Jesus, Brad Pitt, a rich Saudi, Whatever and Eleven (inches)

I just like the idea of the title. It has a touch of rumor, innuendo, religion and societal impact. And yet it’s just another week in an increasingly booming Crested Butte. (And just what some expect with another issue of the Crested Butte News.)

Let’s start with the goods. After spending a good part of this past weekend in a Rav4 driving a bunch of different mountain passes in snowstorms, I got home to see I needed to snow-blow the driveway late Sunday night. While that might not be a cause for celebration after a long day, in a ski town it can be an enjoyable chore. My kid had been in the back updating me on the powcam and everything looked good for a Monday morning skip-work type of day. It was. As I stood in the crowded bus the energy was sweet. Walking out to the base area to see the Queen line extending waaaaay beyond the maze, I apparently wasn’t the only one starting the work week by skipping work. Fresh pow is one reason many of us moved here, after all.
And it was worth it. While not even close to being an “epic” pow day, it was still a pretty good day in a lean year. It was the best day of the season and the energy that normally comes with two feet of fresh was there after 11 inches. Anxiousness, excitement, smiles, some aggressiveness, some strategy and lots of lightness. It was a good time on the ski hill.

Brad and Angelina
So the phone was going off while I was in Denver with people asking whether it was true that Brangelina was in town. It was true. I never saw them but apparently the superstars were on a family vacation with the kids and learning to snowboard. Can you imagine the life? Sure they can buy pretty much whatever they need without thinking, but consider the chains. While they likely flew in a private jet and rented a luxury house (VRBO?) they had everyone in town looking for them. They apparently hired out a restaurant so they could eat in private. They have to. Can you imagine being those two and going into the Avy or Brown Lab for an après ski beer and wanting to have a nice conversation? Weird life. You know, many of us live a lot of that life without the chains.
Now there has been some concern expressed about the “what ifs.” What if Brad and Angelina buy their seventh house here? What if the paparazzi click them with the Butte in the background? How will that impact the town? Can you say turbo-drive? Change would be a-coming quickly.

One percent of the one percent
Speaking of turbo, we are now host to a high-end winter driving school. Apparently several verrrry wealthy, the one percent of the one percent, were here for the Aston Martin “Colorado on Ice 2015” that is touted as an opportunity to “Hone your driving skills on our private, custom built ice-driving track where a challenging handling and dynamic course has been created.”
Apparently a Saudi prince who had never seen snow flew in for the event.
According to Road and Track, “No word on price, but expect to trade an amount of cash commensurate with the wallets of a typical Aston owner for the honor of joining the festivities.”
Again, we’ve all had the same experience for free on Monarch Pass. I certainly did Sunday and while I wasn’t in the same British car that James Bond drives, the Rav4 held up pretty well. We are living the life.
So Jesus—it’s sort of a Bond thing. Adam Bond. That’s right, former Crested Butte actor Adam Bond is playing Jesus this March on CNN’s series “Finding Jesus. Faith, Fact, Forgery.” Adam filmed the six-part series in Morocco last fall. According to social media, last week’s Crested Butte News profile subject Ian Wrisley is planning a viewing party this Sunday for the premier at Pita’s in Paradise. There’s a 6 p.m. pregame warm-up and a 7 p.m. start. Come for the drinking games, the pitas and Jesus.

And speaking of drinking games, this notice is just in from USA Today: ”Whatever is coming back. Bud Light is bringing back the advertising stunt known as ‘Whatever, USA,’ which it first staged last year in the tiny Colorado ski town of Crested Butte. The brewer flew in 1,000 contest winners for a weekend of free beer, games, concerts and a parade, using the stunt to generate excitement and content for an ongoing campaign seeking drinkers who are ‘Up for Whatever.’”
“’It was, without a doubt, our most successful campaign of last year,” said Alex Lambrecht, Bud Light vice president.
“Bud Light plans to stage Whatever in a different—and still secret—town this year the last weekend in May.”
I wonder how much money the next place will get. And I’d love to know where it is happening and take a weekend trip there.

Twenty years ago I might have written a piece telling the prince, Brad, Angelina and the kids that while I hoped they had a good time here, please stay away and go enjoy Aspen. If the super-famous and super-wealthy start hanging out here, there will be a lot more change and impact than VRBO issues. Affordable housing will be used for doctors instead of waiters. But now, if Brad and Angelina like it here, good on ‘em. If the one percent want to fly in here, I say welcome. If Jesus likes it here, welcome back. Money and fame have never defined the people who are attracted to Crested Butte. I hope that stays the same.
We all changed the place when we showed up. I don’t like all the changes but I love a lot of them. Plus I figure there are still a few secret trails out there to get away to if need be. So I won’t write to discourage people to stay away. I would, however, ask that they honor the place they came to and respect the people here and not demand anything that’s not here. Demanding is just so un-Crested Butte anyway.

 On Monday it wasn’t Brangelina or a wealthy Saudi driving an Aston Martin or a local Jesus making people happy. It was the return of winter. It’s the fluffy white stuff that makes being in the mountains worthwhile in the cold months of the year. If the über-wealthy and über-famous want to join us on a powder day—cool. And maybe they should try to have an après ski drink in a public restaurant. I think Crested Butte could handle it and they might like rubbing shoulders with the locals. What could go wrong?

And for those that look for weed references and facts each week…legal retail and medical marijuana sales in Crested Butte in 2014 totaled $2.3 million. Here’s to more powder between now and April!

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