Embrace the blessing of off-season…

This is a blessed time in the North Valley. It’s not for everyone, but for me and a few others who will stay here, these weeks following the end of the lift-served ski season are pretty nice in the valley. 

This coming week when the Crested Butte Community School takes its spring break and local families head south for sand and warmth, Crested Butte will be as slow as it will be all year. It returns to a truly tiny town and given the weather forecast it will be ideal. Those of us staying here will slow down the pace even more, sit on a bench (or that abandoned couch at Third and Sopris) and chat under the afternoon sun, watch the snowbanks melt away, maybe have a drink and enjoy the feel that comes with more dogs than cars in the streets. 

I understand and appreciate the need to leave this valley after a long winter and some of the best times ever come in sand or surf after a ski season. But it will be quiet and slow in Crested Butte. That retreat will provide a deep, refreshing breath in the North Valley. And on top of it all, it is one of those years when in less than a day we went from being able to ski the steeps on Headwall to being able to ride the singletrack of Hartman Rocks or play the front nine at Dos Rios. Spring corn is forming on the backcountry slopes. That timing too is a special treat. 

Personally, I wouldn’t want it like this 52 weeks a year — I like the energy of a vibrant community offering amenities provided through tourism and understand we need to make money to be able to live here — but for the several weeks immediately following the long winter ski season, it is something to embrace. It is a blessing.

I hear there are some who basically don’t believe in off-season. They apparently prefer 52 weeks of robust business with employees getting three weeks off after 10 years of work. They obviously don’t understand the unique rhythm of this place and I sort of feel bad for them. Having the opportunity a couple times a year to recharge the batteries during the seasonal transitions in one of the world’s most beautiful places is a special blessing. Places like ours offer the people who have chosen to live out of the mainstream soulful opportunities, not just a tedious grindstone. Embrace the blessing.

Happy off-season, everyone.

—Mark Reaman

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