Crested Butte Mountain Resort prepares for 60th anniversary season

Peachtree, no reservations, AJ…

[ By Kendra Walker ]

As the snow starts the fly, Crested Butte Mountain Resort is hard at work prepping for the 2021/2022 winter season. With snowmaking just around the corner, a new Peachtree Lift, the return of some classic mountain events, no reservation systems to stress over, and the celebration of the mountain’s 60th anniversary, there’s a lot to look forward to this upcoming season.

“In December 1960, Fred Rice and Dick Eflin purchased the Malensek Ranch on Mt. Crested Butte and later applied to develop skiing on our mountain,” said CBMR communications manager Will Shoemaker. “The following year, the U.S. Forest Service issued a special-use permit and, with that, lift-served skiing began at the end of the road. Sixty years ago, in the winter of 1961-62, the ski area opened with a generator, a J-bar and a T-bar and the rest, as they say, is history.”
Employees across the resort are working hard to prepare for CBMR’s 60th season ahead, including preparing to begin snowmaking once temperatures are favorable on the mountain. If conditions allow, snowmaking typically begins around November 1, said Shoemaker.

“Our snowmaking team monitors weather conditions and is dedicated to making snow whenever conditions allow,” he said. “Our goal is to provide our guests with the best early season ski and ride experience possible and conditions that are sustainable for the duration of our season. Once temperatures on the mountain are favorable for snowmaking, our resort snowmaking teams will begin making snow and getting us ready to open.”

What’s new?
The new three-person fixed grip Peachtree lift is fully installed and CBMR hopes to open Peachtree lift for Opening Day on November 24, weather and conditions dependent, said Shoemaker. “We’re very much looking forward to unveiling this impactful capital improvement to our guests as a stepping stone to our steeps,” he said. The new lift will service beginner terrain, increasing uphill capacity by 50 percent and grading of terrain will create a more consistent pitch across the entire slope.

“In addition to installing our new Peachtree lift, our teams have been hard at work all summer long preparing the resort for winter to ensure we can provide the best guest experience possible this season,” said Shoemaker. This included the painting of the Red Lady Express and Silver Queen Express lift terminals, as well as Painter Boy lift towers and terminals.

Mountain-goers can look forward to the return of some beloved local events, so get ready to bust out the costumes in true Crested Butte style. “We’re very excited to bring back classic events like our Al Johnson Telemark Race and Ski Town Breakdown this winter,” said Shoemaker. And the 60th anniversary celebration will continue throughout the season, he said.

Hiring and housing
As for hiring, “We’re feeling good about the season ahead,” said Shoemaker. “We have a great base of seasonal employees who have shown enthusiasm to return, and we have ramped up our winter season recruiting efforts. In addition, we’re pleased to welcome back international employees this winter.”

Vail Resorts recently announced a major investment into employee wages and benefits, including a new $15 per hour minimum wage at its Colorado resorts, “Which is the single largest investment we’re making as a company heading into this coming season,” said Shoemaker.

Starting this season Vail Resorts will also be offering paid sick time off to all seasonal full-time employees who are not already eligible, in addition to COVID-19 Emergency Sick Leave (ESL). “All of these employee investments are also bolstered by our comprehensive benefits and perks, including our Epic Wellness program, employee and dependent passes, and discounts on F&B, lodging, and retail. We encourage anyone interested to visit jobs.vailresortscareers.com for openings and opportunities,” said Shoemaker.

However, CBMR employees are still on their own for housing, but Shoemaker said some options might be in the works. “Employee housing continues to be a focus for us heading into the season,” he said. “We currently do have some options on the table for employees and we’re continuing to actively explore additional opportunities.”

Health and COVID protocols
Vaccinations will not be required for guests wishing to access resorts to ski and ride this season.
“However, if you wish to access our indoor, on-mountain quick-service restaurants, proof of COVID-19 vaccination will be required for those 12 and older,” said Shoemaker. This includes guests in the ski and ride school programs that include lunch. Like last season, guests will be required to book a reservation to eat. All employees will be required to have COVID-19 vaccinations as well, and will undergo daily health screenings.

Face coverings will only be required in indoor settings, including restaurants, lodging properties, restrooms and retail and rental locations.

“Safety continues to be our top priority and we remain committed to doing everything we can to help keep our guests, our employees and our communities safe this season,” said Shoemaker. “We are fortunate that the core of our business takes place outdoors in beautiful, vast mountain settings. However, as we welcome guests from around the world to the indoor experience at our resorts, we feel it’s important to do our part to combat the spread of COVID-19 and to keep our guests, employees and communities safe.”

In the coming weeks, Shoemaker said that the mountain will share more information on the specifics of Opening Day on November 24. Shoemaker also confirmed that there will be no reservation system to access the lifts this year and lifts will be loading at normal capacity.

“We are excited to kick off our 60th anniversary season on November 24,” he said.
Pray for snow!

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