Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Search Results for: resort town life

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 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
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.

Towns want more time for better solution to local Internet upgrades

Swapping planned microwave technology for fiber-optics

In less than a year, Eagle-Net Alliance is scheduled to wrap up its work building the infrastructure to give rural Colorado communities better access to the broadband Internet they need to remain competitive in the information age. But local leaders across Gunnison County and the Western Slope are saying the plan falls short of what is needed. Read More »

Resort gets green light to build parking garage

Construction on the three-level structure should start in August

Crested Butte Mountain Resort (CBMR) got a preliminary nod of approval on Wednesday, June 20 from the Mt. Crested Butte Planning Commission for plans to build a parking facility near Manor Lodge. Construction begins later this summer and will include at least 127 parking spaces. It’s all part of the envisioned Town Center, where the Mt. Crested Butte Performing Arts Center could someday be located.

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Opportunity for new life and energy

For those of us in a ski town, this weekend marks the start of a new year. We don’t have to wait for the calendar to turn. For us, it is the start of a ski season that signals a new beginning, and that season starts Wednesday, November 23. Hard to believe lifts will be turning before the next issue of the News hits the streets.
In what’s become an annual ritual, the Chamber of Commerce hosted a winter preview and as reported by Alissa Johnson on page 1, it appears changes are ahead. Everyone from the Adaptive Sports Center to the new Irwin 11 experience to Crested Butte Mountain Resort is trying to figure out how to make the overall picture better. Not everyone is depending on just the resort to fill every need, and that’s a good step forward.
The Nordic Center is looking at ways to keep the Grand Traverse participants in the valley longer. They want some new trails and hope to have a new and improved nationally acclaimed Alley Loop. Yoga is the latest winter event, with a seminar in February. Irwin has upped the ante in the valley for luxury experience and that was evident as they showed off their elegantly redone Scarp Ridge Lodge last weekend. It sets a new bar for the community and adds a different type of client to the Crested Butte destination.
CBMR has hired a young, family guy to lead them into the next era. CBMR vice president and general manager Ethan Mueller is showing a desire and ability to bond with the overall community that the previous administration didn’t. He, along with the similarly aged new mayor of Crested Butte, Aaron Huckstep, have a real opportunity to work together and bring some new life and energy to this place. Throw in cooperation between Mt. Crested Butte, Gunnison, the county and perhaps even the college and things feel different. The collaboration model worked last summer and that energy should be taken into the winter.

As pointed out in a recent Notions column, the people who come here really appreciate the “character” of Crested Butte. It is real and it is still here. We have a long way to go before we can go toe-to-toe with the Aspens, Park Cities and Vails in terms of ski resort amenities. We probably will never be able to compete in that arena. They have too much terrain compared to us and have had way more money thrown in their cauldron. But that doesn’t mean we have to sit back and watch the numbers shrink here and rise there. With some new energy and hard work by those who can make a difference, Crested Butte can entice more clientele by building its product. That doesn’t mean selling out and plastering up some Euro-feel buildings, but it does mean thinking about how to be the unique, character-filled place that draws people who want a real Colorado adventure experience. A product with a character that reflects this place will set us apart.
I was in Vail a few weekends ago and the place blew me away. It was high-end and frankly, quite nice. If I had a wallet full of cash, I could see the appeal and even the charm. But like parts of Disneyland, I was ready to get out of there after a few days. Crested Butte can learn from the good things places like that have done and stay true to its roots.
Giving people a memorable experience with more things to do while they’re here is a good idea. Making them comfortable counts. Not everyone will be comfortable in a place with painted buses and runs named Body Bag. Working together or coming up with new and interesting draws like Yoga Rocks the Butte, an expanded Grand Traverse, a high-end snowcat operation at Irwin, or a revived Songwriter’s Festival is a great start. They all speak to this place.
Real people. Honest product. That’s a smart focus—because we sure can’t compete with size and high-end amenities. That’s not part of our reality right now.

Now, going beyond simple optimism, the ski area still sets the tone up here. The new blood heading up CBMR can help change the company’s old perception at this end of the valley and in the county as a whole if it wants to put in some work and open itself up a bit. CBMR is still the big dog at this end of the valley, but everyone wants to speak his or her peace and at least be heard about how to get to the next level.
Ski area executives might consider the suggestion I’ve heard on the street for a “Town Hall meeting” in early December (during a slow time after the opening). It could be a place for citizens to brainstorm and the ski area to listen and perhaps take a few notes. It shouldn’t be a debate or dialogue. You can bet CBMR would get a bit of criticism and more than a few crackpot ideas—but the execs may actually hear a really good idea or two that has never been thought of before. That would make it worthwhile and be another example of inviting the community into the fold to collaborate toward success and bring a real community a bit closer together…

Seeing Huck and Ethan share a drink (at an Irwin event, no less) and talk about future potential is cause for real optimism. But optimism is a feeling we all have at the start of a new season. Heck, I hear it’s going to be another huge La Niña snow year.
Now it is time to take that optimism and turn it into something real. Real like Crested Butte.

Candidates for Crested Butte Town Council make impressive showing

But one will be voted off the island

For the first Crested Butte News Candidates’ Forum in years, if not decades, not one audience member asked about the potential for a molybdenum mine on Red Lady or a ski area expansion. Instead, the majority of questions focused on the economy, local business and regulations in Crested Butte.


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Meet the CandIdates for the Crested Butte Town Council

Given the nature of a county mail-in ballot, some people may have voted already. We miss the celebration that used to be an election day instead of an election period. Anyway, this will be the final CB News question for the candidates for Crested Butte town council.
They will be gathering Thursday, October 20 at the Center for the Arts to answer your questions at the Candidate’s Forum. For those who have not yet returned their mail ballot, you have until November 1. That’s coming up sooner than you think.
We hope the Meet the Candidates series has helped shaped your reasoning when it comes time to check the ballot.
—Mark Reaman
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