Weather…the new X factor for growth?

I get the more mellow vibe in CB this week, and I like it — but I sure as heck don’t get the heat! It’s not Sacramento heat where it’s 115-degrees but walking Maroon Avenue Tuesday afternoon was a bit brutal for those (me and Mojo) not in heat shape. I guess it all depends on where you live and what you are used to but it sure was wilting hot.

With the Labor Day holiday behind us, summer is supposed to be over in the high country…or was that the old normal? The fall colors are just starting but the grass has returned to crunchy, and the midday sun is brutal at 9,000 feet.

Heck, it feels like we are experiencing some of the hottest days of the entire summer this week with temps on Elk Avenue in the low 80s. I feel bad for those working the Stash in their black shirts. It never used to get into the 80s up here at all, even during the high point of summer, but 80 is becoming more and more common. No climate change here, right?

The phone forecast says it will stay in the 70s through the weekend. Starting about Monday we’ll see the high temp slip to 69 in CB and 75 for Gunnison. Whew! But for mid-September, honestly, that’s still…interesting.

What’s up?

A new scientific study released last week says there’s still hope that global temperature increases resulting from human-caused climate change can be curbed, which would avert even more catastrophic heat in some areas on Earth.

But even if the global temperature goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change are met, study authors warn that heat waves are destined to become more prevalent in coming years. “The frequency of extreme heat waves is likely to increase by 3 to 10 times by the end of the century, depending on where you live in the U.S.,” study lead author Lucas Vargas Zeppetell told USA Today. 

Depending on where you live! Oh boy.

Sacramento was 115 degrees Tuesday. Salt Lake was 104, Las Vegas was 112 and Scottsdale recorded 109. The Coachella Valley was 123 degrees BTW.

When some talk about how people will stop moving here because interest rates are climbing and people are returning to their offices in the big cities, look at the weather. If hitting 90 or even 100+ degrees is starting to be the uncomfortable normal for places like Dallas, Sacramento, Tulsa, Phoenix and even Denver and Salt Lake City for months at a time, does it not make sense that those who can afford it will look for a cool high mountain respite like Crested Butte?

The electric grid across the country is getting overwhelmed in these hot places so even air conditioning is not a guarantee. The idea of spending some income for a house in the mountains that can provide an escape for the family from the increasingly oppressive heat is a no brainer. 

The great Gunnison Valley real estate boom of 2021-22 where people blindly bought any structure on the market seems to have taken a step back but that doesn’t mean things aren’t still selling. They are and while there have been some “price improvements” they’re still not exactly cheap. 

This place not only has a plethora of amenities that make this valley a really nice place to live year-round, it has nature and a bit of luck on its side. You see, as the world changes with climate issues, we seem to be in one of the sweet spots. Consistently cool evenings, pleasant days compared to just about anywhere else in the world and idealistic mornings that seem made for fairy tales add to the appeal. 

It’s not perfect and it can be a challenge in both summer and winter. Until this past season, it’s been way too dry for way too long causing drought and wildfire worries. But this summer we seemed to return to an average amount of rainfall that helped – something that we can’t count on every year. When it snowed 100 inches in 10 days last winter, that was in our wheelhouse, and we found something to do with it. People that can deal with the “challenges” will really like it here.

Growth is and always has been a primary issue that is top of mind in the valley. Once based primarily on tourism and its impacts, the new future growth concerns could be based more on weather than on say, another festival. Just a thought.

The high temperature here next Tuesday is forecast to be 67 degrees. In Sacramento it is supposed to be 94. Where would you want to live?

—Mark Reaman

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