Things to think about between storms

It’s not easy being on a sunny beach when literally feet of fluffy powder are falling on the High Lift for days on end. But as usual, someone had to be the sacrificial lamb and this time it was me and the family. We left town December 31 in flurries. On January 1 is started nuking and except for a couple of extremely cold days in the middle, it didn’t stop until the day I returned on January 14. Talk about taking the Zen test of “Be Where You Are.”

You’re welcome.

Still, we would consider contributing to community happiness again—not that I relish the idea of missing out on the light and fluffy but I would consider a community donation to pay for another trip down south to bring you the goods. Send your donations (to pay for the trip and plowing bill) to the paper. Thank you—and enjoy.

Honestly, it is something to watch a Crested Butte Snowmageddon unfold from Central America. Following online, there was the initial overwhelming communal joy, followed by some frustration as it is hard to ski and shovel and stay ahead of snow maintenance when it is coming at two inches an hour for days at a time, followed by more joy and more shoveling and the need to fit in some work between creamy ski runs. And then some big negative attitude copped as lifts stopped and the ski area shut down with a mere 15 inches on the powcam, and some craziness obviously set in from the shrinking snow caves that used to be homes, from the lines at the NFL as ski patrollers cruise by without saying when the goods will be ready, and from watching your vehicles disappear beneath humps of snow. But then there was the absolute ski town pride at being on top of the state snow count and the mention of Crested Butte in every publication and broadcast outlet in Colorado—and many throughout the country—followed by the wonderment of where to put the last few feet of snow you have shoveled when you can’t reach the top of the snow hill. Not to mention where to park on the single-lane streets, how to keep skiing when the snow is heavy and the legs are burning, and where to find a plow and how to ski Cesspool when it has the angle of Crystal… all while watching the Front Rangers stream in and fill the mazes since they couldn’t help but hear about the miracle of the great 2017 storm and so on and so on. Whew.

The gratitude toward the Crested Butte professional ski patrol was evident on the interwebs and it appears that aside from some knee issues, everyone survived Snowmageddon with a smile. There wasn’t much chat about STRs and ADUs but the Vinotok fire issue still snuck in social media posts, as did the school closing and hope for Phoenix and Third Bowl to open.

It was an impressive storm event and one that the family might help with again—keep that in mind as Open Snow predicts more storms.

Meanwhile, if one was so inclined, there were plenty of things to ponder while riding the bus between shoveling and the slopes. There is the new report from Oxfam that just eight individuals own as much wealth as the poorest half of the world’s population. That’s 3.6 billion people. According to Reuters, Oxfam called in its report for a crackdown on tax dodging and a shift away from “super-charged” shareholder capitalism that pays out disproportionately to the rich. While some of the richest men in the world such as Bill Gates and Warren Buffett give away much of their wealth to philanthropic causes, Oxfam’s head of policy Max Lawson said that “If billionaires choose to give their money away then that is a good thing. But inequality matters and you cannot have a system where billionaires are systematically paying lower rates of tax than their secretary or cleaner. There are different ways of running capitalism that could be much, much more beneficial to the majority of people.”

The Republican Congress wasted no time in beginning the process to repeal Obamacare. It sure needs some fixes but the repeal without a hard replacement could be as chaotic as lifts breaking down on record powder days. The Congressional Budget Office is predicting that within the first year, 18 million people would lose insurance. Reports indicate that in addition, premiums for people buying coverage on their own would increase, on average, by 20 percent to 25 percent relative to what they would be if the Affordable Care Act remained in place. And that’s just the short-term effects that a “repeal-and-delay” strategy would have. Once Obamacare’s tax credits and Medicaid expansion expired fully, the CBO says, millions more people could lose insurance and premiums would rise yet again. Ultimately, the CBO concludes, 32 million more people would be uninsured and premiums would be twice as high―again, relative to what they would be if Obamacare stayed on the books.

Fixing it is one thing; getting rid of it without a solid plan is sort of reckless.

But the event that might end up being more chaotic in the long run than feet and feet of snow pounding a small town in the mountains will take place on Friday. Donald Trump will be inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States.

As weird as that sounds to many people up here in a liberal ski town, there is nothing to do but wait and see. Like it or not, Trump won the race under the rules in place. He isn’t afraid to bash Democrats or Republicans in a unique manner. I have no idea what he will or will not do. The Dems seem stuck in molasses so there isn’t much confidence to look forward to there, with the Pelosis and Schumers running the same soundtrack on repeat.

The truth is that the Republicans have total control of the government and will now own whatever comes out of Washington. Lord knows, I have no real idea of what that will be but they must now take responsibility instead of simply pointing fingers, exaggerating the horror and casting blame. It will be an interesting few years with the Tweeter-in-chief in charge and there is nothing to do but wait, watch and stay involved.

Or maybe we just keep skiing. The forecast looks promising for more snow. If you want to guarantee it, as I mentioned earlier, there’s something to being the sacrificial lamb if everyone would just send in their contribution…

—Mark Reaman

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