Yoga For The Peaceful.
• 6 p.m. AA meets at UCC.
• 6:30 p.m. Duplicate Bridge at UCC. 349-1008.
• 7 p.m. Gamblers Anonymous meets at the Last Resort.

MONDAY 12
• 7 a.m. Barre Class at The Gym. 349-2588.
• 7:30-8:30 a.m. Pranayama & Namaskar / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 8:45 a.m. Pilates at The Gym. 349-2588.
• 8:45-10 a.m. Vinyasa Flow / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 9-10:30 a.m. Lunar Prana Vinyasa Level 2/3 with Jackie at Yoga For the Peaceful.
• noon-1 p.m. Yoga Basics at Yoga For The Peaceful.
• noon-1 p.m. Lunch Break Therapeutic Yoga / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 4-7:30 p.m. Tang Soo Do classes for children and adults with West Elk Martial Arts, Jerry’s Gym at Town Hall. 901-7417.
• 5 p.m. Mothering Support Group at the GVH Education House, 300 East Denver St. (First Monday of every month)
• 5:30 p.m. Communion service at Queen of All Saints Catholic Church.
• 5:30-6:45 p.m. Yin Yoga Nidra at Yoga For The Peaceful.
• 5:30-7 p.m. Moms in Motion class at the GVH rehab gym.
• 5:45 p.m. Ski Conditioning at The Gym. 349-2588.
• 6:30-8 p.m. Women’s Domestic Violence Support Group at Project Hope. Childcare available upon request. 641-2712.
• 7:30 p.m. Open AA at UCC. 349-5711.
• 7:30 p.m. Narcotics Anonymous meets at 114 N. Wisconsin St. in Gunnison.

TUESDAY 13
• 6-7 a.m. Meditation at Yoga For The Peaceful, by donation.
• 7 a.m. Core Class at The Gym. 349-2588.
• 7:30 a.m. AA/Alanon Open at UCC. 349-5711.
• 8:30 a.m. Strength & Balance with Adventure Physical Therapy Sunset Hall CB South. 970-251-5098.
• 8:45 a.m. Indoor Biking at The Gym. 349-5288.
• 8:45-10 a.m. Vinyasa at Yoga for the Peaceful.
• 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Gunnison County branch office is open at the Crested Butte Town Offices, 507 Maroon Ave.
• 9:30-11:30 a.m. Pickleball in Jerry’s Gym in Town Hall, 349-7197. (thru April 13).
• 10-11 a.m. Power Yoga / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 10:30-11:45 a.m. Yoga Basics at Yoga for the Peaceful.
• 11:30 a.m. League of Women Voters meeting at 210 W. Spencer in Gunnison.
• noon AA Closed at UCC.
• noon-1 p.m. Lunch Break Blend / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 12:30-1:30 p.m. Iyengar Yoga at Yoga For The Peaceful.
• 1:30-3:30 p.m. Tech Tuesdays at Old Rock Library. 349-6535.
• 4-5:30 p.m. St. Mary’s Garage. 300 Belleview, Unit 2. Free clothing & bedding. 970-318-6826.
• 5:30 p.m. Communion Service at Queen of All Saints Church.
• 5:30-6:45 p.m. Slow Flow at Yoga For The Peaceful.
• 5:45 p.m. All Levels Iyengar Yoga Class at The Gym. 349-2588.
• 5:45-7 p.m. Gentle Restorative Yoga / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 6-8 p.m. Figure Drawing Sessions with a live model in Downtown Crested Butte. 349-7228.
• 6:30 p.m. Crested Butte Library Poetry Collective meets at the Old Rock Library. (every 2nd Tuesday of the month)
• 7 p.m. Alanon meeting at the Last Resort.
• 7-8:30 p.m. Blessing Way Circle support group at Sopris Women’s Clinic. 720-217-3843.
• 7:45-9:45 p.m. Drop-in Adult Volleyball, CBCS MS Gym.
• 7:15-8:15 p.m. Dharma Punx Meditation / CB Co-op at 405 6th St.

WEDNESDAY 14
• 6:30 a.m. All Levels Iyengar Yoga Class at The Gym. 349-2588.
• 7:30 a.m. The Crested Butte / Mt. Crested Butte Rotary Club breakfast meeting in the Shavano Conference Room at the Elevation Hotel.
• 8:45 a.m. Mat Mix at The Gym. 349-2588.
• 9-10:30 a.m. Solar Prana Vinyasa with Monica at Yoga For The Peaceful.
• 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Two Buttes Senior Citizens van transportation. Roundtrip to Gunnison. Weather permitting. Call first for schedule and availability. 275-4768.
• noon Closed AA at UCC.
• noon-1 p.m. Power Yoga / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• noon-1 p.m. Prana Vinyasa Express Level 1/2 with Stacey at Yoga For The
Peaceful.
• 1-2 p.m. Tai Chi at Town Hall. 349-7197.
• 4-7:30 p.m. Tang Soo Do classes for children and adults with West Elk Martial Arts, Jerry’s Gym at Town Hall. 901-7417.
• 5 p.m. Mass at Queen of All Saints Catholic Church.
• 5:30 p.m. Prenatal Yoga class in Crested Butte South. 349-1209.
• 5:45 p.m. Ski Conditioning at The Gym. 349-2588.
• 5:45 p.m. Indoor Cycling at The Gym. 349-2588.
• 6-9 p.m. Holiday Paint Your Own Pottery & Glass Etching at Montanya Distillers. 349-7044.
• 6-7:15 p.m. Slow Flow at Yoga For The Peaceful.
• 7-9 p.m. “GriefShare,” a grief recovery seminar and support group, meets at Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church, 711 N. Main St., Gunnison. 970-349-7769.
• 7:30 p.m. Alanon at UCC Parlour (in back). 349-6482.
• 8-9:30 p.m. Adult Indoor Soccer in the CBCS HS Gym. 349-7197.

Events & Entertainment

THURSDAY 8
• 5-8:30 p.m. Adaptive Sports Center’s holiday party in the Adaptive Sports Center program office in theTreasury Center. 349-5075.
• 7:30 p.m. Alice’s Christmas in Wonderland plays in the Black Box Theatre at the Gunnison Arts Center.
• 7:30 p.m. Holiday Gala Concert with Western’s Concert Choir, Chamber Singers, String Ensemble, Chamber Orchestra and Wind Symphony in the John and Georgie Kincaid Concert Hall at WSCU.
• 8 p.m. Ladies Night at the Red Room.
• 10 p.m. Karaoke upstairs in the Sky Bar at the Talk of the Town.

FRIDAY 9
• 8 a.m. Gunnison Valley RTA meeting  at the Commissioners’ Room in the Gunnison County Courthouse.
• 9 a.m.-noon Free Child Find Developmental Screening for children ages birth to five years at Lake School, 800 N. Boulevard in Gunnison. 641-7770.
• 2-5 p.m. Elevated Aprés Party presented by Freeskier Magazine at 9380 Prime patio.
• 3:30 p.m. ‘Caves around Bethlehem’ at Jerry’s Gym and Cave of Knowledge at the Crested Butte Library. 349-6535. Runs until the tree lighting.
• 5:30 p.m. Walk with Santa from the Four-way stop for the tree lighting at the Brick Oven.
• 6:30 p.m. CBCS Middle School Winter Concert on the CBCS Main Stage.
• 7 p.m. Syllables & Sound – An Evening of Local Musicians and Writers at the Center for the Arts. 349-1775.
• 7:30 p.m. Alice’s Christmas in Wonderland plays in the Black Box Theatre at the Gunnison Arts Center.
• 8 p.m. Gun Rack plays at the Eldo.

SATURDAY 10
• 10 a.m. GVH Hospice & Palliative Care’s annual Tree of Life Celebration at the Almont Resort. 641-4254.
• 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Snowmobile registration and Christmas tree tag sale at the Kebler Winter Trailhead.
• 2 p.m. Alice’s Christmas in Wonderland plays in the Black Box Theatre at the Gunnison Arts Center.
• 3-7 p.m. Local Appreciation Party at the Alpineer.
• 4 p.m. North Pole Ninjas Storytime at Townie Books and Rumors.
• 5:30 p.m. Lighting of the 30 ft. tree at Mountaineer Square with Santa.
• 8 p.m. Big Laughs on Elk comedy night at Mallardi Cabaret Theatre.
• 10 p.m. Kreature of Habit (heavy metal band) with special guests play at the Red Room, doors open at 9 p.m.

MONDAY 12
• 5-7 p.m. GCSAPP presents a community discussion on alcohol use and the impact on youth at the Center for the Arts.
• 7 p.m. A New Approach to Holiday Spending at the Crested Butte Library. 349-6535.
• 7 p.m. Open Mic Night at the Eldo.

TUESDAY 13
• 5:30-7:30 p.m. Cocktails & Canvases: “Whimsical Christmas Trees” at the Center for the Arts Lobby & Bar. 349-7044.
• 6:30 p.m. CBCS High School Winter Concert on the CBCS Main Stage.

WEDNESDAY 14
• 4 p.m. Gunnison Valley Youth Fiddlers Holiday Concert in the Black Box Theatre at the Gunnison Arts Center.
• 5:30 p.m. Philosophy on Tap at the Brick Oven. 349-6535.
• 5:30-7:30 p.m. Ben Eaton Artist Reception at the Piper Gallery of the Center for the Arts. 349-7044.
• 5:30-7:30 p.m. PAWS annual holiday party and low cost microchip clinic, 26651 CO-135.
• 6 p.m. Auditions for Waiting for Lefty at Mallardi Cabaret Theatre.
• 7 p.m. 2016 Christmas Bells Concert with Handbell Choir & Friends at UCC.
• 7:30 p.m. Pool tournament upstairs at the Talk of the Town.

Kid’s Calendar:

THURSDAY 8
• 10-11:30 a.m. Tumblebugs in Jerry’s Gym in Town Hall, Ages 4 & Under, 349-7197.

FRIDAY 9
• 11 a.m. Big Kids Storytime for ages 3 and up at the Crested Butte Library.
• 4-5 p.m. Tang Soo Do Martial Arts classes for youth with West Elk Martial Arts, Town Hall Fitness Room. 901-7417.

SATURDAY 10
• 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Winter Drop-off at the Trailhead Children’s Museum, ages 1-6. 349-7160.

SUNDAY 11
• 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Winter Drop-off at the Trailhead Children’s Museum, ages 1-6. 349-7160.

MONDAY 12
• 3:45-5 p.m. Messy Mondays for school aged kids at the Crested Butte Library. (kids younger than 8 must be accompanied by an adult)
• 4-7:30 p.m. Tang Soo Do classes for children and adults with West Elk Martial Arts, Jerry’s Gym at Town Hall. 901-7417.
• 4:45 p.m. Tang Soo Do classes for juniors at Town Hall. 901-7417.

TUESDAY 13
• 11 a.m. Romp & Rhyme Storytime for families and kids of all ages at the Crested Butte Library.
• 3:45-5 p.m. Tween Scene (ages 8-12) at the Crested Butte Library.

WEDNESDAY 14
• 11 a.m. Baby Book Club at the Crested Butte Library.
• 4-7:30 p.m. Tang Soo Do classes for children and adults with West Elk Martial Arts, Jerry’s Gym at Town Hall. 901-7417.
• 4:45 p.m. Tang Soo Do classes for juniors at Town Hall. 901-7417.

CB council pulls away from strict STR caps in Crested Butte

Possibly limiting STRs to half the year

By Mark Reaman

While nothing is definitive and probably won’t be until at least January, a majority of Crested Butte Town Council members now feel homeowners in town should be able to short-term rent their houses for up to 180 days a year. This is the council’s latest attempt to somehow limit the amount of short-term rentals (STR) in town.

Such a move would not impact many, if any, houses currently in the Crested Butte STR pool, since renting a house that many nights annually is extremely rare in town. Mayor Glenn Michel said he felt such a lax limit was pointless and would essentially contribute to turning neighborhoods into hotels and would contribute to “losing the fiber of the community.”

The council opted to continue the first reading of the proposed ordinance to the December 19 meeting when details will be included in a formal ordinance. The council can choose to set the ordinance for a public hearing sometime in January and then vote on the ordinance.

In the discussion at Monday night’s meeting, councilmembers all felt that instituting safety and inspection measures for STRs was a good idea and those points will be put into the town code.

But the issue of whether or not to cap or limit STRs as a way to reduce negative impacts to the concept of “community” has been a discussion stretching back into last winter, including a council-appointed citizens committee to come up with recommendations on how to regulate and limit STRs.

As a result of the months-long discussion, the council is now leaning toward allowing STRs for most houses in town for half the year.

The council had received scores of emails this week from homeowners arguing against any form of limits on STRs. In an email, homeowner Peter Sherman pointed out that current town zoning allows “unlimited short term rentals” in the R1, R1A, R1C, R2, R2C, R3C and B3 zoning districts.

Town Council and staff said homes currently being used for short-term rentals will be “grandfathered in” and have the ability to maintain that “unlimited” status. Town attorney John Belkin indicated if a homeowner in one of those zones gave up its license the use would become a nonconforming use.

The council appeared swayed by the flurry of correspondence and thus settled on the 180-night limit. But they weren’t pleased with some of the points in the letters.

“We received a plethora of letters from people interested in protecting their money rights. One described the town as dysfunctional. That is offensive,” said councilman Jim Schmidt and he listed a number of positive things the town provides. “Maybe we’re dysfunctional because we don’t take kick-backs or something.”

“The majority of letters were concerned with investment protection and the positive contributions STRs make to the retail and restaurant base of the town and the jobs they provide,” added Michel. “I didn’t receive any emails or comments this week from people wanting caps on STRs. The letters we received this week were all valid, well-written with passionate arguments. But for me, this is about the forming of a community. It is about more than individual gain. If we all take a little, we might take too much.”

Michel said it was time for the council to make a hard decision and suggested it put an annual 90-night cap on short-term-renting a house in town.

“For me, I want to be clear the town is not saying the second-home community is not welcome,” said councilman Chris Ladoulis. “But we all seem to agree that in the future there is a tipping point if we have too many short-term rentals. If it were 100 percent, everyone would agree that is too many. We don’t want to disallow them completely, either. We are trying to find that middle gound.”

“The question is, do we want to cap STRs so neighborhoods don’t turn into de facto hotel zones?” asked Michel. “When does renting a house in a neighborhood turn that house into a business?”

“I don’t think we have enough data,” said councilwoman Laura Mitchell. “I feel like we could be overstepping our bounds on private property rights. Limiting them to 30 or 60 days is overreaching. We are wading into these waters without the data. I’m not in favor of a 90-day limit. Maybe 180- or 200-day limit. I’m not sure of the magic number.”

Local property manager Steve Ryan of Ironhorse Property Management sat on the citizens committee that studied STRs. He provided the council with some numbers. He said of the 13 houses he has managed in the town more than a year, the average number of days they rent is probably about 120, with the high end being 140.

“For me, if STRs continue to proliferate, we could see the tipping point. I don’t have a problem with what is going on now,” commented councilman Roland Mason. “If we get to the point where Crested Butte is one big hotel, we’ll have an issue. For me, I’d say the 180-night suggestion works because it is not even close to the highest number of days for a rented house in town.”

“It is hard for me to put a cap on without hard data on loss of revenue,” said councilman Paul Merck. “This is a business we’ve built up in town. We continue to ask people to come visit here.”

“What is the right number for a cap?” asked Ladoulis. “I don’t know. But when you move the number to a half a year, it is easier to defend. If something were rented for more than half a year, it would probably meet the test of being a business in a residential area. I’d be comfortable with the 180 number.”

“If something in Crested Butte is rented 180 days, it is a hotel,” countered Michel. “Council is saying they are okay with this. The idea of needing more data? We’ve talked about this ad nauseam. Every homeowner in town should be concerned that every neighbor can rent out their houses for half the year. I think 90 days is a fair compromise for people to make some extra money but it doesn’t make your house a hotel in Crested Butte. The council is kidding themselves if they think 180 nights is legitimate. Why even do it then?”

“Because saying 360 days a year is very different,” responded Ladoulis.

“Any cap or limit will be very difficult to enforce,” added Schmidt who indicated there should perhaps be no limits legislatively imposed. “Patterns will stay similar to today. July will be rented and October won’t have that many rentals.”

“A 180-night limit doesn’t impact anyone currently,” said Mason. “In the future, if Crested Butte is a 360-day resort with no shoulder seasons, people will be glad we put this in, or not.”

“I’m personally passionate about this,” reiterated Michel. “I value true residential neighborhoods. I just think 180 nights is way too much. I think people should be very concerned with that.”

The council is leaning toward the citizen committee recommendation to not allow STRs in the B1, C, B2, T (except blocks 55 & 37), P, R2A and AO, zones. These zones do not allow for any market rate housing to be constructed.  Deed restricted houses will not be able to short term rent the property, however, properties with an ADU may short-term rent either the main home or the ADU so long as the other is rented long-term. Individual room rentals within Crested Butte houses will abide by the same 180-night.

Citizen committee member Dan Escalante said the move would encourage STRs in condo complexes that currently house local workers and he didn’t like that aspect. “In a condo with shared walls it really begins to feel like a hotel,” he said. “You are turning bastions of local workforce housing into hotels. This doesn’t work great for the local workforce.”

Kate Seeley said she couldn’t imagine renting out her home or a room in her home 180 nights a year. “Short-term renting definitely helps supplement income. It is hard to make a living here,” she said. “And second homeowners aren’t going to rent their places long-term. I have an idea for something like a land trust for local houses but we can discuss that later. The whole issue is very complex and a cluster.”

On the regulations side, an STR license will cost more than today but a final number has not been determined, STR houses will be inspected every other year, parking required for the site must be available, the general maximum occupancy is two people per bedroom plus two with a maximum of 10 renters at a time unless there are extenuating circumstances, the licenses will not be transferable with a property sale, town rules and regulations must be posted, and a local contact must be available to deal with issues that come up during a rental.

If a property owner were found to be renting beyond the 180-day limit, the fine would be $1,000 per day and a two-year suspension of the STR license.

The council will look at specifics in an ordinance at the next meeting. A public hearing and vote on the new regulations would likely come in January.

Adopt a Family program growing in the area for the holiday season

“We’ve all walked through really tough times”

by Crystal Kotowski

We are heading into the holiday season and not everyone will necessarily have a happy one. Some people, including local families, are more fortunate than others.

Adopt a Family is a program run through Crested Butte’s Oh Be Joyful church, in which families who can use assistance at Christmas are “adopted” by local families and businesses. The adoptive families or companies provide wrapped Christmas gifts (needs and wants) for families who can benefit from this assistance.

The names of families are kept anonymous unless they request otherwise.

Nancy Osmundson, a member of Oh Be Joyful church, started the program in 2009. “I had adopted families in Florida and was saddened that we did not have the opportunity here. The response was terrific and we adopted 12 families and it has grown every year to show the amazing goodness of our community. It started as a program for people who just need a helping hand and are having a rough time,” Osmundson said.

The program tries to support people not receiving other services. Help is given with no strings attached or expectations, though people often commit to giving back when they are back on their feet.

Rosalind Cook began facilitating the program in 2015. “Adopt a Family is the most rewarding thing I have ever done! Our unique community has an incredibly big spirit where people come along and walk with each other through good and tough times. Almost everyone can remember a time in their lives when they experienced tough times that made them feel powerless and defeated. How uplifting and hopeful it is when someone, and in this case, strangers, step up and say, ‘I want to walk with you and give you some help here,’” Cook said.

“I wish you could read the notes and emails I receive from so many who could not otherwise provide gifts for their kids or groceries in their pantries. And then I receive emails from families and businesses who say thank you for the opportunity to really do something significant,” Cook continued.

There is no “formula” of how much to give. Cook simply passes on the list of wants and needs, ages of the kids, some “wishes”—and then lets the giving happen organically.

“Some of the requests come to me in the form of ‘Letters to Santa.’ Of course many kids will request their dream toys, but often it is coats, winter boots, gloves, and groceries– very basic needs. I have a very hard time getting the parents to make any requests for themselves. Usually they decline, saying that providing for their kids is enough,” said Cook.

“Our life is changed… we did not think anyone cared,” shared one anonymous adopted family. “I have no clue how I would have provided a Christmas this year for my family. This is beyond anything I could ever dream of…. having people reach out to us like this!” shared another.

Last year 28 families were adopted; eight families are currently signed up for this year. Entities contributing to Adopt a Family include: Crested Butte Mountain Resort, The Last Steep Bar and Grill, Gunnison County Electric, Staff of the Town of Crested Butte, Yoga for the Peaceful, Alpine Getaways, Synergy Athlete, Electric Logic, Donita’s, and Benson Sotheby’s Realty.

“We do need more families. Actually, I have more donors on my list than families who have let me know they need help,” noted Cook.

“Adopt a Family, thanks for this opportunity to give back. We once were in need of groceries and bare necessities and were helped. Now we can do the same for someone else,” shared an anonymous adoptive family. “Our family has been blessed with ‘more than enough.’ It was the highlight of their Christmas to shop, wrap, and deliver gifts to ‘our family,’” shared another.

The flexible deadline to sign up for the program is December 15, as time is needed to shop. This year, the program is limited to people who live or work in the Crested Butte area.

Adopt a Family always needs gift cards for such things as groceries and gas. Interested adoptive persons can also write a check to Oh Be Joyful Church and designate it for Adopt a Family, P.O. Box 175, in Crested Butte.

“I know there are people reading this who either can use assistance for Christmas or want to do something significant for someone else,” concluded Cook.

Contact Rosalind Cook or Oh Be Joyful at Rosalind@rosalindcook.com or call 918-645-2109.