Tuesday, July 16, 2019
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Search Results for: resort town life

It’s Labor Day… A weekend to honor life’s job journey

If you’ve spent much time in the labor force there is a good chance that like me, you’ve been hired, you’ve been fired, you’ve quit jobs and you’ve changed jobs. It’s part of life’s work journey. And from everything I’ve been told, it makes life sense to keep working even when you have the chance to retire. Just sayin’.

Anyway, in honor of Labor Day and work, let’s touch on some local job situations. Dara MacDonald is about to embark on an interesting Crested Butte job journey as the new town manager. She has the experience and what appears to be the demeanor to sit in the hot seat. And that seat can be really hot.

While it is apparently against the law to tell me who from Crested Butte applied for the job, no Crested Butte locals made the final cut. The most likely local candidate to be offered the job, RTA executive director Scott Truex, applied for the position, evaluated his life options and withdrew from the running. He is my friend and I think he would have been really good. A few other locals that I felt had the chops to do the job did not put in an application. I have always contended that an engaged local would have a foot up for that position since he or she would know and understand some of the unique Crested Butte quirkiness that is evident every day in that job.

I do not know if the other applicants with Crested Butte ties had the experience to take those reins. The council obviously felt they did not. I know they too had hoped a current local would rise to the top. But from what I hear, they are very confident that Dara will be an excellent fit in that job in this town. They feel she can work well with the staff, the council and the public. Part of having her be a good fit is to give her the tools to be a success.

I have said it before and will again suggest that the town take some of the seven figure savings account that the town has and spend it on expanding the staff. Those in town hall are hard workers and really smart but the amount and pace of issues coming to Crested Butte would seem to warrant some additional personnel to help deal with the issues. That’s just one potential tool but an important one. There is a lot of stuff coming down the road pretty quickly and hopefully Dara has gathered the skills on her work journey to deal with a lot of things at the same time. My gut tells me she has the abilities to fulfill those high expectations and understand the weirdness of this place. Good luck to her.

Labor Day is an opportunity to take note of a pretty big jobs turnover up at the ski area. Several managers at Crested Butte Mountain Resort have left in recent weeks and months and gone on to their next section of the job journey. Managers in sales, marketing, administration, ticket sales and development have all moved on. Many have taken positions at other resorts. Others have left to be closer to family. CBMR vice president and general manager Michael Kraatz explained that while it definitely seems like a lot at once, such turnover is part of the ski resort business in general and it provides opportunity for others in the company to move up.

“Most of the change we have seen is a direct result of an opening up of the job market, and in many areas career advancement opportunities now exist that have not been available since the recession started back in 2008. And of course there are some people who have made choices to leave the area or just do some different type of work,” Kraatz explained. “There is no one reason why a change happens and it is cyclical. Like any large business we expect to see a certain amount of turnover each year, and with that turnover, career advancement opportunities for others open up. We are happy to see that qualified people within the company are moving into most of the positions that have become available and are advancing in their careers, and I think this speaks to the caliber of employee we have and the depth we continually try to build within each department.”

While the resort business is by nature pretty transient, hopefully this blip up there results in more opportunity and steps forward and fewer glitches from transitions as we head into the ski season. Keeping good people is not always easy but hopefully all local employers, not just the big ones, know that when they have good people it is important to treat them well.

And finally a nod of thanks for the job that Crested Butte’s interim town manager Bill Crank did the last several months. Coming back to work in the office that towers over the plaza and plaque that bears his name, Crank stepped in and provided solid guidance for a town in transition. And I think the amount of transition surprised even him at times. His direct, frank and fair manner reinforced the good qualities of a good town manger in a good but quickly changing community.

The town manager in any community is a lightning rod and as politics and tenor in a community change, the town manager oftentimes takes the brunt of the tension and frustration that accompanies such change. That eventually makes for a turnover situation.

But Crank again showed the town what it takes to be a success in that tough job. Part of the success comes from speaking honestly and treating everyone with respect, whether it is a member of the staff, a member of the public or one of the seven bosses on the Town Council. Part of that means getting out and talking to the people to make sure nothing is straying too far out of line. Part of that is following through with what the council wants and doing what he says he is going to do. Part of that is simply showing up.

Crank did all those things when he was here for 19 years and he did it again when he was here for five months. So thanks again for helping to guide this town through example, knowledge and wisdom gained through experience.

Hopefully Bill too gained some more insight on this latest part of his work journey that doesn’t necessarily need to be over.

It is Labor Day, a day to honor workers, a day to honor work, a day to honor getting a job, getting fired, quitting, and exploring new work opportunities on life’s hopefully interesting job journey. We see all that and more in this community every day. Embrace it this Labor Day Weekend.

—Mark Reaman

Mountain lions, ideas on Fat Biking, Twister, and development north of town

I’m not sure exactly why, but the picture and ultimate fate of the mountain lion lying by the snowmobiles at the Kebler Pass trailhead (see page 8) makes me a bit sad. Despite being in such bad shape—starving, quilled by a porcupine, frostbitten—the cat still emanated a wild dignity. For him to decide to give up and deliberately go where humans gather, even to stay warm, indicates the direness of his situation. Ultimately the professionals at Colorado Parks and Wildlife took charge, evaluated the situation and euthanized him. It was probably the most humane decision, given the circumstances. As Joe Lewandowski of CPW stated, “Life’s tough in the wild…”

Yes it is.

I like people who throw out ideas. Sometimes they work, other times they fall flat. But at least something is tried and ultimately something is learned if people are not afraid to throw some weird ideas against the wall.

Here are a few recent ideas people have shared (and none are that weird):

Fat Bike Grooming up a ‘silent’ valley—Groom Gothic Road this winter from the Snodgrass trailhead to Gothic. Adding several groomed road miles to the new tracks put down at the base of Snodgrass for the Fat Bike World Championships would be a great addition. Treat the road sort of like one of the southern drainages that allows for Nordic and snowshoeing on the right and fat biking on the left. Now, fat bikers should take responsibility for the chore and pay for the gear and grooming. A creative groomer could explore some singletrack in the aspen forests along the road for those bikers who are ready for the next step. Why not try it this year, see if it works and expand as needed…

photo by Lydia Stern
photo by Lydia Stern

Use Twister Lift (for fun!)—This idea is not to turn Twister on all day every day but make it an event—make it a party. Maybe CBMR could consider running it on just Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 2:30 to 3:30. Twister is an iconic Colorado double chair resting silently just outside Uley’s Restaurant on the front of the ski resort. It can still run after some maintenance work but it is a “redundant lift,” so CBMR has sort of mothballed it. That’s understandable, but Twister gets some of the last sun of the day. Bring it back into play and call it the Twister Happy Hour. Sell some PBRs out of a bin at the bottom. Bring in a DJ or a band or a boom box but make it a party at the end of the day. There’s something special about Twister. Bring some fun to the sunny side.

Introduce skiing to native Coloradoans—There was a news story on TV last week detailing the lack of kids from the Front Range who ski. It is primarily an economic situation. Apparently the majority of kids living in Denver, Fort Collins and Colorado Springs have never made it over Kenosha Pass. So maybe CBMR and the Tourism Association can partner with some sort of alternative school program and take a few late January weekends when it is slow and partner with a bus company, some lodging and some rental shops to introduce Colorado kids to … skiing (or fat biking). Bring them to what would likely seem a storybook setting in Crested Butte and give them one night and a couple days of lessons. Find some grants, partner with schools, charge a nominal fee and keep your ski instructors busy with introducing the sport to a new group who just might get hooked and come back. You get not only good karma, but a loyal growing client base for decades. It might actually be a good, long-term business decision.

And the biggest new idea thrown out here this week is how to handle the 44 acres north of Crested Butte, the Slate River development hybrid plan. My initial impression is that the development idea is pretty darn good—at least on first impressions. The 30 free-market homes (reduced from well over a hundred) would get hooked up to a town sewer system instead of using septic tanks along the Slate River. The public would get land for parks, a potential school building, affordable housing and a possible fire station. The sledding hill would move there from Big Mine Park, which means the skate park probably wouldn’t move—and that is a smart thing. The town and developers have struck a compromise and want more feedback. There are still some issues lingering out there (house sizes being a big one and water being another) but there are a few weeks to digest and evaluate the idea. Take some time to think about it and let your representative know what you think before a public meeting scheduled for January 25.

Ideas. I like them. Throw them all against the metaphorical wall and talk about them and use the good ones that stick and make sense. And if they don’t make sense, at least there’s something to think about…

—Mark Reaman

Modest turnout at CBMR expansion open houses hosted by USFS, resort

No surprises so far

By Alissa Johnson

Last week, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and Crested Butte Mountain Resort (CBMR) hosted open houses in Gunnison and Crested Butte regarding the resort’s proposal to expand skiing into the Teocalli drainage and add summer trails. There was a moderate turnout at each meeting, and so far, little opposition to the proposal has been raised.

The meetings were held as part of the environmental review process outlined by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). “We are doing the highest level of NEPA, which is the Environmental Impact Statement,” said district ranger John Murphy. “We are in the earliest stages of public scoping, which ends December 7.”

Murphy explained that there will be two parts to the USFS decision: reviewing the proposed activities and amending the Forest Plan to allow for the expansion of CBMR’s permit boundary. In addition, the Fish and Wildlife Service will review the proposal under the Endangered Species Act assessing impacts to Canada lynx habitat.

At the November 19 meeting at the Lodge at Mountaineer Square, CBMR president Ethan Mueller said the expansion grew out of the community’s response to earlier proposals to expand onto Snodgrass.

CBMR expansion open house.         photo by Lydia Stern
CBMR expansion open house. photo by Lydia Stern

“[This proposal] is something we’re excited about. We started looking at it a number of years ago after the Snodgrass initiative didn’t go through. We heard loud and clear from those who were against it to look at the main mountain and see what you can do there, so that’s exactly what we did,” Mueller said.

He spoke to a room of about 20 members of the public, plus Forest Service and resort employees who asked limited questions and were generally receptive to the idea, some calling it well thought-out.

The proposal itself includes the addition of two new lifts, five new intermediate ski trails, four new advanced ski trails and 10 new gladed trails in the Teocalli drainage. The North Face lift will also be realigned.

The goal, according to the resort, is to have enough terrain to provide visitors with four to five days’ worth of skiing for intermediate to advanced skiers. In addition, the proposal adds snowmaking capabilities to existing terrain and 15 new miles of mountain bike trails—a 50 percent increase.

Aaron Drendel, a recreation officer with the Forest Service, said the tenor of the Mt. Crested Butte meeting was similar to that of the Gunnison open house. He credited that to the work that CBMR has done to inform the community about its proposal.

“There are no surprises,” he said.

Erica Mueller, the resort’s director of innovations and relations, said few major concerns have been raised to resort officials. Some hunters who use the area during fall have brought up their concern, but overall reception has been positive.

“The meetings last week in Gunnison and Mt. Crested Butte went really well. We were able to answer some great questions and have conversations with those in the community who came out to understand more. We really appreciate having the opportunity to do that,” Erica Mueller said.

Like Drendel, she believes that efforts to inform the community have played a big role in that reception.

“We have led a lot of tours back there in both the summer and winter months, presented to all three town councils, the Board of County Commissioners, as well as other stakeholders in town. This has gone a long way for us garnering support, as the project has been carefully thought-out to align with our purpose and need for the expansion,” she said.

The public comment period remains open through December 7, after which date the Forest Service will respond to information collected during the scoping period. The agency will develop alternatives to the proposed action, consider identified issues and develop mitigations as appropriate, and issue an Environmental Impact Statement for public comment.

According to Murphy, there will be also be a 45-day pre-decision objection period before the agency signs off on a final decision (this replaces the appeals process the Forest Service used to follow).

“Generally with an EIS it takes a year and a half, so it’s not going to happen overnight,” Murphy said. The SE Group, a third-party contractor that specializes in the NEPA process, is being funded by CBMR and will help move the project forward.

“The SE Group has done a lot of work on similar projects all across the nation. They’re a very credible and professional company, and the Forest Service is looking forward to working with them,” Murphy said.

A project overview, a full library of project documents, and the opportunity to submit comments are available at www.crestedbutte-eis.com

Meet the Candidates for Crested Butte Mayor and Crested Butte Town Council

Between now and the beginning of November, the Crested Butte News will be asking the candidates for Crested Butte mayor and town council questions related to issues in the community. We are requesting that the six candidates keep their answers to no more than 600 words. 

We are also asking readers to send us their suggestions for questions to ask in the newspaper. Send your suggestions to editorial@crestedbuttenews.com.

And do not forget that we will be hosting a Crested Butte News Candidate’s Forum on Sunday, October 18 at 6 p.m. at the CB Center for the Arts. We will give a couple minutes to those who wish to speak for (or against) the two proposed sales tax increase issues – the one funding the RTA and the other being put forth by the town council to address parks and recreation funding. Everyone is invited to come in person and ask questions of the candidates or the people representing the issues.

Ballots will be mailed to eligible voters starting October 13 and they must be returned by the official election day of November 3.

—Mark Reaman

Glenn Michel, mayoral candidate

Years in the valley: 18

Occupation: Self-employed carpenter

What motivated you to run for this position and what strengths can you bring to the role of mayor or councilmember?

I enjoy contributing to local politics and shaping the future of Crested Butte. My family and I have been fortunate to be able to live and work in the community and I believe it is important to give back to our town. After having served on the Town Council for four years and the BOZAR for five years—two as chairperson—I am ready to serve as mayor. My abilities to listen, find consensus, run effective meetings, and make good decisions based on solid reasoning are the skills that make me a strong candidate. Our town is ready for calm leadership based on trust and mutual respect—attributes that define my leadership style. In addition, I have a diverse knowledge base with bachelor’s degrees in economics, history, and politics and government. I serve on several boards and committees including the Mountain Express, Center for the Arts, the One Valley Prosperity Project, and the Big Mine Park master planning committee. Most important, I am engaged in the community. My wife, Gesa, and I both work and own our house in town, and are raising our two boys here. My experience, education, personal skills, and community engagement are strengths that I will bring to the position of mayor.


Define your idea of “prosperity” for someone living in Crested Butte.

As an original member of the One Valley Prosperity Project I have been working on the definition since March with stakeholders from throughout the entire valley and we just released this definition: “Prosperity is the opportunity to provide for ourselves in a meaningful and fulfilling way. However, we can only be a prosperous community if we achieve the delicate balance between providing the need for economic opportunity with protecting our other community values—the very reason we live here.”

Favorite sport: Skate skiing on sunny days and telemark skiing on powder days.

Favorite athlete: Aqib Talib, cornerback for the Broncos.

Favorite month in Crested Butte: September, as long as it does not become too busy!

W.E. “Skip” Berkshire, mayoral candidate

Years in the valley: 17+

Occupation: Retired. I was in the Air Force for 21 years where I was involved with buying and operating large satellite systems. I retired and went to work for Lockheed Martin as a systems engineer. After 12 years with Lockheed, I retired (again) and moved to Crested Butte.

What motivated you to run for this position and what strengths can you bring to the role of mayor or councilmember?

There are many reasons why I am running for mayor. Here are three:

1. I would like to improve the Town Council process so that we don’t have meetings that go until 2 a.m. in the morning. There is also way too much drama—let the Mountain Theater handle the drama, they’re good at it.


2. I would like to improve the council’s outreach to the community—we need to have more folks engaged in our important decisions.

3. I would like to ensure that we focus on keeping Crested Butte the unique, small town that it is. Let’s focus on preserving the quality of Crested Butte for the folks who live here. If we do that, people will come to visit because we are the real deal—not just another “me too” resort.

My service on the Town Council (2001-2009 and this last year) has given me great experience and knowledge in how the town works as well as understanding the key players and processes in the county and Mt. Crested Butte. I am open-minded and consensus driven—I do my homework. I work collaboratively. My service on the Crested Butte Nordic board (10+ years), the Land Trust board, and numerous other organizations has helped me understand the needs, values and people of our community.

Define your idea of “prosperity” for someone living in Crested Butte.

It’s not about money. It’s about a quality life; a life filled with promise, peace, security, health, family, friends, and opportunity. Just about everyone here in Crested Butte is here by choice. I’m sure that we share a lot of the same reasons that helped us choose Crested Butte. We love the community and the human scale of our small town. The recreational opportunities are unparalleled, and the soul enriching landscape nourishes our spirit. We have a world-class school, we’re kid friendly, we know our neighbors—we care for each other. We have fun and we are happy.

Favorite sport: I don’t have “a” favorite sport. In the winter I enjoy all forms of skiing—Tele, AT, Nordic (classic and skate), and an occasional snowshoe outing. Winter also affords the opportunity (sometimes) to dig a big snow cave in the backcountry and spend the night with friends decadently consuming wine and good food in a cozy white room. Skinning up Mt. Crested Butte during a full moon and skiing down in the moonlight after some hot chocolate and schnapps is also a favorite winter ritual. In the summer I enjoy mountain and road biking, hiking, climbing, backpacking, traveling and gardening (especially growing garlic and our own vegetables). I used to run trails a lot and would like to get back into running.

Favorite athlete:  Male: Pat O’Neil. Female: Tie—Stevie Kremer and Jari Kirkland

Favorite month in Crested Butte: September (we could use about 20-30 more days like our current ones). The beautiful fall colors, soft light and solitude are simply unbelievable.

Erika Vohman, council candidate

Years in the valley: 19

Occupation: Nonprofit founder and director, Maya Nut Institute; co-founder, owner, YawannaGO Camping Gear Rentals

What motivated you to run for this position and what strengths can you bring to the role of mayor or council member?

I am motivated to run for Town Council because I think we need some female voices on the Town Council. Women tend to have different viewpoints than men on some issues, and having an all-male council creates a scenario where women are underrepresented. I don’t purport to say I can speak for all the women in town, but having a seat on Town Council will create some diversity which is currently lacking.

My strengths come from my background in the nonprofit sector as founder and executive director of Maya Nut Institute, where the highest value is placed on qualities such as transparency, consensus, honesty and fairness. I have some professional credentials; I was a CNN Hero in 2010 and have won awards for my work with rural communities and the environment, including the St. Andrews Prize for the Environment, the E-Town E-Achievement Award and a UNEP Award for Best Community Forest Management project in Latin America. I have a lot of experience in consensus building and participatory processes with a wide variety of stakeholders via my work in Central America. These qualities and experiences will help me be a good councilperson.


I always try to be respectful of peoples’ time, and therefore tend to be concise and decisive in my discussion of controversial topics. I hope this will help keep meetings short. My background in biology and agronomy and my past 15 years of work in ecology, population biology and restoration have given me an immense appreciation for human impacts on natural systems and the importance of functional ecosystems for human quality of life. These are strengths I can bring to the council when we are making decisions that might impact our ecosystem, our economy and the future wellbeing of all species, including humans, both here in the valley and downstream.

My second business in town is a camping gear rental business, which I started, with my business partner Valerie Jaquith. One of our primary motivations with the business was to teach visitors how to camp using Leave-No-Trace principles because we were seeing a lot of abuse and overuse in the backcountry. I have learned a lot about the “camping demographic” here and how to teach Leave-No-Trace to campers, which is a strength that may prove useful in the coming years on Town Council.

Running two businesses in town helps me understand the weaknesses in the business economy in town and I hope that as a councilmember I can work to create a more favorable business environment that encourages small business growth and fosters economic diversity in the business sector.

Define your idea of “prosperity” for someone living in Crested Butte.

A prosperous Buttian has a home, a job and physical, emotional and financial health. They have at least some free time every week to enjoy our amazing place, and they have a job, hobby or volunteer opportunities that help them feel they are contributing to the prosperity of those less fortunate. 
Favorite sport:
Anything with my dog

Favorite athlete: Kurt Olson

Favorite month in Crested Butte: September

Aaron J. Huckstep, council candidate

Years in the valley: Almost 8

Occupation: Lawyer, current mayor

What motivated you to run for this position and what strengths can you bring to the role of mayor or councilmember?

My motivation is grounded in a desire to be a public servant. Public servants, especially here in Crested Butte, have the ability to make a positive difference in the community’s future. It is hard work (leadership is dangerous business), but it’s also very important work for the community at large. For me, one important motivation is to continue building and strengthening relationships throughout our valley—and thus building our capacity to collaborate and cooperate on intentionally creating the future we want. My strengths include experience (including four years as mayor), good judgment and a healthy dose of pragmatism. I also have a strong sense for action as opposed to words, and have the courage to approach issues from a new perspective.


Over the past four years, we have seen significant change in our community—some desired, some not so desired. As an individual, I have a very strong disposition for proactive, solution-oriented behavior. This means engaging with individuals in a very forward-focused manner, relentlessly believing that there is a means to achieve a desired outcome. And if the plans we make today prove to be problematic tomorrow, that’s okay—adaptation is a requirement in today’s world.

This is exactly why I am working on the working group focused on the upper East River Valley and summertime use. Our backcountry areas are second to none, but they won’t stay that way unless we act to create and protect the environment we want. This requires cooperative effort between the town, the USFS, RMBL, Gunnison County, CBMR and Mt. Crested Butte. Four years ago, this effort might have been perceived as an undertaking destined for failure. Today, it’s ripe for success. Projects like this prove why relationships throughout our valley are primary, above all else.

Define your idea of “prosperity” for someone living in Crested Butte.

I’m sure everyone has a little different definition of prosperity. For me, it’s this: the ability to safely pursue economic satisfaction and personal satisfaction in a place that inspires your passions, ultimately generating your own happiness. Underlying this definition is a presumption that your “place” (Crested Butte, for most of us) provides you with a greater-than-reasonable chance of success at succeeding in your pursuit. My desire to be on council, as opposed to continuing as mayor, is grounded in the need to make a living here—to create my own prosperity.

The One Valley Prosperity Project is concerned with addressing the latter part of my definition. Many economic indicators suggest that our community does not give most people a “greater than reasonable chance” at prosperity. Changing this, without simultaneously losing the quality of life we all have come to love, is the principal issue that must be addressed by the OVPP. People in our valley (and in many other places) fear that “economic development” of any sort will result in the loss of their quality of life—and that fear is a very powerful motivator. Figuring out what we can do to improve our situation, while protecting our quality of life, is a worthy and very challenging endeavor.

Favorite sport: Post-mountain biking beer-in-hand bocce in the desert.

Favorite athlete: Dan Loftus the morning after a long night out.

Favorite month in Crested Butte: May! It’s the only month (usually) when you can ski, bike and boat all in one day.

Laura Mitchell, council candidate

Years in the valley: 29

Occupation: Practitioner of ortho-bionomy and yoga teacher

What motivated you to run for this position and what strengths can you bring to the role of mayor or councilmember? 

I feel that I can bring a fresh and unique female perspective to the council. I am motivated to run because I think we need to make traffic safety in town and particularly 6th Street access a priority.


Define your idea of “prosperity” for someone living in Crested Butte.

To live an authentic life doing what you love at work and recreation.

Favorite sport: Skiing

Favorite athlete: Aaron Blunck

Favorite month in Crested Butte: August

Paul Merck, council candidate

Years in the Valley: 27 years

Occupation: Arborist

What motivated you to run for this position and what strengths can you bring to mayor or councilmember:

My motivational factors are that I have always been a volunteer in the community and enjoy a variety of experiences. My volunteer services in the community have included: EMS, Fire, Search and Rescue, Center for the Arts, Mallardi Theater, Heritage Museum, Arts district, and the Grand Traverse. At times I tend to sit at the Town Council meetings for the hot topics and now I am currently attending to learn more about the process. I believe it is my official time to serve the town and give back to the community as a council member.


The strengths I feel I can bring to the community are vast. After high school while pursuing a bachelor’s degree in mathematics I served six years in the Army National Guard as an engineering officer. I also worked with mentally challenged adults and at risk youth in a residential facility as a vocational director and a certified teacher. I spent five summers in Alaska in a remote Brown Bear lodge viewing and arranging guided trips and in the winter worked for CBMR as a ski patrol and ski school instructor. I have lived and volunteered abroad in New Zealand, Australia, and Costa Rica. I have served on boards including the theater board in Crested Butte and worked with the charter school on Oahu North Shore. Being self-employed, motivated, and owning two businesses in Crested Butte allows me the freedom to attend various forums and gives me the time to dedicate to the people of Crested Butte. My broad knowledge and flexible schedule will enhance serving on the council to deal with town issues.

Define your idea of “prosperity” for someone living in Crested Butte.

Prosperity for me is happiness, safety, and health. Living in Crested Butte requires work, however; I have strived to set up a life to spend time with my beautiful wife Lisa and wonderful children Joshua and Samantha. A work life balance is key to living here and enjoying the amazing surroundings and activities. Crested Butte has always felt safe to me because we are a family and all look out for each other’s wellbeing. Living here allows us all to have a healthy lifestyle and I feel it is my turn to share and continue in our town’s growth and keep the prosperity we can all enjoy.

Favorite Sport: Telemark skiing

Favorite athlete: My kids

Favorite month in Crested Butte: September

Visitors fill resort and towns during busy holiday

CBMR tops 6,000 skier visits in a single day

If the crowds on Elk Avenue have you thinking it’s busy in town, you’re right. Skier numbers at Crested Butte Mountain Resort (CBMR) have the base area practically bursting at its seams, and over the last couple of weeks, CBMR lodging has sold out several different nights. Read More »

Meet the candidates for Crested Butte mayor and Crested Butte town council

As one of the candidates stated to me after receiving this week’s questions, “Wow, I can’t wait to go home and pick that scab. Thanks.”
That sentiment wasn’t directed at the pizza topping question and it isn’t wrong. But like it or not, the ski area and its future through expansion (or contraction) of people and/or terrain will play a role that impacts the upper end of the valley for many years. Even if, as some contend, we are turning into more of a summer resort with a ski area, the health of the ski area affects us all. So, here ya go. Remember, ballots must be returned to the county by November 5.

—Mark Reaman
Read More »

Meet the Candidates for Crested Butte Mayor and Crested Butte Town Council

First things first…you should have your ballot by the end of the week. If you don’t have it by Monday, call the county election’s office. This week we are publishing part-1 of our coverage of the Crested Butte News Candidate’s Forum. Part-2 will run next week. We will also continue to ask the seven candidates questions until the Halloween edition of the paper, which means they get two more opportunities to reach out to you, the voters. Thanks…

—Mark Reaman Read More »

Meet the Candidates for Crested Butte Mayor and Crested Butte Town Council

Welcome to week two of “Meet the Candidates.” By the time you pick this up, the Crested Butte News Candidate’s Forum will be over. But we will continue to ask the seven people running for Crested Butte Town Council questions pertinent to the race. If you want to submit a question, please send it to editorial@crestedbuttenews.com. Ballots will be in the mail starting Tuesday, October 15. Thanks for participating…

—Mark Reaman Read More »

Meet the candidates for Crested Butte Mayor and Crested Butte Town Council

Between now and the beginning of November, the Crested Butte News will be asking the candidates for Crested Butte Town Council questions related to the community. We are requesting they keep their answers to no more than 500 words. We start with the proverbial softball where each candidate can brag about their strengths. The questions will get more specific as the month progresses. We are also asking interested readers to send us a question to ask the magnificent seven. Send your suggestion to editorial@crestedbuttenews.com.
And do not forget the Crested Butte News Candidate’s Forum is being held this year on Wednesday, October 9 at 6:30 p.m. at the Center for the Arts. Come and ask your potential representatives an interesting question…Thanks.

—Mark Reaman Read More »

CB is not a serf town…it’s a mountain community

One sign of good writing is getting a reaction from the reader. Roger Brown must be the new Hemingway.
To be able to convey an overwhelming sense of frustration to the point a reader can hear the writer screaming at a group of people is truly impressive. I appreciate the ability to start a conversation with words and believe me, there is no shortage of conversations going on about the letter in last week’s issue. In fact it could paraphrase a similar title from one of Hemingway’s novels—The Haves and Have Nots.
Let’s touch on the content of the correspondence addressed to the local residents of Crested Butte. I am sure Mr. Brown voiced some valid frustrations being discussed between some second-home owners in the valley. My guess is that most feel it was more than a tad overdone.
The thing that irked me, and most everyone I know, whether they are residents or second-home owners, was the overwhelming sense of “us versus them” embodied in the Brown diatribe. One of the appeals of Crested Butte has always been its sense of egalitarianism. The bank president would buy the lift op a beer; he in turn would head up 401 with the school teacher. The wealthy guy from Tulsa would be seen sharing a blanket and bottle of wine at Alpenglow with his friend who lives here and drives a bus. It isn’t a classless society but there is less class distinction in Crested Butte than in some other resort communities.
Brown’s letter asks why “we [second-home owners] should pay for music, your arts, and the open spaces you enjoy when you, who have the vote, don’t seem to care about the future and prosperity of this town…We pay taxes that support your schools, we patronize the local businesses that provide jobs that generate more taxes, and we contribute to the charitable organizations and events like the Musical Festival gala which raised tens of thousands of dollars…The problem is YOU!”

That’s quite an outburst, Ernest. To use another word from the letter, it is also “myopic.” It’s really our arts and our open space and our music. All of us, including you, like and appreciate all those things.
Look, most who live here understand the contributions of the second-home owners. Most understand that the visitors ultimately are major contributors to many of the quality attributes we have in this valley. But this letter seems to call out those living here as being a blindly stupid homogenous blob full of disdain and unappreciativeness. We’re not.
And while some residents might be jerks with a false sense of entitlement, most are decent folks who have chosen a life off the traditional beaten path. It is oftentimes hard for those on a more typical life path to understand the kooks who live here. But let’s be very clear, we are no one’s serfs.
We too pay taxes and patronize local businesses and donate to local charities with either time or money or both. We also choose to live here and deal with the plusses and minuses of raising our children in a high mountain village far from just about everything. And because we like where we live and choose to bring up our kids in Crested Butte, we do indeed care about the “future and prosperity of this town.”
Now, for many of us, prosperity means more than a higher income. Prosperity means clean air and clean water. It means good schools and educational opportunities. Prosperity means access to outdoor adventure, music, art and small-town relationships. It is interacting constructively with our friends and respecting our fellow citizens—including the second-home owners.
Believe it or not, the people who live here aren’t all the same. We disagree about a lot of things. We don’t all like each other all the time and we certainly don’t agree on everything. It ain’t all Happy Valley in Crested Butte. But while we sometimes fail at it, we try to understand differing viewpoints and accept differences of opinions, even when those differing opinions result in a direction we don’t always like. Hey, I’m a big fan of keeping more lights on downtown, but the majority of the council disagrees with me. No doubt “the volunteer” could have chosen a more tactful way to express appreciation for the donation, but one bad joke should not tarnish a whole town.
More money in our individual pocketbooks is nice and makes our lives easier, but it isn’t the most important thing for anyone living here. If it were, they’d be somewhere else. Money isn’t always easy to come by here but access to the mountains is—and that’s why we act the way we do. It takes a certain type of individual to live in a place like this. It isn’t always July bluebird days or February powder mornings. We aren’t here just to serve you, but we’re happy to have you and you will receive the respect you earn. But you have to earn it. That’s part of the egalitarian ethic in this place.

So congratulations on the ability to write and get a reaction. I wish I could do it every week. Well done. I might suggest going back and reading that effective piece of writing with a broader perspective and a bit less portentousness. Next time perhaps, throw in a bit more “we” and a lot less “us versus you.”
As to the admonition about the local residents being able to “afford it”—rest assured that they’ll be fine. To paraphrase another Hemingway title, The Sun Also Rises— whether you and I are here or not.