The Inn, October Snow and a Crossroads… – The Crested Butte News

It’s a shame that the Crested Butte Hostel workforce housing deal fell through. The idea was to purchase the building and use the facility for seasonal workforce housing. Initiated by a group of secondary owners with local entrepreneur Kyleena Falzone, the building would follow the model of the former Ruby Bed and Breakfast which offers six bedrooms and nine co-living beds for local employees.

The hostel is said to have added about three dozen additional pillows to the workforce housing pool. While it looks like the Ruby will soon be rented, it’s not exactly creating the longest of waiting lists. It seems that the combination of government restrictions, relatively strict rules of life in the Ruby model and a not cheap price for real estate contributed to the termination of the hostel’s contract. Fair.

The community living situation is not for everyone, but it could have helped fill a niche in the wide range of affordable housing needs in the North Valley. Not everyone will get the two-bedroom apartment in the new Homestead project in Mt. Crested Butte (in fact, we don’t know if anyone will get one given the pace of construction and the lagging development) . Not everyone deserves (or really can afford) a three-bedroom house with a fenced-in yard in Paradise Park.

The location of Ruby and Hostel accommodation, however, provides an opportunity for what I consider to be the traditional ski workers who rock the place when the lifts start spinning. It could be the J1s coming from another country here for an adventure or the 19-year-old from Topeka taking a year off at a ski resort before hitting the grindstone.

Although I don’t want to do it now, I lived in this type of communal living situation at a ski resort when I was 20 and it was a great life experience. I would recommend it. It was cheap, it cemented my love for the mountains, and it brought me many wonderful global relationships that thrive to this day. For me, it is the misfortune of the failure of the inn agreement. Like the vanishing “hippie houses” that offer shelter and companionship to people trying Crested Butte, it’s one more sign that the traditional ski resort vibe is fading away to be replaced by a luxury housing market feel.

As an old skier (sort of), the wind and snow on Tuesday morning made my heart beat a little faster. I’m not ready to hang up the bike just yet and the weather forecast says I might do a few more Hartman trips but seeing him fall as the wind howled made anticipation to be in line at the NFL as the weather clears the tourists and everyone is surrounded by familiar faces. But that sentiment has also raised concern that the place is moving away from its roots as a ski and bike town to become a cozy luxury housing community.

Part of that was reading the Mount CB Masterplan discussion, where much of the initial focus seems to be on the base area near the lifts. Fair enough. But the conversation seems to center on making her look good. I wonder how they are going to tear down the old condo and commercial buildings to create a new entrance and a modern “finish plaza” in the base area. It seems damn expensive. Who should pay for it and what would they want in return? The conversation seems more focused on shiny things about making something better than it does now (not too difficult at the moment BTW) instead of instigating changes that make people enjoy the place.

The idea that makes sense to me, and one that was discussed in the process, is to focus on bringing energy and activity back to the base zone. People will find the mountain if there is something worth finding.

Believe it or not, the base area of ​​Mt. Crested Butte was once the perfect place to relax and have fun during ski season. There were spots for apres ski, whether you wanted to do some photo ops or an upscale intimate white tablecloth dinner. There was a place where families could put on their ski boots and have lunch with a piece of pizza and hot chocolate to supplement their brown bags. But as previously pointed out, the “fun” was demolished to make way for more condos and parking lots. But if there isn’t much for the people buying the condos to do, how long will they keep buying the condos? I don’t hear Vail opening any fun new places in the base area and they didn’t help the hostel even when they were having trouble finding workers. Are they leading or following in addressing community challenges? What incentives can a city government use to get people to want to open businesses there? How long will it remain a ski resort and not a luxury club for wealthy people if we are not careful?

I understand it’s no longer 1992 and most now expect a lot of the softer comforts that have come with recent development. But a ski resort needs more than skiing. It needs workers as part of the community and fun things to do after a day on the hill. He needs food choices, places to hang out, and places to go wild.

We are at the crossroads of the seasons… and perhaps a crossroads for the long-term culture of the place. We are fortunate to have geographic gems like Hartman’s available in the Valley to extend warm season opportunities. We’re lucky to have a ski area that hasn’t fully ironed out all the rough edges and still relies on T-bars and a few hikes to access cargo in stormy weather. But the challenge is obviously to keep the ski/bike town unique and real, which means supporting places to live for workers of all stripes while providing the “fun” of a resort community.

—Mark Reman

Linda G. Ibarra