That sort of season

Not everyone is sick but everyone at the very least knows someone who is sick. It is that time of the year in the Crested Butte petri dish. There’s the major flu bug that puts the best of the local athletes on the couch for a couple days. Then there’s those with the cold that won’t leave. Thank goodness I’m in the cold category.

Having a cold slows one down. Through the fog of not quite feeling sick but not quite feeling good, you notice a few more things. A coffee mug filled with Emergen-C sits on my desk next to the zinc. I notice what I’ve never seen before: My desk is a mess. Sticky notes are everywhere, filled with reminders and internet passwords. Someone really should clean that up.

The slowdown has reminded me that I haven’t used the snowblower much this year. That’s too bad but not every season can bring a two-week storm that makes Crested Butte the center of the snow universe (like last year). I mean, those who live here feel we are the center of the universe most days anyway, but when a community gets a bit depressed at the lack of a pounding, puking, gusting, dumping storm that other towns fear, you know it is a lean year. We’re still well above average if you calculate the last two seasons and as the center of the universe it is good to always be above average.

Taking the dogs for a walk over the weekend, I noticed the Nordic trails look really pretty good right now. Yeah, the willows are sticking up and it is thin in places but the tracks are fast and fun. This weekend the resort conditions were pretty darn good as well. The snow was (generally) soft and certainly you could get a bit of an edge in the Triangle compared to early January, so that is saying something. We’ve moved beyond the point of having to ski the first hour of the day to feel safe. Though, you might still consider keeping to the edges at the end of the day.

It is during winters like this that the local marketers begin to wonder if people will come here despite the lack of copious snow. The idea of attracting new people from Chicago to come and take a dogsled tour or a fat bike ride out to Peanut Lake is probably wishful thinking. That’s where the big picture marketing plan comes in. Spending the time and energy to develop a clientele that feels a personal tie to the place and understands that the conditions are pretty good when they aren’t fantastic pays off in the long run. It’s that theory of making Crested Butte someone’s “go to” vacation because they like the unique vibe, whether it is dumping or not. They could be satisfied with their vacation experience skiing or riding or getting a cup of coffee with friends. They understand there are great restaurants and good music in town.

There are times to sit on a bench and chill and times to party ‘til 2 a.m. Still to come this season are the Fat Bike Worlds, the Alley Loop and the Al Johnson if you like costumes. Of course more snow would help all three of those events but I get the feeling they’ll be just fine with or without a ton more of the white. Getting return visitors by providing a fun, unique “experience” and not just drawing on new people every year to come and put a checkmark on their ski-the-steeps bucket list is happening more and more but it takes time to cultivate.

Anyway, the cold was taking over my brain there for a minute and I was rambling. What I really want to write about is Brush Creek. Just kidding.

My phone is showing there are four days in a row with snowflakes on the daily forecast starting Saturday. None of the days say there is a 100 percent chance of precipitation. But in a year like this, let’s take the snowflakes.

In the meantime, you or someone you know will probably have to down some more Emergen-C and take another zinc. It’s that sort of season. Slow down, look around and enjoy what we have this year. It’s not last year’s Snowmageddon—but it’s not that bad.

—Mark Reaman

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