Cold, colds and a cranky contrarian

We’re a ski town dang it. Cold comes with the territory but so does snow. And the latter has been lacking. It’s been lacking so much that CBMR’s social media posts are showing photos from last year at this time when Crested Butte was getting pounded. The resort is telling people to cross their fingers and hope that the bluebird days are gone for a while. That’s getting wild and sort of shows the type of mountain we are — no night skiing green runs here people…

Not to jinx anything, but all the powder forecast gurus (Joel Gratz and Chris Tomer) are predicting we will get feet of snow before this weekend ends. Wednesday was promising as there were cars off the road and snow accumulating on the hill. Ahhhh, winter. Bring it!

More than a few people are down for the crud count. It sounds like the valley is getting pounded with the crud and it’s a tough one putting people in bed 14 or 15 hours a day and hanging on for about 10 days. It’s apparently not all COVID, not all RSV, not all the flu but acts like the worst cold possible. Sympathy to those struggling with it during the dark days of January. Wash your hands, don’t cough on the bus, and stay hydrated.

The lack of snow and number of sick friends pushed me into a bit of a cranky mood. It made me examine some of the typical viewpoints expounded in town and take a contrarian view. For example: the proposed roundabout at the bottom of the hill as you enter Crested Butte. Granted, a roundabout wasn’t part of the old mining town history we embrace, but we honestly don’t support mining here these days either. 

That entrance intersection at Sixth and Red Lady is the biggest regular car cluster in the North Valley and constructing a roundabout to handle the morning and afternoon trade parade, the school’s Mad Mother 500 and the lost tourists searching for a restaurant makes sense to me. A roundabout will change the look of the entrance to town, but it doesn’t have to ruin the vibe of Crested Butte. In fact, it might release some traffic tensions and tension release is not a bad thing in a consistently growing and changing community. 

I have admittedly been cranky for a while with the town’s draft transportation and mobility plan. It seemed filled with directions and assumptions I don’t agree with. Some of the suggestions have faded away or been pushed back indefinitely as the draft has evolved. But since I’m cranky I’ll vent that as someone who lives a couple miles outside town, the plan feels like an effort to keep people like me out of town. In summer I sometimes ride my bike to the office, and I smell a commuter e-bike in my future, but the tenor of the plan has at times just felt like an attempt to car shame anyone who drives…locals and tourists alike. And while I agree that taking steps to make an already pretty good pedestrian and bike friendly town even more friendly in that regard, I’d suggest the town start by providing alternatives and incentives before making it harder to park in CB, which already started last summer with the elimination of parking spots in places that don’t always make sense to me. I’m willing to keep my car in the garage or at a park-and-ride and take a bus to the office or the restaurants if I can count on there being a seat available on the bus when I need it. And I, along with many others, use the Four-Way as a park-and-ride to catch the bus to get to the ski hill. Isn’t that what you should strive for instead of giving us tickets in the future for using mass transit and possibly shopping in town after a ski day? Sales tax is the main economic driver for Crested Butte after all.

Trying to push cars from Sixth Street onto relatively pedestrian friendly side streets seems counterproductive. So does the idea of changing up a bus system schedule that works really well. People living here use the public bus systems a lot and moving a bus stop to be another 100 feet closer to someone’s front door doesn’t seem the right incentive to fill more Mountain Express buses when the schedule and location seems to work really, really well. This isn’t Aurora. Obviously, I’m a little cranky at the moment. 

Oh, and I agree with Paula Martin’s public comment that more tangible ideas need to be discussed as part of the plan to improve the pedestrian experience when there is snow and ice in CB—which is a lot of the year. Putting up posters to encourage people to “walk like a penguin” doesn’t exactly fill that bill. Walking around town can be treacherous when ice is covering sidewalks and streets. I know too many people who have suffered broken bones or concussions slipping on the ice here in the winter and that is something to take into serious consideration when deliberating whether to heat sidewalks on Elk Avenue. If you want people to walk, make it easy and safe for people to walk.

While many of my friends rejoiced when the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that Donald should not be on the Republican primary election ballot, I raised an eyebrow. It is no surprise I am not a fan of the lying, mean-spirited divider whose businesses pocketed millions of dollars from the Chinese and other foreign governments while he was president, and I shudder at the thought of Donald occupying the Oval Office one more day (it could happen) — but I want him to (again) be defeated in a fair election where he is told (again) that he is not worthy of this nation’s highest office. I think he certainly played a role in the January 6 insurrection and his attempt to rewrite history and gaslight what we all witnessed with our own eyes is despicable. But he hasn’t been convicted of insurrection and the move would likely lead to red states saying someone worthy like a Gretchen Whitmer should be banned from the ballot. That isn’t right. 

Letting voters decide who they want to represent them should be the baseline of representative government, even if their choice is a contemptible wannabe authoritarian. 

Cranky!

So, here we are in the middle of January: CBMR should soon have the opportunity to update its marketing pics (hopefully with fresh pow and bluebird skies), people are still struggling to get out of bed with the crud, I am arguing Donald should not be taken off our state’s election ballot and all of us are continuing the ongoing debate on how best to guide our growth. Wow.

The flurries have started, but I for one am counting on two feet of fresh by Sunday to make everything right, easy and less cranky with the world…

—Mark Reaman

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