Friday, April 10, 2020

Search Results for: resort town life

Profile: Lisa Cramton

by Dawne Belloise

Lisa Cramton laughs about the common misspelling of her surname and quotes a sign she once saw at a swimming pool: “Welcome to our ool; notice there’s no ‘P’ in it and we’d like to keep it that way.” “No P in Cramton,” she reiterates with a smile and a jovial ambiance that’s characteristic of a life well lived.

Hailing from Oregon, Wisc. (pronounced Ore-gone), Lisa says the enunciation is kind of a joke among the locals. It’s an area steeped in dairy farms, about seven miles south of Madison, where 70 percent of her classmates came to school reeking of cows; then, there were the potheads and jocks woven into the demographics of the 160 kids in her high school.

Lisa was two years old when, she claims, her mom sold their souls at a horse auction when they fell in love with a three-year-old untrained Arabian stallion named Zee. The horse changed their lives as they bought 10 acres and began boarding horses and entering summer equestrian shows.

photo by Lydia Stern
photo by Lydia Stern

“We didn’t have a lot of money and we depended on Zee to win to get us home. And he usually won. He was always in the money,” Lisa says. She remembers with fondness those shows where she slept in the stall with Zee and her dad would make 7-Up pancakes and biscuits and gravy in the morning for all their friends attending the horse shows. “It was like being a carney, and that’s how I grew up.”

When Lisa graduated from high school in 1983, she was determined to be an athletic trainer. She figured if she wasn’t good enough to be an Olympic athlete she could help others to get there. Soccer was her passion, even though she started late as a high school sophomore and she was still learning the sport. When she attended the University of Wisconsin Madison (UW-Madison), she admits she wasn’t good enough to play for the college team but could play in the summer soccer league. Out of the blue, she decided one day to try out for team rowing.

“I walked in, took the physical tests for the crew team and they put me in a boat. They were picking girls who were six feet tall but who weren’t athletic. I was shorter [at 5 foot 8] but an actual athlete.”

In the end, it just wasn’t her thing and she left after two months. Her college classes were teaching her how to tape ankles and do electro-stimulation, rehab and recovery. “My claim to fame in school was that I had Chris Chelios and Tony Granato on two different tables at the same time, both getting electro-stimulated on their lower backs.” She proudly notes that Chelios went on to be the captain of the U.S. Olympic hockey team and the Chicago Blackhawks, and Granato played pro as well as coached the Avalanche. “They were big time and that’s where I was going. I wanted to help athletes be better athletes.”

But that path changed in Lisa’s junior year when she answered an enticing ad in her college paper: “Come see what a real ski area looks like.” She had been working at a ski shop throughout college and she bit—hook, line and sinker. “It was Crested Butte Mountain Resort’s [CBMR] student program, and they were offering people jobs, places to live and roommates… so my hand just shot up and I took my senior year off to come to Crested Butte for the winter of 1986 to ‘87. We got 40 days of snow that year. It was insane. I arrived with $50 in my pocket but my roommates took care of me. We lived at Chateaux and we spent every night at the Rafters spinning the big wheel for cheap drinks. If you lasted the entire season, CBMR gave you a $500 scholarship to go toward tuition, and back then that paid for a whole semester.”

Lisa recalls learning to ski on 195 cm. skis, long and skinny as was the style back then. Her boots were yellow racing Lange Tii. “I remember taking a ski lesson from Xavier Fane and all I got out of the lesson was that he wanted my boots.” She cracks up about the days you had to hike back to Phoenix Bowl; in fact, you had to hike everywhere because there were no Northface or Headwall lifts.

“I chased those guys around everywhere and that’s how I learned to ski. Back then, in the ‘80s,” Lisa reminisces, “this place was so real, so raw, I was just enamored by it. I couldn’t believe that I lived here. Everyone was so nice and wanted to show you why this place was so amazing and in your soul, so they shared it, invited you into their homes and we did everything together,” she says of her ski shop clan. “I knew I was going to stay here. This was it.”

Lisa would return to Wisconsin during the off-seasons to once again work in the ski and sport shop. Off-seasons back then were much longer, lasting from early April when the lifts closed to the Fourth of July. CBMR had an Alpine Family Summer Program where families would come for a week for various summer activities like rafting, hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding.

“I guided those families’ activities and if there weren’t enough families booking, I ran the burger stand at the top of the Silver Queen lift. The summer of ‘87 was my first summer here and my first mountain bike experience, and mountain biking was just getting rolling.” She spent the following two summers in Tincup as a camp counselor for Timberline Trails helping learning-disabled kids. She’s one of the few who, in her 25 years in Crested Butte, has had a total of only six jobs and has lived in a total of four places. She considers herself to be very lucky. She advanced from the job at the CBMR rental ski shop into their property sales manager, booking group condos.

Returning from an Alaskan summer adventure in 2001 where she built trails for International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA), she worked as manager at Cucina’s, a local favorite gourmet take-out. After five years, she chuckles, they were cursed with success and exhausted. “So we closed it. It’s nuts because people are still bitching about us being closed.”

Knowing they were going to close Cucina’s, Lisa applied for and got hired as store manager at the Alpineer. Travis Underwood had bought the store in 2006 after Mike Martin’s tragic death in a plane crash. Since Lisa and Travis were both from the Midwest, actually growing up only an hour apart, they were instant friends, and later, they began dating. Travis sold the Alpineer in the spring of 2010 and after 25 years in Crested Butte, Lisa moved to Los Angeles with Travis, her future hubby. She worked for a mountain bike company in L.A. Travis determined that if they were going to live in the City of Angels, they’d have to live by the beach, eat well and go hear good music. “And we did all of those things because he knew he was taking me away from my home. We saw the English Beat, Social Distortion several times, and Ladytron,” she said of just some of the shows they went to. “We really tried to do it right. We traveled to New Zealand because it was easy out of L.A.”

Eventually, they ended up in Phoenix, where Travis had lived before he moved to Crested Butte. Lisa went to work for Pivot Cycles as assistant to the owner and they stayed in Phoenix for nine months until Travis got an opportunity in Moab. They again moved, with Lisa noting, “We moved a lot because nothing was right. We were trying things on. Trying to figure out where we fit. I was working at Western Spirit in Moab, which was owned by Mark Sevenoff. It’s 2012 and at the end of the summer we moved back to Phoenix, and our whole goal became how to get back to Crested Butte.”

The duo started talking to Jeff Hermanson about locations for a Patagonia concept store in downtown Denver. Hermanson said he had a space in Crested Butte opening up, but they knew how tight the housing crisis was and at the time Lisa took stock of her household and counted. “We had two horses, five dogs, and a potential mother-in-law who had also lived in Crested Butte previously and wanted to return.”

But they signed a lease on the Penelope’s building anyway and crossed their fingers. Within 24 hours the perfect house for them was posted as available through the Gunnison Marketplace page on Facebook. It was a horse property that Travis had previously looked into buying. They immediately called the owner, John Messner, who said he wanted to rent it to people with horses—so they moved in. “Everything fell into place for us to return to Crested Butte. It was a trip.”

The plan was to open their new shop, Chopwood Mercantile, by mid-May of 2015. And they did. The name Chopwood is taken from the Chinese proverb that teaches, “Before enlightenment—chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment—chop wood, carry water.” Lisa also points out there’s the saying “Chop wood, it warms you twice.” They added “Mercantile” because they felt it gave them the freedom to have whatever they wanted in the store.

“It’s outdoor lifestyle done differently,” Lisa explains. “The influence came from the surf shops we saw in southern California.” Although their shop is doing very well in its first year, Lisa still works remotely for Pivot Cycles as athlete coordinator and events. Her boss said she was the “touchy-feely” part of Pivot and he wasn’t ready to let her go. “I travel all over the country to events, bike festivals, and visiting our sponsored athletes and I love it… it’s my passion,” Lisa says of her second job.

“Crested Butte taught me how to work my ass off, to do whatever it took to survive and because I was willing to do whatever it took to stay here, I learned amazing values and work ethics which enabled me to get a job in the outside world that I never imagined that I could do,” she says, reflecting on the Crested Butte lifestyle of survival on many levels that the “outside” world doesn’t have to deal with, and the actuality of Buttians having to be jacks-of-all-trades.

“I was the marketing manager at one of the fastest growing mountain bike brands in the world, Pivot Cycles, and it was purely because I was willing to catch whatever balls were in the air that needed catching to make things happen. I was the first female employee besides the owner’s wife. So here I was one of the few women in the mountain bike industry, mostly because of my experiences in Crested Butte and being a part of the initial beginnings of mountain biking as a whole. Mountain biking—it all started in Crested Butte and I had the dream job all because of what I learned here.”

Lisa had coached kids skiing here and she’s loved watching those young rippers and her friends’ kids grow up, and the best part, she says, is “To me, there’s nothing better than watching those kids want to come back after college. That’s the impetus of this place. The kids want to come back. How awesome is that? I wanted to come back. Crested Butte gets into your soul. The people are beautiful and would do anything for you, even carry you through tough times. So why wouldn’t we come back? And now they’re carrying us through our new business, helping us to be successful.”

To return the favor, Chopwood Mercantile has a table with locally made art and goods, like Jamie’s Jerky, Gail Sovick’s map jewelry, Ivy McNulty’s horse hair jewelry, Mimi’s Bouchard’s coffee, Polly Oberosler’s hot sauce, Luke Mehall’s books, Valarie Jaquith’s soaps and potions, and more to come. “We want to give back to our community so we support our locals’ goods. We’re really proud to be back and have a store we worked really hard on.”

Short term havoc

by Olivia Lueckemeyer

In this two-part series we explore the recent phenomenon of short-term rentals, the effect on the community, and what town is doing to solve the prevailing issue. This week, we delve into the stories of locals who have both suffered and benefited at the hands of industry giants such as AirBnB and VRBO. 

Over 22 months, local event planner Heather Sengelmann moved seven times.

Her story starts like many others, with the February 2014 flooding and subsequent condemning of Mt. Crested Butte’s Marcellina apartment complex. After scrambling to find long-term housing with two roommates, Sengelmann decided to go out on her own, eventually resorting to living out of her car while crashing in a Gunnison basement. Once off-season rolled around, and the housing trail once again turned cold, Sengelmann headed home to San Antonio.

“Unfortunately, the housing shortage caused me to take whatever I could find and there were always multiple people looking at the rooms before the renter selected someone,” she recounted. “I went home for six weeks after that for off-season, not because I wanted to, but because I couldn’t find anything to rent before June.”

After the Marcellina apartments flooded, 44 units were deemed unfit for habitation, and with some units housing up to three tenants, a significant number of locals were displaced as a result of the mass eviction. The majority of tenants were young 20-somethings working in the service industry, so as a result, the market was inundated with millennials on the hunt for affordable housing. And although the housing shortage has been a problem for many years, this event heavily contributed to the current dilemma that is the Crested Butte housing crisis.

Sengelmann eventually returned to the valley and resumed her search in a cramped, expensive market. Temporary subleases were her fallback, but the imminent reality of having to pack up and move again was always on her mind.

“From there all I could find that I could afford were four- to five-month subleases before the original renter would come back and I’d be on to the next place,” she explained. “I always knew I was going to have to move again, but I was hopeful the next place would be more long term.”

Finally, in the summer of 2015, Sengelmann landed a one-year lease on the mountain in what used to be a vacation rental by owner (VRBO). And while she is grateful to have found long-term housing, she fears she might once again fall victim to the unpredictable whims of the housing market.

“We plan to renew for another year in October, but we have no idea yet if they will continue to long-term or turn it back into a VRBO,” Sengelmann said. “It’s been nice to settle into a place finally, but the idea of having to move again in a few months scares and worries me constantly.”

Like many communities across the United States, the phenomenon of short-term rentals (STR) has had a noticeable impact on the local housing market. Landlords and homeowners who used to rent long-term to locals now opt for the more profitable route of listing their properties on STR sites such as VRBO or AirBnB. As a result, during the slow seasons of Crested Butte, once-vibrant streets are now lined with vacant, unlit homes.

Kochevar’s bartender Alex Shelley lost his housing to a VRBO in June, just two weeks before he was supposed to renew his lease, forcing him to move for the fifth time in two years.

“We were going to renew our lease and were even told we could, and then the landlord, who has been really good to townies for a long time, kicked us out and the people below us,” Shelley explained. “He is turning it into a vacation rental, and because of that, six people lost their housing.”

Shelley is no stranger to the housing crisis. Last summer, he was homeless for three months after his landlord, who hoped to renovate and sell the property, refused to renew his lease. To this day, the house sits empty with a “for sale” sign in the front yard.

He eventually secured housing in the Columbine Condominiums, but it didn’t take long for lightning to strike twice. Due to construction plans, his lease was shortened by two months, so in anticipation of the inevitable, Shelley didn’t waste any time in securing backup accommodations.

“I didn’t want to get stuck with a bag in my hand, so the first place I found I started paying rent on,” Shelley said. “I was paying two rents at a time just to make sure I would have a place to live when the other one ended, because I didn’t want to get stuck homeless again.”

Of course, many landlords handle the transition to STRs in a more civil manner. Avalanche bartender Jill Wilkinson will also lose her housing to VRBO next May. Thankfully, her landlord gave her a year’s-worth of notice, allowing Wilkinson plenty of time to search for accommodations.

“My landlord has been great in giving me ample notice that this is his decision,” she explained. “I am definitely upset about the fact that I’m losing my place to live, but I am not surprised. I’ve felt this was inevitable due to the significant amount of short-term rentals that have been created in the past couple of years in Crested Butte…

“I do understand and respect his decision. He feels he will make more money short-term renting,” Wilkinson continued. “There is a large construction project that has to take place on the building sooner or later, and I believe he thinks short-term renting will be more helpful in funding the expensive upcoming project.”

As a bartender, Wilkinson has noticed the negative impact the housing shortage has had on the service industry. With fewer places to live, businesses are constantly short-staffed, causing them to lower their hiring standards.

“Staff is hard to find, and when you do find someone they may very likely be inexperienced or not invested in the job they’re hired for,” she explained.

The housing shortage has left a sour taste in the mouths of many locals, and for some, it’s enough to resort to the most drastic solution: leaving the valley altogether. Local artist Jesse Blumenthal has lived here for nine years, but soon he and his girlfriend will move to Montana. Loss of housing over a disagreement with his landlord concerning what constitutes “commercial work” when using the garage to produce art, as well as the bothersome construction of a VRBO in front of Blumenthal’s rented accessory dwelling, prompted a move to Gunnison, which hasn’t panned out the way he had hoped.

“The last search for housing a little over a year ago was very difficult,” he recalled. “It took us over six months to find the place we live in Gunnison. We wanted to stay in the Butte, where we’ve formed more of a community, but it just wasn’t possible.

“While my girlfriend and I are working down in Gunnison, we have decided it’s just not for us,” he continued. “The community is different, and in a lot of respects that’s nice, but after so long in the social environment of Crested Butte, it feels less like I live somewhere magical and more like I could be Anywhere West, U.S.A.”

Blumenthal, like many others, acknowledges that the town powers-that-be are working to find a solution, but change is not happening quickly enough—and meanwhile, long-term residents are being phased out.

“We live in a small place, and the physical limits are such that with inevitable growth, we are seeing gentrification that has hit the fan in the last two years,” Blumenthal said. “I don’t think anyone expected change to come so rapidly, but it is undeniable. The response from the town has not been as aggressive as the gentrification. They’re trying, but not affecting change as fast as the other groups of second-home owners, short-term renters, and location-less income workers.”

On the other side of the debate are long-time locals who are struggling just as hard to survive Crested Butte’s difficult economic landscape, but who happen to also own property. Crested Butte News feature writer and vocalist Dawne Belloise is using a room in her home as a source of additional income, because without it, living in Crested Butte would be impossible.

“Because there’s no way I can make it in Crested Butte on my income, I short-term my tiny downstairs bedroom,” Belloise explained. “The income I make from AirBnB allows me to pay my property taxes and pay down the exorbitant credit card bills I’ve racked up in daily living expenses because it’s so damned expensive to live here. Even when I was driving the bus 40 hours weekly and working on weekly profiles and features for the paper, I still couldn’t keep my head above water.

“Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. I’ve chosen this life,” she continued. “This non-conforming lifestyle in a place that is so magnificent, you’ll do practically anything to stay here. Many locals short-terming their rooms or homes just need to make a decent wage, and local wages have never been comparable to the cost of living here.”

Stay tuned for Part 2 in next week’s issue, when we will delve into what the town is doing to tackle this pressing STR issue. 

TA made some strides last winter

Mt. CB support leads to “bright spots” in promotions

By Alissa Johnson

The challenge for the Gunnison-Crested Butte Tourism Association is well known: Summer is going well, and winter is more difficult when it comes to generating growth. But interactive marketing manager Laurel Runcie sees some bright spots in the picture, and she credits the Mt. Crested Butte Town Council with helping make them happen.

In an update to the council this summer, Runcie told councilmembers, “Summer went great last summer, and winter was more difficult, but the bright spots in our programming were all supported by Mt. Crested Butte funds. The work we did with your support was really big,” she said.

For the 2015-2016 ski season, Mt. Crested Butte awarded the TA $50,000 to help market the winter air program, $15,000 to film a Warren Miller video segment, and $20,000 to support the creation of a central reservations system. The funds were awarded through the town’s Admissions Tax Marketing Funds Grant Program.

Overall, the TA had set a goal of growing occupancy faster than its competitive set, which includes 18 mountain valleys, and ensuring a 70 percent load factor or higher for flights supported by a revenue guarantee from the Gunnison Valley Rural Transportation Authority—payments that go directly to airlines depending on how well a flight performs.

While there was some growth in occupancy in February, overall the Gunnison Valley fell back compared to its competitive set. Still, Runcie saw some successes during the winter, the most significant of which was the launch of an in-house travel agency, Gunnison Crested Butte Reservations.

“We exceeded our seasonal gross revenue goal by about 10 percent, so that was pretty phenomenal for a first-year program,” Runcie said. “We expected to lose $40,000 in our first year, and we only lost $20,400, so that was pretty fantastic.”

Runcie noted that those reservations generated $110,336 in room night revenues, and 72 percent of that revenue went to the north end of the valley. In addition, Gunnison Crested Butte Reservations sold 336 airline tickets, and 69 percent of air passengers booked lodging in the north, the majority of them staying in Mt. Crested Butte lodging.

Out of $362,771 in gross revenues, Runcie calculated that visitors spent approximately $15,560 on ski and snowboard rentals, $10,025 on ski lessons at Crested Butte Mountain Resort (CBMR) and $70,176 on lift tickets.

What stood out to Runcie the most about winter marketing efforts was that the TA and the in-house travel agency were far better at selling Crested Butte than outside entities. The TA partnered on special offers with Expedia.com and Ski.com, and they sold only 21 and 29 reservations, respectively.

“We’re convinced that [Gunnison Crested Butte Reservations] is necessary for the valley and to support the lodging community, so we will continue to subsidize it through LMD [Local Marketing District] funding as long as we need to,” Runcie said.

Runcie also told the council that the TA had gone through a brand building effort in Los Angeles, which became a new market after Alaska Airlines began to fly direct from L.A. to Gunnison. The TA produced a four-part video series that has more than 85,000 views on Facebook and another 7,000 on YouTube.

“We own those assets and will use them next winter. We are definitely targeting the more extreme demographic. We think that’s a real growth opportunity for us and we’re really targeting millennials,” Runcie said.

Millennials, Runcie noted, don’t plan ahead and often have to work during December, while their older and more established colleagues take time off. Looking ahead to next winter, that demographic could help boost January tourism. Runcie expects the video series to expand to Houston, Dallas and Chicago next year.

Finally, a Warren Miller video segment that featured skiing and fat biking also created some buzz and helped secure Fat Bike World Championships sponsor Borealis. “The real payoff from that will be in 2017. We’ll go on tour with CBMR and be part of the Warren Miller world tour,” Runcie said.

“Winters are tough, we all know that,” Runcie concluded, “But we learned a lot this past winter and we’re excited.”

Runcie noted that Mt. Crested Butte’s support of summer programs had been instrumental as well.

“You helped us launch a signage program last summer and this year we received $50,000 in funding from Colorado Parks and Wildlife that matches $60,000 from the LMD and the town of Crested Butte. We are putting in $110,000 worth of signs this summer. You helped us start that with the pilot program last year and it’s taken off,” she said.

On July 8, TA executive director John Norton told the Gunnison Valley Rural Transportation Authority that summer is looking good, and as far as summer flights, both Houston and Denver flights are filling up.

“We are talking about needs for winter,” he said. “And we are looking at Los Angeles with the Air Command and CBMR and coming to Mt. Crested Butte with a major, major program to promote the Alaska Air L.A service.

“We hope to crush that this year and expand the amount of flight days in the future,” he continued. “We think this is the year of L.A. and a year from now we will have a strong Alaska Air program in 2017-18 coming into the valley.”

Runcie told the Crested Butte News that support from local entities like Mt. Crested Butte and partnerships with entities like CBMR have been a big part of the TA’s recent successes. She credited CBMR with making Gunnison Crested Butte Reservations possible by allowing the TA to use their existing phone system—a high-cost, sophisticated system that allows phone numbers to be customized for the promotion. But the TA also partners with groups such as the RTA and the Gunnison/Crested Butte Chamber of Commerce.

“We’re a really small valley competing with much bigger ski resorts so it just makes sense for all of us to pool our resources,” she said.

Norton believes that kind of partnership goes one step further, supporting a broad spectrum of local entities. For example, “We met with the Nordic Council director and said ‘What can we do to help you?’ I guess the TA had never asked that question before.”

While the TA had promoted Nordic skiing, that conversation prompted the TA to change its support from advertising to offering prize money for the Alley Loop ski race. The TA also worked shoulder to shoulder with the Chamber on the Fat Bike World Championships and has supported events such as the Growler bike race.

For its part, the Mt. Crested Butte Town Council seemed appreciative of the TA’s efforts. Councilmember David O’Reilly credited the TA with getting creative, helping summer be great and winter improve.

Runcie responded, “I’d like it to be summer great and winter is great. That’s what we’re shooting for.”

Profile: Tully Burton

by Dawne Belloise

Tully Burton grabs a slice of pizza between phone calls, deliveries and the busyness of ongoing daily operations in his new restaurant and bar in Crested Butte South, named appropriately and deservingly, Tully’s. He’s a big guy with an even bigger smile and a lot more on his plate these days than pizza. But the restaurant is his dream, and he’s not only making it work, he’s living it and loving the challenges and rewards.

As the youngest of three brothers, and the self-proclaimed troublemaker, Tully may have gotten an early influence of restaurateur from his father, who managed an eatery where, as a kid, Tully would ace Pac-man while sipping a Shirley Temple. He grew up 17 miles north of Cincinnati in Green Hills, one of the greenbelt communities initiated by President Roosevelt in the 1940s as a self-sufficient town built to create jobs and economy. By the time he graduated from high school in 1999, Tully was enthralled with live music and traveling to concerts. He was also very gifted in a variety of mediums in art and was especially interested in architecture, which he put to use when he designed and drew up the elevations of his new building.

Photo by Lydia Stern
Photo by Lydia Stern

Immediately after high school, Tully was working odd jobs, trying to find a direction in life and enrolled in architecture courses at a community college. He later transferred to the University of Cincinnati but his friends were starting to move out of the area and he found himself wrapped up in wanderlust. One of his jobs was working for an entertainment company as a groundskeeper and the general go-to guy. It allowed him to see all the concerts and he could be backstage hobnobbing with the big-name artists. Being introduced to that kind of a scene at a young age triggered a desire to create something bigger, because after experiencing it from the perspective of a ground floor employee, he realized the complexity of production. “It’s not just that a person shows up and is on stage. It’s the coordination of what it takes to get to that point and get it done,” Tully grasped.

Tully’s love of music led him into the festival scene, and while he was enjoying the jam bands at the All Good Music Festival in West Virginia with 18,000 other partygoers, his van broke down, which turned into a life-changing event. He couldn’t leave so he signed up as a volunteer to do the massive after-fest clean up. He also noted that the variety of goodies you can find laying on the grounds after concerts like that can be a real bonus. He discovered that the company hired to organize the clean up, Clean Vibes, actually had contracts for several festivals so they had a core crew who not only got paid well, but were also provided with other stipends like hotel rooms, three meals a day, plane tickets, backstage passes and the opportunity to meet the performers.

At the time, Clean Vibes was new and inefficient, and it took a month for the 100 people they started out with to clean up the large acreage and farms where the festivals were held. Tully hired on with them and moved up to supervisor within the year. He stayed on for three summers before moving to San Francisco, feeling it was time to return to school.

Enrolled into the Community College of San Francisco, Tully was doubling up on art and business courses through scholarships and grants. He had a sweet deal with his art studio on the piers, looking out on the bay to the Golden Gate Bridge.

“I was doing more print making, getting into all the techniques, especially really old techniques, which are more interesting than Photoshopping,” he felt. But just as he was ready to begin his fourth year, California changed their funding parameters, and his tuition funding was cut completely. It was going to cost an exorbitant $40,000 just to finish that last year. It was a difficult decision, but he knew he couldn’t afford to spend that kind of money, so he packed up and left for Cincinnati, as a home base to return to work for Clean Vibes.

“I wanted to experience the city but cities are crazy and I was ready to get out. I got to know the underbelly and the scenes that tourists would never know, the heartbeat and life of the city,” he said of his time in San Francisco.

Back in Cincinnati, Tully was enjoying working for Clean Vibes. It was an easy life. During his first stint working for the company a few years prior, before the West Coast move, his work supervisor was Elise Meier, and they had a lovely fling but Tully admits he wasn’t interested in a long-term relationship since he had already decided to move to California. When he returned to Clean Vibes for the second time in 2006, the two reconnected while working at Bonnaroo.

“So, I’m at Bonnaroo in a short bus and rekindling our relationship, traveling to the different festivals doing cleaning up and at the end of that summer, Elise and I talked about what our plans were,” he smiles of “The Talk” couples eventually must engage in, and although he was planning to move to Asheville, Elise had been living in Crested Butte for a couple of years and told him it’s the only place she’d consider living, especially since she had just bought a house there.

“I had no idea where Crested Butte was. My dad’s family was all from Colorado but we only went to Rifle, once, to hunt. Elise hadn’t even moved into her house yet and was moving her stuff from Philadelphia.”

Tully drove into Crested Butte at night after flying in to Denver, so he didn’t catch even a glimpse of the mountains or breathtaking surroundings until he woke up the next morning and looked out his window from Crested Butte South up the valley and promised himself, “I’m never leaving! It was an amazing feeling. I’ve seen places all across the country and seeing Crested Butte relinquished the desire I had to travel. And still, to this day, every time I come around Round Mountain, I still feel the same.”

That was September 2006; he and Lisa have been together for 10 years now, and the really big news: the couple is expecting their first child early in October.

Tully’s first job here was managing the Crested Butte South General Store during the winter of 2006. It was busy and booming, he notes. The next summer he and Elise were still contracted to work the summer festival circuit with Clean Vibes, and returning in the fall, he had lined up a job at the Crested Butte Mountain Resort ski rental shop for that winter of 2007. Tully did the seasonal shuffle of being gone in the summer and back in the winter for four years through 2010.

He had never experienced a summer in Crested Butte until he starting working with Tyler Cappellucci’s Spring Creek Landscaping. He recalls hearing about the magnificent summers here and the valley was just starting to green when they were leaving for work with Clean Vibes. After finally spending an entire summer home, he was hooked—hiking, camping, rafting. “That clinched the deal,” he laughs. “Standing on top of a peak on the mountain made me feel that I had to figure out a way to never leave. It can be hard, it can be tough making a living, and there are sacrifices that you have to make but you make it work. You find a way.”

Winters now found him working at Red Mountain Liquors and back at the General Store where he was cooking, making the sandwiches and serving the Crested Butte South crowd. When the General Store closed its doors in the spring of 2011, Tully leased the building and went into business for himself that summer. He felt the economy was improving and he could make it work. He was carefully watching the trends and realized that the demands in Crested Butte South were increasing to the point that a grocery-convenience store, gas station, restaurant and bar in one location wasn’t what the down valley population needed.

He bought a commercial lot and broke ground on the summer solstice of 2015, opening Tully’s this April 2016. He smiles that as an owner you have to be prepared to be the cook, dishwasher, bartender, server, janitor and accountant. “You do it all when you own it,” he knows from experience.

And he’s grateful to the Crested Butte South community whose response and support have been overwhelming. “They’re enjoying it so much, along with the live music. It’s great. I’m here now with a dream and a goal that’s come true. It’s weird when they put up your name in lights,” he laughs about his new sign. “When I stepped back after the sign installers put it up I thought, ‘It’s game on!’”

PROFILE: Andy Tyzzer

by Dawne Belloise

Tucked away around a corner and down a darkened hall in the quiet back of the old town offices, there is Andy Tyzzer’s office, stuffed with Korean wall scrolls and cases of instructional books on the martial arts. Andy has been a Tang Soo Do instructor to many, with 900 students coming through his studio, ranging from the very young to retirees.

Tyzzer started training in the art in 1973, at Woodlands Hills Tang Soo Do in Woodland Hills, Calif., while he was still an undisciplined and skinny college student. He started with one of the best and most demanding instructors, Bob Burbidge, who had trained under the famed Chuck Norris.

Practicing the art had a profound impact on Tyzzer that carried over into his college studies and life in general. Although martial arts films were then at their height of popularity, the actual practice went far beyond the extremely difficult kicking and fighting. For Tyzzer, it was all about the tough training and even more important, the discipline and respect. The discipline not only made him a forward moving, better person; he discovered he was achieving much more in college.

He attended college first at Pierce Junior in Woodland Hills, later transferring to California State University at Northridge, best known as the epicenter of the last great California earthquake in 1985. Tyzzer was enrolled for a couple of years longer than he had anticipated because, he laughs, he was not only working to pay his way through school, but he was training hard in the martial arts—and then there was the beach. It was the mid-1970s and he had been in school for almost six years and felt it was time to get out of college. He was only one test away from getting his black belt in Teng Soo Do but he put his training on hold and graduated in 1979 with a bachelor of science degree in business with a concentration in finance.

While he was still in college, Tyzzer was already becoming a successful accountant in the business world. He participated in a pilot program called Service Corp of Retired Executives, or SCORE, started by the Small Business Administration to pair organizations with business students to help them with their financial management. He also volunteered for a pilot program through the IRS called Voluntary Income Tax Assistance, or VITA, which gave him college credit for being trained and sent to places where people were not doing their tax returns, either because they didn’t have the resources or they were (understandably) afraid to do so.

Both programs helped him put it all together in the experiential world when he started his own tax practice and was recruited by a large company, Tax Corporation of America. By the time he was 21, Tyzzer had his own business as an accountant and tax consultant. He hired two of his college friends to work with him and was well on his way to being super successful when Tyzzer decided he didn’t want to do that high stress career thing, especially in Los Angeles where he was living.

Although he enjoyed the finance aspect of his chosen career, he wanted out of the accounting part, and out of L.A. The mountains of Colorado, which he had visited right out of high school in 1973, began to call to him.

Having been a Boy Scout in his childhood home of New Jersey, and after hiking 50 miles of the Appalachian trail, and after he backpacked in the Olympic National Park for two weeks the summer after high school graduation, Tyzzer decided to visit his cousin, Patricia Dawson, in Crested Butte.

Tyzzer hitchhiked—the preferred mode of transportation for many in 1973—from Washington State to Crested Butte. He arrived at Dawson’s funky little river house at the end of the alley on the southwest side of town. All of the community was dirt, funk and far smaller, and truly the end of the paradisiacal road. He was 18, wide-eyed, and indefatigable when he hiked straight up the old lift line on Cement Mountain. He stayed there for an entire week, thinking about where his young life would take him and enjoying his time in the wilderness. This is what called him back to Crested Butte when he had had quite enough of the frantic L.A. lifestyle.

Tyzzer recalled the joy of spending his childhood on New Jersey lakes, where in the summers he went shoeless playing in the woods and on the beach, just a kid getting into the muck, fishing and sailing and swimming. And even though he had a highly successful business and a great relationship with his then-girlfriend, he decided to get the hell out of Los Angeles, noting that during the several years he had lived there, the west end of that valley had changed drastically. Where there were strawberry and corn fields by his home, there were now high-rise buildings and the air had turned foul. So he said to himself, “You know what? I want to move to the mountains.” He wanted to ski. And Crested Butte topped the list.

Tyzzer hitchhiked back out to Crested Butte in the autumn of 1979 and one week later had a place to live and a job as accountant with a local airline that flew small planes into Denver and Aspen, run by Ron Rouse and operating out of Crested Butte. During the huge snow winter of that year, the planes couldn’t get out to fly, and there was an economic turndown as a recession hit. The airline couldn’t maintain operations since they couldn’t fly and the business was forced to fold.

Luckily, Tyzzer was in demand as an accountant. The following year he worked for a large property management company on the mountain. In another unforeseen turn of weather events, Tyzzer recalled that there was essentially no snow in the winter of 1980 to 1981 and he took a job as the business manager for the Crested Butte Fire Protection District.

During all this, Tyzzer still wanted out of having to sit in an office all day; he wanted out of business management and finances. He was doing all the fun things Buttians do, skiing, backpacking and living life to its fullest—and in 1983 Tyzzer became certified as an EMT. He especially enjoyed the community service aspect.

He also attended ski patrol school and realized it was exactly what he wanted to do. At the time, Crested Butte Mountain Resort was pushing to improve the level of medical certification of ski patrol and he was already an EMT and had done well in the exam portion of patrolling. It landed him a part-time job on the mountain.

He was still working full-time for the fire protection district and a couple of years later was hired on full time with the ski patrol, leaving the fire district position. By 1986 he had switched to summer construction work while waiting for the lifts to start up again for his winter ski patrolling.

Twixt seasons, in the spring and early summer, he’d ski the peaks every morning, driving the old 1962 Ford up the Slate, sleeping in the back, waiting for the sun and then hiking up to carve lines down Augusta and still be to work on time by 9 a.m. Life was good.

One morning, while he was on top of Augusta, waiting for the sun to come up to warm up the snow, Tyzzer spied a couple of ski patroller friends and another he didn’t know. The trio was also hiking to the top for some turns, and it was there and then, on Augusta’s summit, that he met his future wife, Sue Heller. It was 1987, and they married in ‘95. The two have a daughter, Taylor, who is 18 and a Crested Butte Community School 2016 graduate, and son Dylan, 13, continuing on at CBCS.

After Tyzzer became a ski patrol full time, his thoughts returned to getting that black belt degree he had put aside so many years prior. He had continued to train solo in any spare time he had between jobs. He competed in a regional tournament in Grand Junction and won in his division. Tyzzer explains that the Korean style Do Bahk, the “uniform” of this particular martial art, is distinctive with its color lapel trim.

He hadn’t seen another Tang Soo Do practitioner in the area but there were many at the tournament who came from Aspen. Their instructor invited him to train with them.

During off seasons, Tyzzer moved to Aspen to continue his training, basically having to start over to achieve a black belt degree, which he finally earned in 1990 in his fourth year, a mere 17 years after he had put his goal on hold. He laughs that it might seem that he’s a little slow, but points out that life happens and you keep moving forward. Theoretically, there are nine levels of black belt degrees, and since then, Tyzzer has earned five, traveling to Korea five times to train and take the weeklong tests at the master level. Tyzzer is also a two-time national champion for forms in Tang Soo Do, winning the title in 2004 and 2006.

Tyzzer left the ski patrol in 1993 to create Tang Soo Do of Crested Butte. His first studio was in the old depot, and classes started up that November. The first year saw only adults practicing, but by the second year, the studio enrollment grew exponentially when he offered children’s classes.

He expanded to Gunnison in 1998 and the studio began teaching an accredited course in character education through traditional martial arts training in the middle school district.

They became a nonprofit in 2003 because Tyzzer felt it would better serve the community. When the Crested Butte town offices moved into the old school, Tang Soo Do was allowed to train there for free, where they remain today, although, Tyzzer says, it’s no longer free rent. They continue the instruction in Gunnison at the Gunnison Arts Center, with adult classes entirely full so they’re not able to accept new students.

Tyzzer smiles in his quiet way and says of his years in this valley, “Why go someplace else? This is the best place, and when we leave and then return, it just affirms that this is the best place for us. It never happens that we come back with a better place to be. Our roots just keep getting deeper. It’s a great place to raise a family.”

And of his lifelong practice, he walks the way of his art. “I’m not going to stop training. Ever. Someone once asked a painter, ‘Why do you paint?’ His answer, ‘Because I must.’”

Benchtalk June 17, 2016

Celebrate Father’s Day at CBMR

Join Crested Butte Mountain Resort to celebrate Father’s Day this Sunday, June 19. With the purchase of a child’s ticket, the father gets a complimentary ticket for use on Father’s Day. Also, please note that the BagJump opens June 29.

Spruce up local trails

Join the Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association this Saturday, June 18 at 10 a.m. to work on 401 and next Wednesday, June 22 at 4 p.m. to work on the Green Lake Trail. And don’t miss the Not2Bad (bike) movie premiere this Saturday after the workday at 5 p.m. at Butte 66, presented in partnership with CBMR. Raffle prizes, sweet movie, benefits to CBMBA! Come support the club that supports shreddy track!

Adult soccer tournament

The Crested Butte Kickers will be defending their home fields against teams from throughout the state Saturday and Sunday, June 18-19. The Kickers play at 8:30 a.m. at Rainbow and 11:30 a.m. at the school field. The championship game will be on Sunday at Rainbow at 1:30 p.m.

Celebrate Summer Solstice

The Summer Solstice is on Monday! Practice the Yoga Mala 108 to mark the sacred juncture of spring into summer at Yoga for the Peaceful. Modifications are offered to make this practice accessible for EVERY body! There is a suggested donation of $20 and refreshments will be served after the practice. Please come join us in the new studio space at 326 Elk Ave. on June 20.

Drum and dance at the Pump Room

Join special dance and drum classes. Dancers are encouraged to take drum class to experience and internalize the rhythm. Drummers are encouraged to play for dance class, putting their knowledge to work. The same rhythm will be explored in both classes on Thursday, June 16 at the Pump Room. Drum with Salim 5:30 to 7 p.m. and dance with Mecca 7 to 8:30 p.m. Classes are $15 each or $25 for both.

Encore Entrepreneurship at Crested Butte Library

Are you wondering how to discover and implement what you want to do with the next scene of your life? Local entrepreneur Deborah Tutnauer returns to Old Rock Library on Thursday, June 23 at 6 p.m. with a workshop for retirees or those dreaming of transitioning from their current career to something new. Call (970) 349-6535 to reserve your spot for this workshop.

Gunnison County Republican dinner

Remember to reserve your tickets for the Gunnison County Republican Lincoln Dinner on Friday, June 24, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Multi-purpose Building at the Rodeo Grounds. Call 349-7744 or email jmcgop@q.com.

Birthdays:

June 16- Hilde Nachtigall, Hope Wheeler, Sam Lumb, SusanMarrion, Jay Barton

June 17- Tamara Ayraud, Nan Lumb, Margo Covelli, Chris Zeiter

June 18- Mark Phwah, Ava Lypps, Chuck Cerio, John Banker, Heather Paul Featherman, Dave Penney, David Baxter

June 19- Polly Huck, Nolan Probst, Jimmy Faust

June 20- Heli Peterson, Margot Levy, Bill Frame, Jr., Vic Shepard, Lindsay Kopf, Alana Dietrich

June 21- Kathy Freed, Ward Weisman, Jake Jones, Jackson Melnick,

June 22- Mickey Cooper, Sandy Sullivan, Bess Baskfield, Tom Cutler

 

What is your favorite wildflower?

Cameo-meghan

 

 

Cameo-molly

Cameo-jenny

Cameo-cherise

Cameo-abby

 

TWILIGHT TUNES: An evening outdoor concert with Marc Berger was held at the Old Rock Library on Thursday, June 9. photo by Lydia Stern

 

CEREMONIAL PITCH: Interim town manager Bill Crank threw the ceremonial pitch to officially announce the start of this year’s softball season on Wednesday, June 8 at Gothic Field. photo by Lydia Stern
CEREMONIAL PITCH: Interim town manager Bill Crank threw the ceremonial pitch to officially announce the start of this year’s softball season on Wednesday, June 8 at Gothic Field. photo by Lydia Stern

 

LOCAL AND FRESH: The Farmers Market is now open on Sundays at the top of Elk Avenue. photo by Lydia Stern
LOCAL AND FRESH: The Farmers Market is now open on Sundays at the top of Elk Avenue. photo by Lydia Stern

Social media and social off-season

It is off-season. And while not at all good for general business, it is a great few weeks in the village for mental health. The pace is slow, the conversations longer and the hand waves more plentiful. Sort of like the new electric vehicle charging station at the Four-way, spring is a time for all of us to recharge and reboot.

For those who didn’t leave the upper valley when the ski resort shut down the lifts, most of us pray for sunshine and not much more snow. We’ve been somewhat lucky thus far but the forecast doesn’t look promising for the coming weekend—unless you like backcountry powder. And having hit Red Lady on a corn search last week, there is something to be said for spring skiing. And spring biking. And spring in general.

This week in particular has been really quiet. The Crested Butte Community School spring break corresponds with the week after the ski area closes so ski bums and families alike head out of town. I would guess 99 percent head south. Smart people. Looking at social media, it appears this year that Mexico, Costa Rica and Sedona are favorites. When the weather turns a bit chilly at 9,000 feet and Hartman’s looks wet, the Crested Butte stragglers vacation vicariously beneath the palm fronds of the beaches and along the red dirt trails of the Southwest that show up on the computer screens.

Resort residents understand the rhythm of how to spend the immediate days after the ski season closes. Filling in the weird winter tan lines, embracing some heat (anything above 50 degrees), and relishing the water that started as snow in the front yard but is now a spring desert creek or a wave in the ocean. Life on social media, as can be expected, is almost always good.

Until it isn’t.

There is the social media opportunity for outcry along with the Instagrams of blue skies and smiling kids. There are Facebook pages like “Crested Butte Housing Crisis” that seem to get a new post every couple of hours these days. People desperately ISO a place to live this summer since their current place is being sold. There are people offering rooms for rent at twice the rate of a few years ago or places in Almont for $800/month. It’s the same with the “Crested Butte Rentals and Roommates” page. There is a ton of people looking for a summer roof over their head. There are folks wanting to move here from the city looking for the relaxing mountain town vibe and willing to pay bank. They must be coming with money instead of counting on a job to pay the bills. I saw one post from someone ISO a roommate in Crested Butte South for the month of April. Good luck.

As an aside, it is rough out there right now but the town of Crested Butte has a few deadlines coming up dealing with potential affordable housing. Take a look at the story on page 1 of this week’s paper.

Then there’s the Gunnison Marketplace. That’s where a single mother might be selling her platypus to buy medicine for the cat. You can pick up a wonderful VHS collection for $5, some “Vail Sucks” stickers for $4 or see pictures of a tick on a person’s ear. Really. Love that always interesting site.

Should we even go into Crested Butte Bitch and Moan? There you can read about Christmas lights that never come down, cows on the public land, fat bikes, guns and weed.

Anyway, while a few minutes a day checking in on social media is addictive, it might be better to get outside as the snow recedes, the sun shines and people slow down. That way you can communicate directly with your neighbors and friends instead of just putting a Smiley Face emoticon under their picture of a burrito and margarita. An afternoon bench session on Elk or sitting outside on a deck with a beer is pretty smiley in itself in April and May. It is sort of the human equivalent of the electric car recharging station. Plus it is actually “social” and not just social media.

Happy off-season, everyone.

—Mark Reaman

Ochs resigns from chamber, takes position with CBMBA

Bringing energy and love to local trails

by Mark Reaman

Dave Ochs is stepping down as the executive director of the Crested Butte-Mt. Crested Butte Chamber of Commerce and stepping up as the executive director of the Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association.

Ochs has been with the chamber for two years and been a long-time volunteer with CBMBA.

“It’s been an honor to serve in this position and to work alongside the business community. I think we have achieved great things together,” said Ochs. “The chamber, the business community, and the greater Crested Butte community will always be near and dear to me. Working with the Tourism Association, the towns, the county, Crested Butte Mountain Resort, businesses, non-profits, members and entities up and down the valley has been a tremendous experience and some of the best collaborations I’ve ever been a part of. My time here at the chamber has been the best professional experience of my life to date, and I’m grateful for the support of this board, the staff here, and the partnerships we have created.”

Chamber board president Nick Danni said Ochs brought a unique energy to the position. “His work elevated our organization, and the events we host, to the highest level,” he said. “Dave has an amazing ability to bring people together and communicate at lightning speed. We will miss him tremendously.”

Meanwhile, CBMBA board president John Chandler said it was becoming increasingly clear that a paid executive director was needed to keep CBMBA and its mission going. “We’ve seen the need for at least the last three years and the trail network just keeps growing,” he wrote to CBMBA supporters. “We need someone to take this club and our Master Trails Plan from the drawing board into the dirt. However, the reality of taking a club 30-plus years in the making and making a massive move forward is pretty hard. It needed the right person, to say the least. This new director would have to keep the heart and soul of CBMBA as priority number one, would have to have lots of energy, and above all, be a true spokesperson for the love of biking in this great valley. The Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association has found the right person. We are so very proud to present Dave Ochs as our new, first, and only executive director.”

Ochs feels the CBMBA job is a dream come true for him. “This is a truly a dream! Since the day I moved here in 2001, worked on Tony’s Trail the next day on National Trails Day, met and worked alongside the bike community and more so the amazing people who have made up CBMBA, I have been hooked! It changed my life for the best, and it has been something I have been so proud to be a part of,” Ochs said. “To witness what CBMBA has accomplished and collaborated upon in the last five years alone is enough to fulfill a lifetime. To be offered this opportunity by my peers, the people that I respect and admire more than anything—the CBMBA board—is truly a humbling experience. They have been very good to me. The mountain bike community has been very good to me. It will be my deepest honor and privilege to serve them, this community, the greater mountain bike community, and our bicycle heritage and livelihood to the utmost of my abilities. More than anything, I look forward to this team’s updated CBMBA Master Plan, and fulfilling our mission to ride, build, and maintain the absolutely greatest trail system on the planet.”

Danni said Ochs would stay in the chamber position until the middle of May. The idea is to hire a replacement who is local by May 1 so there could be a couple of weeks of overlap between Ochs and his replacement. Ochs hopes to be “full steam ahead” with the CBMBA job by June 1.

Profile: Janet Biggers

by Dawne Belloise

Preceded by her spunky persona, Janet Biggers leaves an almost visible wake of color and a dab of pizzazz as she walks through the door. Today, as she’s done most of her winter days, she’s heading up to the mountain, this time for a late-afternoon ski. Her polka-dot glasses, bright yellow parka and red plaid ski pants are almost no match for her effervescent smile.

As an Oklahoma cattle ranch girl, Janet started skiing at Crested Butte with her family when she was 10. Her father was buddies with the original owners, Fred Rice and Dick Eflin, who started up the resort back in the early 1960s.

photo by Lydia Stern
photo by Lydia Stern

“Dad said to mom, ‘We’re loading the kids up in the station wagon and going skiing,’” Janet laughs, remembering the mountain when it was a sparse little resort with just the tiny warming house, the J bar and the gondola, Klinkerhaus and a couple of the condos. They slapped skis on her and put her and her siblings in ski school. “We had a blast when it wasn’t cold.” Janet recalled a day so cold that her fingers were frostbitten. After their first visit, she said, “All our family vacations revolved around skiing twice a year.”

Janet confesses that she was kind of a wild child growing up in Bartlesville, Okla., just north of Tulsa. “I just liked to have fun, go to parties, and I had lots of friends. We lived 30 minutes from town so for me to get to town and have fun was a big deal.”

Her parents sent her to boarding school in Colorado Springs from tenth grade through graduation, but it was Janet’s choice. “I thought it’d be cool, like college, and sort of like being on your own. We chose the school because of its proximity to the mountains.”

She signed up for the Broadmoor Ski Team because, she grinned, “If you could get on the ski team, you could ski train at night, you’d get out of the dorm and you’d get to go hang out with the boys. Plus, we got to travel and go to the ski races for the weekend. We went all over, including Crested Butte. I loved skiing and I was totally hooked by then.” She graduated in 1978.

But she didn’t much like school and like most teenagers, she had no idea what she wanted to do. So she enrolled at Western State College, basically to ski. “I did what I had to do to ski,” but her father intervened with the ultimatum, “This out-of-state tuition and you not going to class is not working out,” so he gave her a choice: she could either go home and attend college in Oklahoma or find a job in the Gunnison Valley.

“I found a job. I started working for Robel Straubhaar teaching in the ski school in 1980. Robel did put me through the ringer. I was sort of a spoiled brat probably in the beginning. He always thought I was gonna break but I never did. If I didn’t do a turn right he’d make me hike back up and perfect that turn. While in a training class, we’d have to demonstrate our turns and how we taught. Robel was tough but sweet.”

The year Janet started was a year of basically no snow, she recalls. “We had to take beginners up to the stables because that’s the only place there was snow. There was no snow at the base area. We didn’t have much work that year, so we skied what we could. They were putting hay down that year, people were skiing through the mud but we still had a good time.”

To this day, Janet still runs into adults on the mountain who she taught when they were kids back in the early ‘80s. “Molly was only 7 years old when I first taught her,” she says, as she remembers a child student. “She showed up in a cute fluffy pink outfit. They’re still coming here and now. Molly’s kids are in ski school, and I get to ski with them [although Janet no longer teaches]. There are still people from back then who I taught that I get to see.”

In the summers Janet would head back home to Oklahoma, staying with her parents and being a lifeguard at the pool but when the seasons changed, she would return to the slopes to teach in Crested Butte’s ski school. In 1982 she met Austrian ski instructor Franz Wiesbauer. They married the following year and spent their summers in Austria.

“It was beautiful there. I did what I could with the language, but it was my first time abroad,” she says of the learning curve of picking up enough German-Austrian to get by. The couple returned in 1986 to live year round, working in Crested Butte Mountain Resort’s marketing department covering the Oklahoma territory and living between Oklahoma and Crested Butte. When they divorced a couple years later, Janet stayed in her home state, although she would come back to ski and spend a month in Crested Butte every winter.

Back home, Janet got involved in teaching aerobics, which was a popular fitness fad in the era. She also went big, as she tells it, and started doing many triathlons. When she returned to Crested Butte to race as part of the Tulsa Ski Club, a faction of the larger Flatlanders Ski Club, she just never returned to Oklahoma.

It was 1990 and she spontaneously decided to stay. It was a good move and she met the love of her life. “I stayed through the rest of the winter. Johnny Biggers was on ski patrol. I was with my girlfriends and we were getting on the Silver Queen when Johnny saw me and asked if I wanted to ride the chair up with him while he ate his lunch. We had known each other at WSC, back in the day. The rest is history,” Janet grins. They married in 1993.

She started teaching skiing again while Johnny was building houses in the summer and patrolling in the winter. After he retired from the ski patrol in 1999, he and Janet started their business, Crested Butte Builders. The company did well, with Janet handling planning and interior design. In between work, they’d hike, bike, and boat but mostly Janet was still into running and spent a lot of time in the gym as well. She proudly takes credit for getting her husband into water skiing, trekking off to Lake Powell whenever they can.

These days, Janet and Johnny have settled into their busy lives, recreating whenever they can get away, but fully taking advantage of the outdoor life of Crested Butte that they love. “We have our small houseboat at Lake Powell,” she says, and they have a home in Grand Junction because Janet loves the heat and longer summer days where she can garden and there are loads of biking and hiking trails.

The milder seasons of the southwestern slope also mean she gets in a lot more golfing and more important, waterskiing.

continued on next page

continued from previous page

“My life is all really happy. We have the best of all worlds. I see still being here in Crested Butte for skiing and our business is here. We’re having fun here as well as Grand Junction, being on the water and enjoying life. Johnny’s family is in Australia, so we go once a year. We’ll be going to Sydney in May. My family is still in the same house I grew up, with lakes and fishing and swimming and I still enjoy my roots in Oklahoma. We’ve got all these great things to do when we spend time with our families. Between all the stuff we do here and running the business, we’re pretty much booked up.”

Janet feels that Crested Butte is truly her home though, having been coming here since the first decade of her life and the beginning of the town as a ski resort. “What I like about Crested Butte is that it’s a small town and I’ve had good friends here for years. This place feels like home since I’ve been coming here since I was a kid. This is home.”

Community calendar Thursday, March 24–Wednesday, March 30

THURSDAY 24
• 6-6:45 a.m. Meditation at Yoga for the Peaceful, by donation.
• 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 Class at The Gym. 349-2588.
• 8:45-10 a.m. Vinyasa Flow / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 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.
• 9 a.m. Nia Dance Workshop at Sunset Hall in CB South.
• 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 CORE Stability. 970-901-4413.
• noon-1 p.m. Lunch Break Yoga / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• noon-1:15 p.m. Prana Vinyasa at Yoga For The Peaceful.
• 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 Thursday of every month)
• 5:30 p.m. Communion Service at Queen of All Saints Catholic Church.
• 5:30-6:45 p.m. Vinyasa Flow / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 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. AA Open Meditation at UCC.
• 7 p.m. Maundy Thursday at Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church. 641-1860.
• 7 p.m. Women Supporting Women Group Discussion at the Nordic Inn.
• 7-8:30 p.m. Kirtan at Yoga For The Peaceful, by donation. 349-0302.
• 7:30 p.m. Narcotics Anonymous meets at 114 N. Wisconsin St. in Gunnison.

FRIDAY 25
• 6:30 a.m. All Levels Iyengar Yoga Class at The Gym. 349-2588.
• 7-8:15 a.m. Hatha Yoga / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 7:30 a.m. Barre Class at The Gym. 349-2588.
• 8:30 a.m. Alanon at UCC Parlour (in back). 349-6482.
• 8:30-9:15 a.m. Aerial Conditioning with the Crested Butte Dance Collective at the Center for the Arts. 349-7487.
• 8:45 a.m. Core Power Yoga Class at the Pump Room.
• 8:45-10 a.m. Warm Power Vinyasa Fusion / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 9-10:30 a.m. Prana Vinyasa at Yoga For The Peaceful.
• 9 a.m.-noon Open Wheel Throwing with Laura Cooper Elm at the Art Studio of the Center for the Arts. 349-7044.
• 9:15-10 a.m. Open Aerial Dance with the Crested Butte Dance Collective at the Center for the Arts. 349-7487.
• noon Closed AA at UCC.
• noon Metabolic Blast at CORE. 970-901-4413.
• noon-1 p.m. Lunch Break Yoga / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• noon-1:15 p.m. Restorative Yoga at Yoga For The Peaceful.
• 1:30-3 p.m. Hot Power Yoga / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 4:30-5:45 p.m. Aprés Ski Yoga at Yoga For The Peaceful.
• 5:30 p.m. Communion service at Queen of All Saints Catholic Church.
• 5:30-6:45 p.m. Happy Hour Flow / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 6-7 p.m. Poi Playshop at the Pump Room.
• 7 p.m. Good Friday Service at Oh Be Joyful Church. 349-6237.
• 7 p.m. Good Friday Service at Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church. 641-1860.
• 7 p.m. Good Friday Service at Union Congretional Church. 349-6405.
• 7-9 p.m. Pick-Up adult Karate, Fitness Room at Town Hall.

SATURDAY 26
• 7:30 a.m. Open AA at UCC.
• 8 a.m. Indoor Biking Class at The Gym. 349-2588.
• 8:45-10 a.m. Prana Vinyasa at Yoga For The Peaceful.
• 9-10:15 a.m. Stretch and Shred / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 9-10:30 a.m. Community Yoga at the Sanctuary Yoga & Pilates Studio, Gunnison.
• 9:15 a.m. All Levels Yoga Class at The Gym. 349-2588.
• 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Saturday Local’s Session, alpine and snowboard clinics for adults at CBMR. 349-2211.
• 10:30 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.
• 1-3 p.m. Adventures in Knitting with Laura Elm at Kasala Gallery. 970-596-0015.
• 4:30-5:45 p.m. Aprés Ski Yoga at Yoga For The Peaceful.
• 6:30-7:30 p.m. Guided Sound Meditiation at 405 4th Street.

SUNDAY 27
Happy Easter !
• 7-8 a.m. Meditation at Yoga For The Peaceful, by donation.
• 8:30 a.m. Mass at Queen of All Saints Catholic Church.
• 8:30 a.m. Easter Service at Oh-Be-Joyful Church. 349-6237.
• 8:30 a.m. Easter Breakfast at Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church. 641-1860.
• 9 a.m. Easter Service at Union Congretional Church. 349-6405.
• 9-10:15 a.m. Slow Flow at Yoga For The Peaceful.
• 9:30-11 a.m. Community Free Yoga Class / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 10 a.m. Easter Service at Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church. 641-1860.
• 10 a.m. Easter Service at Oh-Be-Joyful Church. 349-6237.
• 10 a.m.-2 p.m. CB Nordic hosts the Backcountry Bistro at Magic Meadows Yurt.
• 1 p.m. Beading Class: Herringbone Wire Wrap Earrings at Pema Dewa. 349-7563.
• 4:30-6 p.m. Restorative Yoga at Yoga For The Peaceful.
• 5-6 p.m. All Saints in the Mountain Episcopal Eucharist at Queen of All Saints Catholic Church. 349-9371.
• 5-6:15 p.m. Hatha Yoga / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 5-7 p.m. Pick-Up Adult Basketball. HS Gym, CBCS.
• 6 p.m. AA meets at UCC.
• 6:15-6:45 p.m. Free Breath Work and Meditation / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 6:30 p.m. Duplicate Bridge at UCC. 349-1008.
• 6:30-8:30 p.m. Crested Butte Improv Writer’s Group in the Town Hall Community Room. (Open to all ages/types of writers & visiting writers).
• 7 p.m. Gamblers Anonymous meets at the Last Resort.

MONDAY 28
• 6:30 a.m. Strength and Conditioning with Janae or Pip at CORE. 901-4413.
• 7:30-8:30 a.m. Community Flow at Yoga For The Peaceful.
• 8:45 a.m. Core Power Yoga Class at the Pump Room.
• 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. Prana Vinyasa at Yoga For The Peaceful.
• noon-1 p.m. Lunch Break Yoga / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• noon-1 p.m. Slow Flow at Yoga For The Peaceful.
• 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 p.m. Yin/Yang Circuit with Ginny and Jess at CORE. 901-4413.
• 5:30-6:45 p.m. Yin Yoga Nidra at Yoga For The Peaceful.
• 5:30-6:45 p.m. Gentle Restorative Yoga / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 5:30-7 p.m. Moms in Motion class at the GVH rehab gym.
• 5:45 p.m. Boot Camp Class 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 29
• 7 a.m. Core Class at The Gym. 349-2588.
• 7-8:15 a.m. Hatha Yoga / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 7:30 a.m. AA/Alanon Open at UCC. 349-5711.
• 8:45 a.m. Indoor Biking at The Gym. 349-2588.
• 8:45-10 a.m. Warm Power Vinyasa Fusion / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 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.
• 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 Yoga / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• noon-1:15 p.m. Prana Vinyasa at Yoga For The Peaceful.
• 1:30-3:30 p.m. Tech Tuesdays at Old Rock Library. 349-6535.
• 1:30-4 p.m. Women’s Tips, ski clinic at CBMR. 349-2211.
• 4-5:30 p.m. St. Mary’s Garage. 300 Belleview, Unit 2. Free clothing & bedding.
970-318-6826.
• 5:15 p.m. RedCord suspension class at Western Pilates Studio in Crested Butte.
596-1714.
• 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.
• 5:30-6:45 p.m. Vinyasa Flow / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 5:30-6:15 p.m. Aerial Conditioning with the Crested Butte Dance Collective at the Center for the Arts. 349-7487.
• 5:45 p.m. All Levels Iyengar Yoga Class at The Gym. 349-2588.
• 6-7 p.m. Community Connection Night at UCC Parlour.
• 6:15-7 p.m. Open Aerial Dance with the Crested Butte Dance Collective at the Center for the Arts. 349-7487.
• 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.
• 7-8 p.m. Movement & Meditation at Yoga For The Peaceful. $10 donation. 349-0302.
• 7-9 p.m. Pick-up adult Karate, Fitness Room at Town Hall.
• 7:45-9:45 p.m. Drop-In Adult Volleyball, CBCS MS Gym.

WEDNESDAY 30
• 6:30 a.m. All Levels Iyengar Yoga Class at The Gym. 349-2588.
• 7:30 a.m. Rotary meeting at the Grand Lodge.
• 7:30-8:30 a.m. Prana Vinyasa at Yoga For The Peaceful.
• 7:30-8:30 a.m. Vinyasa Flow / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 8:45 a.m. Mat Mix at The Gym. 349-2588.
• 8:45 a.m. Indoor Cycling class at The Gym. 349-2588.
• 8:45-10 a.m. Ashtanga-Vinyasa / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 9-10:30 a.m. Prana Vinyasa at Yoga For The Peaceful.
• 9:30-11:30 a.m. Gray Hares meet at the CB Nordic Center for nordic skiing.
• 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. Lunch Break Yoga / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• noon-1 p.m. Yoga Therapeutics at Yoga For The Peaceful.
• 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. Boot Camp Class at The Gym. 349-2588.
• 5:45 p.m. Indoor Cycling at The Gym. 349-2588.
• 6-7:15 p.m. Kaiut Yoga at Yoga For The Peaceful.
• 6:30-8 p.m. Restorative Yin-Yoga-Nidra / CB Co-op at Town Hall.
• 7 p.m. Move the Butte DVD Showing at Majestic theater, free for cast and $5 suggested donation
• 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.
• 7:45-9:45 p.m. Pick-Up Adult Indoor Soccer, CBCS HS Gym (through March).

Events & Entertainment 

THURSDAY 24
• 5-7 p.m. Sunset Soiree at The Umbrella Bar at Ten Peaks. 349-4554.
• 6:30 p.m. CBMT presents a Dinner Theatre Murder Mystery: Girl’s Night Out at AlpenChix Restaurant.
• 10 p.m. Karaoke upstairs in the Sky Bar at the Talk of the Town.
• 10 p.m. Naive Melodies play at The Eldo.

FRIDAY 25
• 5-7 p.m. Sunset Soiree at The Umbrella Bar at Ten Peaks. 349-4554.
• 5:30-7:30 p.m. Becky Chappell Artist Reception at the Piper Gallery of the Center for the Arts. 349-7487.
• 7 p.m. Evelyn Roper and Sean Turner play at The Talk of the Town.
• 9 p.m. KBUT’s Soul Train at Bonez with raffle at 11:45 p.m.

SATURDAY 26
• noon Crested Butte Snowsports Foundation presents Snow Fest 2016 at CBMR.
• 5-7 p.m. Sunset Soiree at The Umbrella Bar at Ten Peaks. 349-4554.
• 6-9 p.m. Wylie “Crazy Horse” Jones plays at Montanya Distillers.
• 10 p.m. Cranford Hollow plays at The Eldo.

SUNDAY 27
Happy Easter!
Old Rock Library is closed.
• 9 a.m. Golden Easter Egg Hunt at CBMR.
• 10 a.m. Easter Egg Hunt, cross country ski or snowshoe at The Crested Butte Nordic Center.
• 11 a.m. Kids 10 and under Easter Egg Hunt at the Mountaineer Square ballroom.
• noon Easter Egg Hunt in the lobby at the Elevation Hotel & Spa with an appearance by the Easter Bunny. 970-251-3030.
• 3-7 p.m. Happy Hour Sundays with Chuck Grossman at the Eldo.

TUESDAY 29
• 4:30-7 p.m. Colorado Parks and Wildlife Big game licensing open house at the Gunnison wildlife office, 300 W. New York Ave.
• 6-8 p.m. GCSAPP/Choice Pass is hosting a discussion with a police officer at the Crested Butte Community School multi-purpose room.

WEDNESDAY 30
• 7 p.m. Oh Be Dogful Rescue presents The Champions. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. 349-5047.
• 7 p.m. Flauschink Slide Show by Dr. Duane Vandenbusche & A Flauschink Tale w/ George Sibley upstairs at the Talk of the Town.
• 7:30 p.m. Pool Tournament upstairs at the Talk of the Town.

Kids Calendar

THURSDAY 24
• 9 a.m. Munchkin’s Music & Dance Class in the High Attitude Dance Academy in Gunnison.
• 9:30 a.m. Tumblebugs in Jerry’s Gym.
• 3-8 p.m. Youth Gymnastics, Jerry’s Gym at Town Hall 349-5338.

FRIDAY 25
• 9 a.m.-1 p.m. 1/2 Day Little Innovators for ages 3-6 at The Trailhead. 349-7160.
• 11 a.m. Big Kids Storytime for ages 3-7 at Old Rock Library.
• 3:45-5:15 p.m. After School Art Classes at The Art Studio on Elk Ave. 349-7160.
• 4-5 p.m. Tang Soo Do Martial Arts classes for youth with West Elk Martial Arts, Town Hall Fitness Room. 901-7417.

SUNDAY 27
• 9 a.m. Golden Easter Egg Hunt at CBMR.
• 10 a.m. Easter Egg Hunt, cross country ski or snowshoe at The Crested Butte Nordic Center.
• 11 a.m. Kids 10 and under Easter Egg Hunt at the Mountaineer Square ballroom.
• noon Easter Egg Hunt in the lobby at the Elevation Hotel & Spa with an appearance by the Easter Bunny. 970-251-3030.

MONDAY 28
• 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 29
• 11 a.m. Romp & Rhyme Storytime for families and kids of all ages at Old Rock Library.
• 3-8 p.m. Youth Gymnastics, Jerry’s Gym at Town Hall 349-5338.
• 3:45-5:15 p.m. After School Art Classes at The Art Studio on Elk Ave. 349-7160.

WEDNESDAY 30
• 9 a.m. Munchkin’s Music & Dance Class in the Fitness Room at Old Town Hall.
• 10 a.m. Munchkin’s Music & Dance Class in the Fitness Room at Old Town Hall.
• 11 a.m. Babies and Toddlers Storytime at Old Rock Library.
• 3:45-4:45 p.m. Tween Scene (ages 8-12) at the Old Rock Library.
• 3:45-5:15 p.m. After School Art Classes at The Art Studio on Elk Ave. 349-7160.
• 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.