by Molly Murfee Kayaking Crested Butte’s crashing creeks: the stuff of legends, the every-day fount of adrenaline.
photos by Braden Gunem Hauling, bucking, digging, shooing bears: a day in the life of a Forest Service backcountry trail crew.
“Did you see that!?”
Starting stuff in Shangri-La
by George Sibley How a funny, fertile era four decades ago gave birth to two Crested Butte cultural pillars: the Arts Festival and the Mountain Theatre. Beta on the theatre reunion, p. 70.
The middle years
by Sandra Cortner A long-time Arts Festival director fondly recalls the rains, the rewards and the orangeflecked tennis shoes. Hitting 40 with a power surge, p. 73.
by Than Acuff On horseback, in costume, and with art supplies, crazed fans greeted the world’s top cyclists in the 2011 USA Pro Cycling Challenge. It hurt so good, the racers will return this year.
by Molly Murfee How many lives has the Center for the Arts touched in its 25 years? The next stage, p. 78.
Making a splash, with feet on the ground
by Sandy Fails Even as she flies toward Olympic contention in the steeplechase, Emma Coburn remains a playful, affectionate, small-town girl.
Photo break Worth 4,000 words.
The world in a flower basket
by Katherine Darrow From New Zealand to Elk Avenue: the secret ingredients that create Crested Butte’s suspended gardens. Build your own, p. 64. 4
Setting the stage
More ways to play
Summer headlines: Trailhead’s musical garden, a two-story tree house, and a call for young filmmakers.
Toddlers and tempos
by Shelley Read Karen Janssen has made joyful, loving music with Crested Butte’s munchkins for more than a decade.
by P.C. Gallaher Armed with bikes, rafts, skateboards, maps, rockets and mud boots, the Gravity Groms find that nature makes a rollicking playmate.
Summer fun for the younger set
compiled by Katherine Darrow How to dance, paint, skateboard, read, bike, study birds, listen to music, climb and play well with others.
LONG STORY SHORT
Taking a stand
Paddle boarders surf our landlocked waters.
The new Crested Butte Film Tribe thinks globally, creates locally.
“Never the same again”
by Dawne Belloise
by Dawne Belloise
by Sandy Fails
The Crested Butte Film Festival celebrates cinema as both an art form and a tool for transformation.
Regaining life’s flow
by Beth Buehler
Project Healing Waters brings recovering soldiers to fish and heal on the Taylor River. The Crested Butte Music Festival adds three reasons to take a musical vacation here this summer.
Food from our backyard by Gregory S. Pettys
Healthy food advocates put their munchies where our mouths are.
99 103 107 112
Calendar Lodging guide Dining guide Photo finish summer | 2012
Vol. XXXIV, No. 1
Published semi-annually by Crested Butte Publishing & Creative PUBLISHER Steve Mabry Chris Hanna EDITOR Sandy Fails ADVERTISING DIRECTOR MJ Vosburg DESIGN & LAYOUT Keitha Kostyk
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WRITERS Than Acuff Dawne Belloise Beth Buehler Sandra Cortner Katherine Darrow Sandy Fails Paul Gallaher Pam Montgomery Molly Murfee Gregory S. Pettys Shelley Read George Sibley PHOTOGRAPHERS Nathan Bilow Trent Bona Sandy Cortner Raynor Czerwinski Dusty Demerson Xavier Fané Alex Fenlon Paul Gallaher Braden Gunem John Holder Kevin Krill JC Leacock Kurt Riese Rebecca Weil COVER PHOTO Rumble, with his less-equipped buddies Tom and Amaryllis Kelly, keeps his cool during the July 4th water fight. Photo by Raynor Czerwinski ONLINE www.crestedbuttemagazine.com E-MAIL email@example.com ADVERTISING 970-349-6211 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Copyright 2012, Crested Butte Publishing. No reproduction of contents without authorization by Crested Butte Publishing & Creative.
“STAY IN PART A CHILD” U.S. champion steeplechase runner Emma Coburn probably won’t fly across the finish line of the Olympic Trials in June costumed like a pirate. But wait until she’s back home in Crested Butte competing in her family’s themed Olympics (involving ping-pong balls, blindfolds and such) and watch the wardrobe flair she exhibits. As you’ll find out in the profile in this issue, Emma amazes her University of Colorado coaches by balancing athletic fire with well-grounded playfulness. She learned this growing up in Crested Butte, she says, surrounded by intense athletes who also unleash their inner goofballs. We admittedly have a fetish for costumes in Crested Butte – perhaps so we don’t take ourselves so seriously that we forget to laugh and dance. There may be fiery competition in the Al Johnson Memorial Uphill-Downhill Telemark Race, but finish-line glory will greet both the winner and the laggard dressed as Sponge Bob Square Pants. I love the child-like aspect to this town. People around the world get permission to act silly in the presence of a toddler or a puppy; here we get that permission from our neighbors, out riding their townie-bikes in Mod Squad attire at the drop of a hat. This summer will bring some child’s play to our art scene as well, something the Artists of the West Elks (AWE)
– quote by Jean Piaget
and the Center for the Arts have been promoting for years with their creativity salons, hat-making soirees and such. For the 40th Arts Festival, several organizations and artists will collaborate to turn six of Crested Butte’s bridges into giant art installations. As of press time, the ideas were still buzzing around – like incorporating dance so one bridge combines visual and performance art, or using artsy illumination powered electromagnetically by water flowing under the bridge. The Arts Festival, Center/Art Studio and AWE eventually envision a week-long celebration of the arts in early August filled with classes, events and creative endeavors. A few people also are plotting to bring interactive, spontaneous creativity stations to some of the free Alpenglow concerts (which have turned into huge town parties in the park). Brainstorms have leaped from providing dress-up clothes and over-sized picture frames to building objects from cardboard boxes to turning the crowd’s collective pocket debris into a giant collage. That spirit of fun befits the 40th anniversary year of the Arts Festival and the Crested Butte Mountain Theatre, both born from a vision of celebrating, sharing and playing with art. As George Sibley recalls, he and the other founders of the festival and the theatre wanted to show off the talent that existed here, get the community involved in summer | 2012
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something beyond hitting the bars every afternoon, invite visitors to come learn about both art and nature, and make the arts a bigger part of Crested Butte’s economy. There was also an interactive, playful component – which gave rise to the collaborative totem pole that still presides over Totem Pole Park. In the four decades since its birth, the Arts Festival has grown into one of the top-ranked festivals in the country, accepting 175 of more than 600 applicant artists – a tad more sophisticated than the original railroadtie pavilion set up in an Elk Avenue vacant lot. For 25 years (another landmark in this year of anniversaries), the Center for the Arts has hosted international performers as well as tutu’d preschoolers. The Crested Butte Music Festival brings in world-class opera, bluegrass and jazz musicians. This year the Art Studio of the Center for the Arts will host classes in everything from print-making to graffiti/ speed painting. I’m glad Crested Butte has some beautiful galleries, the Arts Festival has become nationally known, and it’s now possible for some talented people here to make reasonable money from their art. I love seeing the astounding musicians and dancers who come to perform in our small town. I’m also happy that there’s still room for a lighthearted, inclusive approach to the arts, less about finished products than about remembering to play. I often hear visitors comment that people seem unusually young for their age in Crested Butte. That’s partly because we stay active physically, but also because we can still finger-paint with our friends, ski race in banana outfits, and ride to work on pink bicycles adorned with plastic flowers. As George Bernard Shaw famously observed, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” --Sandy Fails, editor
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Taking a stand
PADDLE BOARDERS SURF OUR LANDLOCKED WATERS.
By Dawne Belloise
Zen exercise: Rebekah Hulseman and Christy Tidholm cruising Lake Irwin by paddle board. Photo: Billy Rankin
THE PADDLE BOARDS REST LIKE EXCLAMATION MARKS IN RECLINE, LINING THE BANK IN FRONT OF KARL PLAMBECK'S FORTRESS ON LAKE IRWIN. A gaggle of friends bask in the sun, waiting for the spirit to move them to the water. These are mountain surfers of sorts, but this brand of surfing has evolved from hand paddling in a prone position to standing and using an oar to propel the board across the waters of lakes, streams and rivers. It's called paddle boarding, or stand-up paddle boarding (SUP), and it's the fastest-growing new sport in the world. According to Brandon Maxwell, owner of Stand Strong SUP and distributor of Pau Hana Surf Supply, the sport originated in Hawaii about sixty years ago when a clan of surfers who called themselves “the beach boys” (no relationship to the musical group) started using paddles so they could get out into the waves on their long boards with cameras around their necks. This allowed them to shoot photos of the surfing tourists, much like the commercial river runners here take pictures of their clients as they're rafting. Then they realized the paddles would be great teaching aids for their surf students. They also had a better perspective of the wave sets from a standing vantage point 11
and could then tell their students when to start paddling to catch the best waves. “There are probably examples of people standing in canoes and using poles to propel themselves in other water-based cultures throughout history; however the modern sport originated in Hawaii,” Brandon said. “Back then, they were going out on long wooden surfboards. Now most are made of polystyrene cores that are more lightweight. Paddle boards have specific designs, really long and buoyant so you can stand on a lake or river, but they were originally intended for ocean travel.” Running rivers on paddle boards, much harder than traditional surfing, is still in its infancy. Amazing big-wave surfers like Archie Kalepa, Laird Hamilton and Dave Kalama were the first to introduce paddle boarding to whitewater on rivers. “Archie ran the entire Grand Canyon standing on a paddle board – 182 miles, even through the biggest rapids,” Brandon said. “It really opened the floodgates, showing that anything is possible on a paddle board – if you're good enough. These guys are the best in the world on seventy-foot waves; now they're taking boards into the Grand Canyon, on the Green and Colorado rivers. You can paddle upstream and come back to the rapids.”
Local paddle boarders most often hit the Slate River, upper and lower Gunnison River, Blue Mesa and Taylor Reservoir. Boarders have been spied cruising on Peanut and Grant lakes as well. From his back yard at Lake Irwin, Karl notices many more people getting into paddle boarding – and taking their wellbalanced dogs along for the ride. “The boards are pretty stable once you get used to them.” As a form of exercise, paddle boarding is unique. “You use your entire core and every muscle to dig into the water,” Brandon said. “It's low impact and ergonomically correct. It would be hard to recreate it on any type of gym machine, plus it's just the most peaceful, Zen way to experience exercise. The sound of the paddle in the water is so peaceful.” Karl also extolled the physical benefits of paddle boarding. “It’s the best sport for honing your balance. It strengthens your core and makes you better at all the other balance sports we do, from skiing to biking,” he
said. “Anybody can do it, and it feels great. The more you get in tune with it, the more adventurous you’ll get, like surfing rivers and canyons.” Paddle boards even come in inflatable models now, easily packable into a duffle for transport via car or plane. Brandon, who rents out boards and gives lessons, called the paddle board “the most versatile toy in water, whether it's oceans, lakes or rivers. And you can ride it behind any kind of boat to surf the wake. People are even doing yoga and Pilates on it in the water. You can do all this with the same board. There are different board sizes, dependent on a person's height and weight, or you might want a more specific size – smaller for high performance, or a touring board of over 12 feet long.” Versatility equals economy, he pointed out. “You can pick out one board for the entire family, and everyone can enjoy it.” And for paddle boarders in the area’s lakes and rivers, the surf is always up.
summer | 2012
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THE NEW CRESTED BUTTE FILM TRIBE THINKS GLOBALLY, CREATES LOCALLY.
By Dawne Belloise
Dan Benoit films John Meckes, Bonnie Gollhofer and Jess Ladwig in the online short film “Shaman in the Grove.”
A QUICKLY EVOLVING WORLD OF ON-LINE SOCIAL NETWORKS IS CHANGING HOW WE CONNECT AND HOW WE COLLECT AND DISPERSE INFORMATION. Once predicted to undermine personal contact, the Internet has in fact become a powerful force in gathering people, causes and disciplines. Take, for example, the Crested Butte Film Tribe (CBFT). This embryonic clan is using the world-wide access and the media made available by new technology to send their creativity into the world. The “independent media production tribe” was created by Dan Benoit, John Meckes and Brady Snow. John has a directing degree from New York, while Brady's forte and background is creative writing from Western State College. Dan does “everything from web and graphic designs to videography and animations... almost everything you can do on a computer.” From their groundwork, the tribe is expanding, drawing others with technological savvy and/or content ideas. “It’s experimental, fun and collaborative,” Dan said. “We’re creating an infrastructure for people with a passion to share their ideas. We’ll let things evolve naturally.” The group's first project was a documentary for and about Vinotok, Crested Butte's infamous, week-long, neoMedieval autumn celebration. The CBFT will use outlets such as Facebook and YouTube, putting together and distributing presentations 14
on anything from organic cooking to hiking/biking trail guides. The tribe already has a repertoire of programs such as coverage of the Occupy protests in Denver, eight weeks of body training with Tim Skafidas, short films and the Vinotok documentary. Dan this year became technical director of the Crested Butte Film Festival and said the group hopes to submit films to that and other festivals. “Creation is a way of understanding the supernatural in a sense,” Dan said. “The act of creation is an excellent way to explore the divine. It's about the process. If we as a group learn something about ourselves, my heart is satisfied. Everyone who is a part of our effort will have their own reasons to create and their own message. There is freedom through creativity.” In the past decade, new technology and prosumer products have become affordable, so “the common person can now produce professional-quality media,” Dan noted. Before equipment and distribution costs plummeted, creators had to shape their projects with profits in mind. Artists no longer have to appease marketers and can focus more on their original intent and message. The Crested Butte Film Tribe was inspired by an online Seth Godin TEDTalk (www.ted.com) about the resurgence of tribes in our society. ”The industrial revolution suppressed our natural desires to organize ourselves by skill, in other words, into tribes,” Dan said. The Internet
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is re-empowering that urge “to come together with similar skills to work together. It's a more efficient way to organize and get things done.” Seth Godin explained in his online lecture that the concept of tribes goes back 50,000 years and deals with leading and connecting people, communities and ideas. Thanks to mass media and Internet, virtual tribes are now everywhere. You can find almost anyone and connect. Godin believes that tribes, not money or factories, can alter the world. If you find something worth changing and assemble tribes, which are far more powerful than individuals, then transformation begins. The leaders of change, he said, are basically heretics who look at the status quo and say, “This will not stand, I can't abide, and I'm willing to stand up and move this forward.” The TED talks are hosted on a website that also serves as a model, posting new ideas and cuttingedge mini-seminars. “The site uses technology to make the world a better place,” Dan said. A member of the first generation to grow up with computer/Internet technology as an everyday part of life, Dan is figuring out how to make it all work into his zeal for filmmaking. “I’ve had many of these ideas for a long time, starting when I was fourteen and making skateboard videos in Minnesota,” he said. “Filmmaking is my passion, and I wanted to find some way to support myself and travel.” The Godin message brought the tribe concept into the picture. The Crested Butte Film Tribe is designed for people trained in or fascinated by the possibilities of technology; the core people intend to offer classes for newbies. Though making films is the current focus, the idea may expand as new forms of media develop because of the Internet. Dan sees the Internet “as sort of a brain and network for a global consciousness. Our purpose is to communicate through film and video. My goal is to make it functional and fun by combining purpose and passion.”
Delivered back, never the same again
THROUGH THE CRESTED BUTTE FILM FESTIVAL, MICHAEL AND JENNIFER BRODY CELEBRATE FILM AS BOTH AN ART FORM AND A TOOL FOR TRANSFORMATION. By Sandy Fails
FILMMAKER AND MOVIE LOVER MICHAEL BRODY SEES FILM AS AN AGREEMENT BETWEEN CREATOR AND AUDIENCE: in return for the viewer’s undivided attention for a couple of hours, the filmmaker will leave him or her changed in some way. Through the Crested Butte Film Festival, Michael wants to multiply this agreement a thousand-fold – and watch his community be transformed by the medium he calls “the art form of this century.” “Cinema is powerful, beautiful and full of potential because we are willing to look and listen – and filmmakers take that gift and show us things we need or want to see,” he said. “In the hands of masters, we are wrenched over the rocks and taken on their journeys and delivered back, never the same again. Nor would we want to be.” Michael and Jennifer Brody started the Crested Butte Film Festival last year to feed and share their fascination. The small international film festival (slated for September
27-30 this year) spans a broad range: feature films, documentaries, shorts and outdoor/adventure tales. While most of us ski, work and bike the months away, Michael scours the world for movies that touch, inspire and astonish him – movies he can’t wait to show the rest of us after summer mellows into autumn. “I want the Crested Butte Film Fest to be known for the quality of the films it shows, the passion of the programmers and their commitment to bring the best of world cinema home to Crested Butte,” he said. “I want people to be blown away by what they see, to quiver in their boots and realize how they might need to change their lives. I like when that happens to me, and I want it to happen to others.” He scours IndieWire and other international online sources to see what films are making waves at festivals like Sundance and throughout the industry. He and Jennifer attend many festivals (including Mountainfilm and the Telluride Film Festival), cherry-pick the films they want, and battle past any obstacles to get them. A movie buff from childhood, Michael as a teen read about the Doors band members meeting at film school. “What, you can go to school to study film?” he thought. So he did, attending the University of Colorado in Boulder, making many short films and writing three screenplays, one of which he produced into the feature film “Document” (2010). He’s now working on a drama based in the wild. As he studied the history and craft of film, he became an even bigger fan and “serious cinema snob.” When Michael met Jennifer, an art teacher, she joined him in his film festival habit. Long-time Boulderites, the two decided two years ago to “get a new zip code” and hit the road “shopping” for three weeks en route to Vancouver, B.C. (in Jennifer’s home country). But they found their new home and quest after they returned to Colorado and were chatting at Crested Butte’s Camp 4 Coffee and discovered the town no longer had a film festival. Mission identified. Their debut Crested Butte Film Festival last year sealed the deal, drawing unexpected turnouts and community support. After months of commuting, the Brodys are moving to Crested Butte full time this June. “We couldn’t have been happier with last year’s festival,” Jennifer said. “We also took an insane amount of notes on what we could do better.” The 2011 festival showed 58 international films in four venues, attracting 1,500 viewers. Fifty volunteers helped, and a dozen featured filmmakers discussed their work. The venues and number of films will stay the same for 2012, but the program will include more filmmakers, panel discussions and gatherings. In particular Jennifer wants to summer | 2012
“It was the mountains that brought us to Crested Butte.
It is the that will bring us back!”
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what a magical time!” - A couple of bluegrass junkies, Patty & Charlie Doss, Denver, CO
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get up on stage and sing.” - Sarah Meyers, New York, NY
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deepen the festival’s ACT Now (Action and Change Together Now) aspect. “Film is a powerful tool as well as an art form,” she said. “We want to provide an immediate way for people to respond after they’ve been inspired or moved by a film.” Last year after the showing of “With My Own Two Wheels,” documentary maker Jacob SiegelBoettner displayed a bike like those distributed to villagers in need in the targeted countries. After his presentation, audience members purchased three more bicycles (at $134 each, including shipping) for World Bicycle Relief, and more donated money. “This year we want to have an even greater impact giving back to the amazing organizations we
highlight in some of our documentary films,” Jennifer said. After the screening committee vets the Brodys’ favorite new shorts, features, adventures and documentaries, the 2012 festival films will be announced in mid-July. “I like films that show, powerfully, ways around the many conundrums we face in life – and in the films themselves. Films that declare, ‘We have to do better. Be better. Live better.’ Films that say, ‘Take care of this life around you. Yours, the planet and the people.‘ Basically, films that help us wake up – and those that make us laugh,” Michael said. “I give the filmmakers my attention, heart and mind and want them to deliver. The films selected for the Crested Butte Film Festival do.”
Valley nonprofits join forces Though our towns are small and somewhat remote, our non-profit community trends right along with the country. In a spring round-up of non-profit news by the Community Foundation of the Gunnison Valley (cfgv.org), half the respondents mentioned new collaborations and half described new programs. Collaborations and the feeling that nonprofits can now breathe and look at more than basic survival are country-wide trends, according to Blackbaud Index of Charitable Giving reports. The most notable collaborations are the Arts Alliance – making the arts more accessible “from Gunnison to Gothic”; the cooperation between the Gunnison Valley Animal Welfare League, the City of Gunnison and the County in building a needed animal shelter; and the Mountain Roots Food Project, which brought together four similar organizations under one valley-wide administration. Expanded programming was reported by Adaptive Sports, the Crested Butte Land Trust, Gunnison Area Restorative Practices, Soo Bahk Do, Crested Butte School of Dance and Rocky Mountain Biological Lab, reflecting the continuing generosity of those who give with their wallets as well as their hearts. More sophisticated governance is another national trend. True to form, more than 40 of the valley’s nonprofits participated in seminars offered by the Community Foundation in the past year with topics such as advocacy, fundraising, human resources and the board-building cycle. Nonprofits give our valley character, with their actions, events, caring and optimism that we can impact the quality of life in Gunnison County. For those supporting our nonprofits, I offer these words by L.B. Gschwandtner: “We have only a small corner where we can make a difference and such a short time to try. But if we start in one small place, no one can predict how much difference that little corner might make.” Pam Montgomery, CFGV executive director
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Regaining life’s flow
THROUGH PROJECT HEALING WATERS, SOLDIERS FIND MORE THAN WILY FISH IN THE TAYLOR RIVER. By Beth Buehler
Veteran Joe Vigil and his guide find their cares swept away by legendary fishing waters. Photo: Ron Welborn
HEALING SOLDIERS WILL SEEK SOLACE THIS SUMMER IN THE PRIME FISHING WATERS AT WILDER ON THE TAYLOR, A 2,100-ACRE RANCH NEAR ALMONT. For the second year, active military service personnel will join volunteers from the Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing (PHWFF) program based at Colorado Springs’ Fort Carson to fish, relax and enjoy camaraderie. Last June, four soldiers gave the experience such an enthusiastic response that a group of eight to ten will return this summer. “Of all the places I’ve been with Project Healing Waters, Wilder is one of the top two. We couldn’t stop talking about it,” said Joe Vigil, a National Guardsman with 31 years of military service. The Pikes Peak Flyfishers Club in Colorado Springs heard about PHWFF soon after it was initiated in 2005 by retired Navy Captain Ed Nicholson at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Working with the Warrior Transition Unit at Fort Carson and teaming up with Cheyenne Mountain Trout Unlimited, they launched flytying classes in late 2007 and fly-fishing trips in early 2008 and have kept expanding ever since.
Since PHWFF’s inception nationally, the program has helped disabled active military personnel and veterans overcome obstacles associated with military service-related disabilities. While the skills of fly fishing, fly tying and rod building help participants regain the use of their bodies, perhaps the greatest benefit is realizing that a normal life is still possible. Vigil became involved more than two years ago when “a friend of mine forced me into it,” he said. “With my illnesses, I had shut myself out and didn’t want to go out and do anything, even though my family and I had been fishing and hunting our whole lives.” However, fly fishing was a new endeavor and quickly reawakened Vigil’s heart and mind. “When you are fishing, there is nothing on your mind but fishing. When you have the pole in your hand, it’s like a switch has been flipped,” emphasized the fifth-generation Coloradoan, who also has attended fly-tying classes and was one of five soldiers at Fort Carson selected to take part in the national PHWFF fly rod-building competition this year. Often the van rides to the Project Healing Waters summer | 2012
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venues are filled with complaints about injuries and military status, but on the way back it’s all upbeat banter about the one that got caught and the one that got away. “It’s a 180 that’s so amazing to watch,” Vigil noted. “I have four buddies I met through Project Healing Waters; we now hang out all the time, fishing together on our own.” Last year’s soldiers and mentors stayed three nights in the four owners’ cabins that border the Wilder’s private stretch of the Taylor River. The ranch’s road and hiking trails wind through the property and connect to County Road 742, making it an easy walk to a meandering creek built by developer Jackson-Shaw through a large hay meadow. “The Taylor River is outstanding, world-renowned,” said Gordon Rothoff, program leader for the PHWFF Fort Carson program. “There have been great stream improvements at the Wilder, and it’s quite manageable for people with mobility issues. The most impressive thing is the spring creek, where we caught many fish. You can sight fish there, and it’s small enough to fish from the bank.” Three local guides from Dan’s Fly Shop in Gunnison ensured the soldiers had exceptional, safe days of fishing. “It was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had…very humbling,” said owner Mark Williams. “I was in the Marine Corps, and it’s neat to see Project Healing Waters do this for the soldiers.” Ron Welborn, vice president of Jackson-Shaw, added, “It’s an honor and a pleasure to get involved with America’s heroes.” In the evening, the group gathered for meals and conversation on the lawn, sharing tales of catching rainbow and brown trout. After the soldiers and mentors dispersed to their cabins, “my cabin buddy and I sat outside on the patio and just watched the river go by,” Vigil said. “The food was great and the hospitality greater. They treated us like kings. The best thing was the first and last thing you saw – the river. You could reach out and touch it.”
THREE MORE WAYS THE CRESTED BUTTE MUSIC FESTIVAL HITS A HIGHER NOTE.
Excellent, not stuffy: having a beer with Beethoven in a barn.
1. TWO OF OPERA’S GREATEST MUSICIANS, MARCELLO GIORDANI AND SAMUEL RAMEY, WILL TEACH, MENTOR AND PERFORM IN CRESTED BUTTE. “These men sing the star roles in major opera houses around the world,” said Alexander Scheirle, director of the Crested Butte Music Festival. “To have them perform in such small venues in Crested Butte is amazing.” Marcello Giordani last year agreed to be the name patron of the music festival’s prestigious Young Artists Program, which this year accepted only 15 of more than 500 rising-star applicants. “We have built a reputation as one of the best training programs in this country,” Scheirle said. “Having a famous person associated by name helps us both nationally and internationally. And having someone who is still performing on major stages to mentor our students is essential.” Sicily native Giordani, considered by many the greatest leading tenor of his generation, has appeared in every major international opera house, with the world’s renowned conductors. With his exceptional vocal range and versatility, he has also performed concerts and recitals throughout the U.S. and Europe, and was filmed live in HD with several Metropolitan and Teatro Comunale operas. Though other engagements kept him from joining the program in person last year, he was able to schedule time in Crested Butte the first week in July 2012.
Samuel Ramey, the most recorded bass-baritone in history, will visit Crested Butte in late July. Ramey has wowed audiences of the Metropolitan Opera, Teatro alla Scala, Royal Opera, Covent Garden and the operas of Paris, Munich, Hamburg, Geneva and Florence, and sung with the London Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, and countless other symphonies. He has sold out solo recitals in every world music capital; has more than 80 recordings, from operas to solos; has won three Grammys; and is often featured on television and video. During their respective visits, Giordani and Ramey will conduct public Masterclasses and also teach and coach the Marcello Giordani Young Artist Program students. “Generally you only hear them by paying hundreds of dollars to attend opera houses with 3,000 seats. To watch them perform at the Center for the Arts or even in someone’s home, to sit right in front of them as they sing and then greet them afterward enjoying a glass of wine… it will be an experience of a lifetime,” Scheirle said.
2. NOW MUSIC FANS CAN GET A WHOLE VACATION’S WORTH OF THEIR FAVORITE GENRES. The Crested Butte Music Festival has restructured its summer slate. Music will fill the calendar July 4-August 12, including three “mini festivals” – Opera In Paradise, Bluegrass In Paradise and Gypsy Jazz In Paradise. This will summer | 2012
enable genre-specific enthusiasts to enjoy Crested Butte for multiple days. “If you’re an opera lover from the Front Range, you don’t want to drive in for one performance. You want to come to Crested Butte for a week and immerse yourself,” Scheirle said. “Jazz, opera, bluegrass – it’s not a given that the fans of one will want to listen to the other.” The festival started drawing significant audiences from outside the valley last summer. Scheirle said, “By grouping events by genre, we will greatly expand our ability to draw firsttime guests to experience an amazing level of musicianship in diverse, intimate venues in a breathtaking setting. For example, during Opera In Paradise, an aficionado might take advantage of a pre-opera talk with the director, bass-baritone with the MET and our conductor from the Royal Opera at Covent Garden; an intimate Home Soirée with celebrity performers; a Masterclass with rising stars; and a production of Mozart’s
‘Magic Flute’…an opera experience as incredible as the area it’s set in.”
3. WHERE ELSE COULD YOU HEAR A HUNGARIAN CIMBALOM? Several years ago Scheirle brought an alphorn from Europe to share with music fest audiences – a natural fit for a mountain town. People not only loved the alphorn, but began asking him what unique instrument he’d bring the next year. Thus the annual “unusual instrument” became a signature of the festival, he said. This summer Kalman Balogh of Budapest, from a famous dynasty of Hungarian Gypsy musicians, will introduce a Hungarian cimbalom. Described as an over-sized hammered dulcimer, the cimbalom is played with mallets like a vibraphone. “It has piano-like percussive abilities to drive a band rhythmically or take the melodic lead,” Scheirle said. Balogh will play the cimbalom in an orchestral concert and during a Home Soirée during the 2012 festival.
NEW CONSTRUCTION AND RENOVATIONS
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Food from our own backyard
LOCAL GOOD-FOOD ADVOCATES PUT THEIR MUNCHIES WHERE OUR MOUTHS ARE. By Gregory S. Pettys
A BIKE TOUR ACROSS THE COUNTRY INITIALLY LANDED CHRIS SULLIVAN AND EMILY GOUGHARY IN CRESTED BUTTE. “We knew we wanted to live in the mountains but didn’t know exactly where. When we passed through Crested Butte, the answer was clear,” said Chris. It’s fitting that pedal-your-own transportation brought them here. What sustains them here is peddle-your-own ingenuity and a commitment to healthy, tasty food. Chris, who wrote his thesis at Hamilton College in upstate New York on the philosophy of agriculture, noticed the need for great bread and locally produced organic food in the valley. Thus began Mountain Oven, an organic artisan bakery, and an adventure that eventually extended beyond the bakery walls into local schools and gardens. “The importance of eating local and organic food is huge, and we wanted to get people more involved,” said Emily. “So in 2009 we helped start the Paradise Food
Project, an initiative to get the community involved with gardening.” The initiative started small but joined forces with other local-food advocates and has grown into the Mountain Roots Food Project, with a board of directors and a paid staff. The group hosts educational events around the valley about the importance of knowing where our food comes from and how to buy or grow it locally. Mountain Roots offers a garden at the Crested Butte Community School, a greenhouse in Gunnison, a kids’ “camp” and an urban agriculture plot in Crested Butte whose harvest is mostly distributed through a local food bank. School programs turn students into gardeners, growing and harvesting their own school lunch ingredients. “We’re trying to integrate nourishing foods into their lives as much as we’re able,” Emily said. Providing organic food isn’t easy for an individual, let alone for a business. Organic ingredients are considerably more expensive than non-organic ones, and renting space in downtown Crested Butte is hardly cheap. “We arrived in this community with little besides our bicycles, Spandex shorts and guitars. Without the generous support of friends we’ve met here, be it financial or energetic, we simply couldn’t do it,” said Chris. Employee Ben Ewing added, “People here notice the need for truly nourishing food, and they’re excited by the community it’s breeding.” Recently, Mountain Oven acquired a food truck, nicknamed The Dragon Wagon for the magnificent goldenscaled dragon painted along its side, from which the crew serves organic goodies late-night in downtown Crested Butte. They also serve hot breakfasts on weekends at the four-way-stop intersection. “We love the atmosphere. The mornings are a lot like the Farmers Market. Families hang out together, and people gather to play music. It’s about community. It’s about pushing vibes, organic vibes!” Emily laughed as she brewed up her spicy coconut chai in their kitchen, located in the Montanya Rum Distillery. Increasingly, within progressive communities around the country, the organic food movement is creating new opportunities for consciously minded entrepreneurs. And in places like Austin, Portland, San Diego and our sister village Telluride, the street-vending scene is thriving, providing a vibrant atmosphere for people to meet and eat good food in a healthy, non-alcoholic setting. Now, thanks to Chris and Emily and the happy ending to their crosscountry bike ride, Crested Butte has joined the ranks. summer | 2012
25 Walking Deer, Mt. Crested Butte
Ski-in Ski-out of this furnished 5 bedroom custom home. Each room is designed to showcase unobstructed views of the East River Valley. Contains top-of-the-line systems, wood beams, rock fireplaces, custom kitchen, media room, hot tub, and cell phone repeater. Unmatched setting in Prospect. 970.349.6692 $4,250,000
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35 Birdie Way, Skyland
Spacious freestanding townhome in Fairway Park at Skyland. Quiet setting, lovely landscaping, and exceptional views from this 3 BD/3.5 BA home. Open kitchen, river rock fireplace, spacious loft for media/office, roomy Master Suite with private deck and Jacuzzi tub, upper and lower decks, 2 car garage, furnished. $595,000
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Downtown Crested Butte 970.349.6691 - The Mountain Office 970.349.6692 - CBProperty.com
Inspired Mountain Living inspired mountain living
675 Meadow Lane, Meridian Lake Meadows
One mile from downtown Crested Butte to the “Dream Catcher” property on 38 acres of Trappers Crossing. 6,909 finished living space, post and beam Log Construction with 6 bedrooms + apartment, 2 living areas, detached barn and breathtaking views through a forest of Aspen Trees. $4,250,000
181 Fairway Drive, Skyland
Riverfront Slice of Heaven 119 County Road 11
© 2011. An independently owned and operated member of Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, Inc. “The Rock” is a registered service mark of the Prudential Insurance Company of America. Equal Housing Opportunity. Information deemed reliable but not guaranteed.
Karen Allen 970.209.2668
481 Reservoir Road
Luxury mountain living in exclusive Meridian Lake Meadows. 4 BD/3.5 BA, 4,072 sq. ft. on 1.17 acres. Immaculately maintained custom home with large covered deck, sunny open floor plan, bright sunroom, stunning views and lovely landscaping. An excellent value. $987,500
Custom timber frame home located in Skyland on the 8th green with unobstructed view of Mt Crested Butte and Paradise Divide. Features 4 BR (master main level), 3.5 baths, 2 large living areas with 2 wood burning fire places, oversized 2-car garage, large deck, beautifully landscaped .89 acre lot. Access to Grant Lake fishing and trails. $1,495,000
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34 Belleview Drive, Mt. Crested Butte
Priceless views and beautifully landscaped yard on a quiet cul-de-sac in the heart of Mt. Crested Butte. Immaculately maintained, this 3 BD + loft / 3.5BA home features spacious open living areas and a large deck for summer entertaining. $795,000
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Charlie Farnan or Joel Vosburg 970.349.6692
Cast a line into the river or sit on the expansive deck from this gorgeous home on the Gunnison River! This custom 3+ bedroom home is being offered turn-key with quality craftsmanship throughout.. Private and unique setting on 1.12 treed acres. $1,199,000
The Grand Lodge, Mt. Crested Butte
Karen Allen 970.209.2668
Jesse Ebner 970.901.2922
Buttes Condos, Mt. Crested Butte
Popular complex offering ski-in/ski-out convenience, great views, comfortable floor plans and an outdoor hot-tub. Unit 513: 3 BD/3 BA $329,000 Unit 514: 3 BD/3 BA $399,000
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Jana Barrett 970.209.9510
47 Alpine Court, Skyland
Beautiful, upgraded home in Skyland River Neighborhood. Vaulted ceilings, rough sawn timbers, hardwood floors, open floor plan in-floor radiant heat, solid wood doors, stainless appliances, heated 2-car garage and great views. Two upstairs bedrooms with walk-in closets & Jack/Jill bath pus room for an office/nook /reading space. $430,000
Linda Pitt 970.901.1047
1 BD/1BA residences in the heart of the village, very close to the lifts, shopping and restaurants. Amenities include indoor/outdoor pool, hot tub, restaurant, bar, and front desk. Excellent rentals. #572-$ 84,000 #176-$ 87,000 #457-$109,000
78 Redstone Cove, Meridian Lake
Gorgeous 3 BD/4BA, 3,28 sf custom home that offers highend finishes, radiant in-floor heat, spacious living areas and commanding views of Mt. Crested Butte. Easy access to National Forest and Long Lake. $750,000
#3 West Elk Townhomes, Mt. Crested Butte
Very well kept townhouse located close to the lifts. Vaulted ceilings, open and airy, fireplace, updated master bath, stained glass, garage and much more. Additional finished room downstairs with 3/4 bath. Sold furnished and turn-key. $219,000
Linda Pitt 970.901.1047
157 W. Silver Sage
On Slate River, open space views up Paradise Divide. Dream home with 4,834 sq.ft., 4 bedrooms with connecting baths, 1 powder room, and 2 living areas. Gourmet kitchen, main level master suite, cherry wood cabinets, Cyprus wood floors, double car garage. Rare private setting with fishing rights. $1,499,000
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Home Sites in Skyland
Premier home sites in a first-class community setting featuring The Club at Crested Butte, a 20-acre private lake, 18-hole Robert Trent Jones golf course and hiking/biking trails. Lot D-5 .66 acre $395,000 (on the golf course) Lot S-81 .98 acre $169,000 Lot S-147 .73 acre $190,000
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a potentially dangerous syndrome characterized by an irresistable urge to paddle in conditions that challenge the limits of sanity.
KAYAKING CRESTED BUTTE’S CRASHING CREEKS: THE STUFF OF LEGENDS, THE EVERY-DAY FOUNT OF ADRENALINE. By Molly Murfee “'Don't go in there, it'll kill you,' people told me.” A low, mellow chuckle rolls through Tim Kegermann’s speech like someone who knows something you don't. Nonplussed. Even keeled, so to speak. Though we’re talking via phone, I can imagine the glint in his eye, the piercing desire that sparks from that place where drive meets heart and soul. “We were hiking up by the Oh Be Joyful Creek one day after work while these ladies were hiking down. They were talking about their dog that went over the falls and survived. I figured if a dog could survive by accident, I could survive by intention.” Tim Kegermann is the kayaking pioneer credited with the first descent of Oh Be Joyful in the early 1990s, officially kicking off the phenomenon of “creekin' Oh Be.” Now the class V, one-mile stretch of waterfalls flashes on kayakers' checklists much like the coveted sighting of a rare species does for birders. Its difficulty is described by American Whitewater as “violent rapids with large unavoidable holes, steep congested chutes and/or tall vertical drops, all with extremely powerful currents. Rapids may continue for long distances between pools, and what eddies exist may be small and/or turbulent. This is the most difficult, regularly run whitewater.” Among the choice few who have the skill and mental tenacity to run such creeks, Tim and his cronies are the stuff of legends. Phrases like “wild man,” “renegade” and “pirate” circulate around him like the frothy, swirling waters of an eddy. Founder of Crested Butte Rafting, Tim in the ‘90s took paying clients down the Slate and East rivers and was known for pushing people beyond their comfortable limits. Permits be damned; his company's logo bore a skull and crossbones. His hair flew as wild as his imagination. Milo Wynne, then a burgeoning kayaker, held the auspicious job of carrying Tim's kayak up the valley for his inaugural voyage down Oh Be Joyful Creek. “He was fearless – a true hair boater,” recalls Milo. “His vision was leaps and bounds 30
Hair boater : Steve Melnick on Oh Be Joyful Creek Photo : Fellow hair boater Chris Larsen summer | 2012
317 Elk Avenue, Crested Butte, CO • 349-5913 • 10am to 9pm Daily zypp.net 32
beyond anyone else's. He would walk up to a creek and say, 'That’s run-able.' You would be like, 'Dude, are you kidding me?'” A boater from the East Coast, Jack Barker knew of Tim Kegermann before he ever landed in Crested Butte. A friend of a friend of a friend, Jack was told to “find Tim” when he came out West. Find him he did, and he began running those commercial trips on the Slate. Tim became Jack's mentor. “I told him I'd follow him down anything.” Jack grins, his dark eyes brimming with sudden intensity. “And I did.” Jack accompanied Tim on that fateful day when they pulled up at Oh Be Joyful Creek to find it raging. Word had spread of their intentions, generating responses like, “You're gonna do what? You've gotta be kidding.” Locals knew of the avalanche chute that sent 100-year-old trees down the narrow creek, choking it with giant pick-up-sticks. They knew of the high slate walls, the tremendous drop-offs, the thundering water. By the time Milo was hauling up Tim's kayak, a crowd had gathered, taut with anticipation. “It was intense,” says Jack. Tim launched into Oh Be Joyful Creek in a 14-foot-long Sabre. It was a “torpedo,” Jack explains, unlike the special creeking boats made today (which are shorter yet with larger volume and rise in the bow and stern, much like rocker skis, designed to keep kayakers on the water’s surface). Jack followed with Fred Yerky in, shockingly, a 12-foot Sotar raft. Always ready to enable adventure, Tim had told them, “I'm not taking a raft down that thing – but you can borrow one of mine.” The spectators all but held their collective breath as Tim plunged over the first fall, splashed into the spray, and fought to keep control to face the dangers that waited below. “Oh Be Joyful isn't like launching off one waterfall, then you're done and woo hoo,” says Jack. “After you stick that one, you're setting up for the next waterfall, the next log jam.” “To me it's about moving water and rocks,” says Tim. “You know the
Oh Be Joyful Creek photo by Xavier Fane
consequences of not making the move. A lot of it is just about believing – seeing and believing you can do it. You must use fear to motivate you to make the right move, not to paralyze you.” Ultimately the trio was successful. The only injury came when Fred went over the bars in a full-body whip-lash in what is now known as the 25-foottall “Big Drop,” broke his paddle, and earned 15 stitches to his face. The pioneering incident became famous, with Tim subsequently spinning tales for the book Class V Chronicles and being featured in a film that won entry into the Banff Film Festival, eventually showing to a sell-out crowd at the Center for the Arts. “It is the most coveted thing,” he says of the first descent. “It was way more fun than I really deserved.” Now Oh Be Joyful beckons kayakers like an alluring but sinister siren song, establishing a pilgrim's route for high-skilled paddlers like migrating birds seeking food and sex when the weather begins to warm. The sweet nectar of running “Oh Be” lasts for only a tiny golden drop in time – one month – in the early spring days of June when piles of snow still lie on the north sides of slopes and boulders, and dwarf larkspur are just emerging from the puddles beneath the sage. Today you can find videos of Oh Be Joyful on YouTube, long strands of commentary seeking beta in watery chatrooms like Mountain Buzz. Creekin' guidebooks give it five stars, the highest rating, saying, “If you haven't heard of OBJ, that's weird. Despite this run's extreme degree of over-exposure, this is still one of the best short runs in the state. This is Colorado creeking. The definition.” “Pilgrims can get a Camp 4 coffee, and it's still warm when they get to the creek,” boasts Milo of the gem's accessibility. In the short kayaking season, Crested Butte might see upwards of 200 hair-boaters frolicking in its creeking waters. The list of local hair-boaters is small, even over the course of time: names like Steve Melnick, Chris summer | 2012
LEFT: Big Drop, Oh Be Joyful Creek, photo by Kurt Reise
RIGHT: Connor Finney on Big Stupid Falls, Upper East River, photo by Chris Larsen
Menges, Jeff Smith, Brent Toepper, John Banker, Chris Larsen, Milo Wynne, Chris “Goody” Goodnough and Ethan Passant. There are women also: Kristie Murrin, Andi Burnite, Megan Paden and Niki O'Conner. Their names and photos appear in the guidebooks. Local Forest Service agents hand out their phone numbers to inquiring hopefuls. Pilgrims seek them out at haunts such as the Eldo, plying them for the latest beta, water flows and conditions over cold cans of PBR, eyes wide with anticipation. “It's like being heli-dropped into a no-fall zone,” offers Kristie, a former instructor turned consultant to World Class Kayak Academy with over 50 Oh Be runs notched in her steepcreekin' belt. “You do not want to flip.” Neither she nor anyone else of class V caliber plunked themselves in the middle of the gnar without prior training. Methodically, they all honed in on their skills. Many began with rafting, followed by years of learning to kayak, working their way up through the ranks of creeking the Slate and Daisy before finally gaining the skills to tackle Oh Be. Kristie explains, “You have to be
a solid class IV boater, able to run class V with confidence. You need a strong boof stroke, on the left and the right, to launch you over the lips of the falls without diving your bow. You must be able to react quickly, compensating for the random, unseen sleeper rocks.” To be sure, there are consequences. Kristie broke her back on Daisy. Andi, who was one of the first women to run Oh Be, broke her foot in what she describes as “hero to zero in seconds” on the Big Drop. Her husband, Goody, an accomplished boater with more than 20 years of paddling experience and 70-plus Oh Be Joyful runs, last summer was trapped beneath the turbulent water and survived by maintaining a tiny air pocket. For a harrowing 33 minutes, his friends Ethan Passant and Chris Menges struggled and fought amid the torrent before finally freeing him. Still, through injury and near misses, these boaters return to the water again and again, as if cast under an addictive spell. “People say they won't go boating because of the phenomenon of drowning,” says Goody. “But I feel more scared driving to Denver than creeking Oh Be Joyful. They miss the element of what water gives to people.
summer | 2012
I love being immersed in it – even if it's chocolate mud spring water. It's cleansing. Exhilarating.” Describing the lure of the river, even tough guys like Milo can wax philosophical. Milo, with more than 20 years of kayaking and just as many Oh Be Joyful runs, bears the nickname “Captain Black” for his obsession and experience in the even more harrowing Black Canyon. He says, “Rivers shaped our landscape and carved our planet. They are our lifeblood. They created all this beauty. We're made of water. You don't have to go up to experience the mountains; some of us prefer to go deeper.” Tim concurs. “For me, life is a river. It's good and bad and fun and sad, and I've seen it all. I've seen people die and done CPR and brought people back to life. Water is a part of the planet, and it's a part of us.” Many must pilgrimage to grab the Quadruple Crown (the Slate, the East, Daisy and Oh Be Joyful) in what has become a creeking mecca, but for local class V kayakers, that luxurious shot of adrenaline awaits the end of a normal workday. It’s a way to get the dust off, immerse yourself in the baptismal waters of icy snowmelt, and join in the camaraderie that only exists when you've risked your lives together. As you sit on your tailgate drinking a beer, the heart-pumping adrenaline leaks from your veins like the colors of the alpenglow sunset, leaving you with nothing but joy. Joy and the mellow buzz currenting through your body that says you did something spectacular today with a gaggle of like-minded, duct-tapped and scruffy enthusiasts that would scare your mother, but whom you love and trust deeply. “Folks always ask me if Chris learned his lesson,” says Goody's wife Andi about his near-fatal water entrapment. “But these are people that don't understand the passion. When you're a river folk, it's who you are. It runs through your veins. Yeah, we might get some life insurance, but I'm not going to stop someone from doing something that feeds his soul.” 36
HAULING, BUCKING, DIGGING: A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A FOREST SERVICE BACKCOUNTRY TRAIL CREW. Photos by Braden Gunem
“We have 1.3 million acres on our plate,” said Joe Laughlin, Forest Service trails and wilderness specialist for the Gunnison Ranger District. Depending on funding each summer, two to four crews, each averaging three to four people, do trail maintenance work for the Forest Service. With 1100 miles of trails in the Gunnison district, crews prioritize high-use trails and areas that badly need work to prevent further damage.
Stevan Beer headed up last summer’s backcountry trail crew, working with five-year veteran Lucas Martinez and apprentice Alex Pogue. The backcountry crew hikes into the farthest reaches with hand equipment, often camping for days at a time. Their chores: remove or buck fallen trees, re-bench trails, move rocks, clean out drainageways, repair and prevent erosion. The crew started last summer with a two-page list of prioritized trails. As snow melted and creek crossings diminished, they reached ever more remote areas.
On multi-day trips, the crew members rose by 5:15 to eat, break camp and hit the trail by 7 a.m. They worked ten-hour days, with 30-minute lunch breaks, ending by 5:30 each evening. Then… blessed rest. At Copper Lake, Lucas broke out his fly rod; Alex dove in to books. Hard work earned major food consumption, a mix of “real” food, freeze-dried meals and comfort items like pre-cooked bacon and Gummi bears. Though it felt good to come home to a shower, Lucas loved the freedom and camaraderie of the work. “You could have a conversation with someone and not catch them looking at their cell phones.”
THE CREW COULD HIKE SEVEN TO TEN MILES DAILY AND ONCE BUCKED 80 TREES IN FOUR DAYS. “I COULD DO A LOT OF PULL-UPS BY 38
When Alex first assembled all the durable but hefty Forest Service-issue gear, her backpack and tools weighed 65 pounds, a good chunk of her 110-pound body weight. By substituting some of her own lightweight camping gear, she ended up carrying about 50 pounds of gear. The three team members divvied up the tools (which could include a pulaski, ax, shovel, pickmatic, single bucksaw, hoe, wedges, shears and hand tools) and took turns carrying the six-foot double bucksaw.
Felling and bucking trees that impinge on the trails is “a lot of about physics and keeping yourself safe,” one sawyer said. “You have to look at the tensions acting on the tree and predict how it’s going to react when you relieve those tensions.” Joe noted that backcountry crews must be particularly cautious. “You have to weigh the risks and the public safety hazard. If it’s beyond your skill level, you have to leave it.” Some trails are cleared wider for horseback travel; others are left more closed in to keep the wilderness feel.
THE END OF THE SUMMER,” ALEX SAID. “I LIKE TO WORK HARD, AND FOR A PURPOSE I BELIEVE IN. IT’S THE MOST FUN JOB I EVER HAD.” summer | 2012
The crew discovered how much their wild neighbors savor salt when Alex left her sweat-soaked gloves out to dry and returned to find them well licked and chewed. A bear once visited their camp, but Stevan sent it trotting away with his wildcat impersonation. A work foray to Big Blue in Uncompahgre became known as “the National Geographic trip” after they encountered many grouse and herd after herd of elk.
Volunteers can sign up to go out with the Forest Service trail crews, participate in trail-repair days, or join trail-minded organizations like the Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association. 40
In wilderness, where chainsaw use is illegal, the main bucking tool is a vintage cross-cut saw from the 1940s. “Vintage saws are better than any modern saws,” Joe said; they’re made of better steel and ground so the blades are thinner at the back than at the teeth to keep the saws from getting stuck in the trees. The Forest Service has some remaining inventory but also finds the saws in antique stores. Only a handful of people in Colorado (including Joe) can sharpen the old saws, and the vintage sharpening tools are becoming as prized by antiquers as the saws themselves. The two-person saws reach about six feet long; the single-bucks about four feet. Some bear the CCC stamp from the Civilian Conservation Corps days.
ON HORSEBACK, IN COSTUME, AND WITH ART SUPPLIES, CRAZED FANS RALLIED AS THE WORLD’S TOP CYCLISTS ROARED THROUGH OUR BACKYARD IN THE USA PRO CYCLING CHALLENGE. IT HURT SO GOOD, THE RACERS WILL RETURN THIS YEAR. By Than Acuff 42
Du sty De me rso n
a prodigious day for the Gunnison Valley when the top professional bike racers in the world finished the second stage of the 2011 USA Pro Cycling Challenge with a ride up Highway 135, a sprint down Elk Avenue and a climb to the finish line in Mt. Crested Butte. This inaugural American race didn’t just draw So-andSo who once won a stage in the Tour de France or What’sHis-Name who did well in the Giro d’Italia. No, we had the top three finishers from the 2011 Tour de France – Cadel Evans, Andy Schleck and Frank Schleck – and top U.S. riders Levi Leipheimer and Tom Danielson, along with the aforementioned random cyclists. In fact, Danielson, who took ninth overall in the Tour de France, was the pre-race favorite to win the USA Pro Cycling Challenge because of his training and ability to suffer at altitude. Stretching 500 mountainous miles over seven days, climbing to 12,000-plus feet in elevation, the race took the athletes to higher altitudes than they’d ever had to endure. Leipheimer later called it “a beast.” The USA Pro Cycling Challenge was billed as “America’s answer to the Tour de France,” a claim that was
justified by the international media coverage, wild spectator enthusiasm and grueling course. On day two, August 23, the cyclists clawed their way 100 miles from Salida to Mt. Crested Butte, over 11,315-foot Monarch Pass, through downtown Gunnison and up toward Crested Butte. Their fans were waiting. Crested Butte certainly rolled out the red carpet for these athletes – our own version of a red carpet, that is. As the lead group, followed closely by the peloton, wound its way up the valley, Nathan Lacy raced them on horseback along the fence line of his family’s ranch. On entering the town limits of Crested Butte, the world-class athletes were treated to a showcase of local arts and passion. Sculptures fashioned out of classic townie bikes were hung from street signs, affixed to buildings (like the bike-parts heart on the front of Big Al’s Bike Heaven) and placed roadside in empty lots. The Old Town Inn mounted bikes along its roofline, and an artistic employee used old bed sheets to lay out a 40-foot cyclist in the lawn across the street. Street paintings included a summer | 2012
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Colorado state flag; a shout out to Andy Bamberg, a local bike enthusiast who had recently passed away; and a marijuana leaf with the word WELCOME painted below. The riders charged for a quick sprint down Elk Avenue in front of screaming spectators before veering up the road to Mt. Crested Butte. When the leaders made the turn for the final stretch, riders were pinned, standing out of the saddle and mashing their pedals on the climb to the finish line, gasping for air at 9,400 feet of elevation. Local Chad Reich, dressed like a giant taco, charged onto the course to run alongside Frank Schleck and offer some words of inspiration, yelling, “My grandma pushes a tougher gear up this hill!” Throngs of people cheered as Levi Leipheimer roared up the final steep of the Gothic Road and pumped his arms in victory across the finish line. Celebrity TV commentators Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwin reported on the proceedings from the Three Seasons parking lot looking out on the finish. After the other cyclists threw themselves across the finish line, I watched as some were whisked away to their team buses, others hung out with fellow riders to talk about the day… and then there was Jens Voigt. Voigt, a professional German bike racer, is one of the best-known professional bike racers in the world, and he’s known not just for his talents on the bike but also for his talent with words. He has an extensive list of all-time one-liners that include such sayings as, “If it hurts me, it must hurt the other ones twice as much,” and “Shut up, legs! Do what I tell you to do,” as well as this Jens gem, “You have got to be as insane as the insanity around you.” Needless to say, he’s a sports writer’s dream and is always swarmed following a race. But, there in Mt. Crested Butte, he was just sitting by himself on a patch of grass drinking an orange Fanta. I saw him there, a phenomenal opportunity, and all I could come up with was, “Welcome to Crested Butte, Mr. Voigt,” followed by
a pat on the back. He responded with a very German “Thank you” and shuffled off, bound, no doubt, for massages, carbo-loading and whatever else cycling royalty is treated to following a stage. The action moved to the awards platform in the festive expo area, which was filled with biking-related booths, beer gardens, a big-screen television, food vendors and live music. For his stage 2 victory, Levi Leipheimer was adorned with the usual bike-racing regalia: flowers, kisses on the cheek from beautiful women, and the yellow jersey. But, just to make sure he would remember where he was, he was also treated to locally made ROMP skis complete with a photo image of Crested Butte Mountain taken by photographer JC Leacock emblazoned on the top sheet. I have to admit, when Levi took those skis in hand, I chuckled, thinking there’s no way that pocket Hercules with random lightning strikes, but ((he stands 5’6” and weighs a mere the locals would not be denied. They 136 pounds) could actually ski on were determined to give the USA Pro those massive boards. But they’ll look excellent hanging in his trophy room. Due to course scheduling and the subsequent road closures, local fans found themselves in a bit of a conundrum. While everyone wanted to see their cycling heroes either hurtle down Elk Avenue or scramble to the finish in Mt. Crested Butte, they also wanted to be on course the next day for the Queen’s Stage, which took the riders from Gunnison over Cottonwood Pass bound for Independence Pass and ultimately Aspen (131 miles over two 12,000-foot summits). It was a race unto itself as the local fans rallied up Taylor Canyon. Some opted for the prearranged shuttles. Others drove like banshees to find the ultimate parking spot and tailgate set-up, while a large proportion of Crested Butte fans did as the athletes do, and rode their bikes to the top of Cottonwood Pass. Clouds circled the throngs of fans lining the final two miles of Cottonwood Pass, and the heavens added some spark to the occasion
Cycling Challenge a memorable goodbye as the riders climbed up and over the pass. A pink bunny was on hand, as
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was Chewbacca, and a massive blowup Mountaineer was tethered near the summit to celebrate Western State. When the race leaders approached the top, the scene turned to bedlam. Nothing new for the riders, I’m sure, given what they witness during the Tour de France, but completely new to the local fans who spend their mornings and evenings for three weeks in July glued to their televisions watching the Tour. This was a chance to see the spectacle up close and personal, to see the top riders in the world storm up the switchbacks of Cottonwood Pass like they were pancake-flat. The experience was intense. When the final rider topped out and headed down the paved side of Cottonwood Pass, the crowd stood around, almost in disbelief at what they’d just witnessed. Through wide grins, they remarked on the blinding pace of the riders on the ascent, and everyone had a story that started with, “Did you see (enter famous rider’s name) riding up that hill like it was no big deal? That was awesome.” The hours spent preparing for the day came to a climax in one massive, one-minute whoosh, and then it was time to race back down Cottonwood Pass as the clouds that had threatened all day finally unleashed. Fans returned to their lives in Crested Butte and barraged the local organizing committee with the same question. “Do you think they’ll come back next year?” In December 2011 that question was answered with a resounding yes. While the race has a new start city, beginning in Durango on August 20, race organizers will keep the Gunnison Valley in the mix for two days. The second stage will start in Montrose on August 21 and finish, again, with a climb up to Mt. Crested Butte. The following day, racers will start in Gunnison for another classic Queen Stage heading back over Cottonwood Pass to Aspen. See you in Mt. Crested Butte or on Cottonwood; I’ll be the guy in the Chewy suit.
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Stage 2 of the 2012 USA Pro Cycling Challenge will start in Montrose on August 21, pass through a Sprint Line in Gunnison, speed up Highway 135, through downtown Crested Butte, then power up Gothic Road to the uphill finish in Mt. Crested Butte. The next day, August 22, stage 3 will head north from Gunnison, turn out Taylor Canyon and pound over Cottonwood Pass to Buena Vista, then climb Independence Pass and scream into Aspen. In Crested Butte, there are two prime viewing areas: the Sprint Line on Elk Avenue (200 block) and the Mt. Crested Butte finish line. The finish festival will include vendors, music, awards, beer garden and big-screen television following the racers. Cyclists are expected to roar into Crested Butte between 2 and 3:30 p.m., but the festivities will begin long before that. Pre-race activities include a sanctioned U.S. Hand Cycling Criterium Race through Crested Butte; a townie costumed criterium; a Strider Cup race for two to four years olds; and a Gran Fondo ride on the course a few days before the race roars to town. Spectators should choose their sites early, since roads will be closed 30 minutes before the race zooms in and remain closed for up to an hour. Organizers encourage people to park at the Crested Butte Community School and take the bus or walk. For stage three on Wednesday, shuttles will take spectators to the top of Cottonwood Pass. A Pro Cycling newsletter will update guests daily. VIP tickets can be purchased at usaprocyclingchallenge.com or through local organizer Aaron “Huck” Huckstep at email@example.com. For details and updates: cbprochallenge.com.
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Emma Coburn winning the National Steeplechase title in 2011. Photo by Vietah Sailer
splash MAKING A
WITH FEET ON THE GROUND COBURN EVEN AS SHE FLIES TOWARD OLYMPIC CONTENTION IN THE STEEPLECHASE, EMMA REMAINS A PLAYFUL, AFFECTIONATE, SMALL-TOWN GIRL. By Sandy Fails
TELLING SCENE #1: Emma Coburn flashes over
the first water hurdle alongside three other racers. She skims the hurdle, splashes sure-footed into the far end of the water pit and strides back onto the track. Her rivals, the best steeplechase racers in the country, falter almost imperceptibly in the water, just enough to see Emma’s blond ponytail streak by.
TELLING SCENE #2: Emma Coburn, the day before the race. While other competitors are fighting anxiety or plugging into motivational tapes, Emma is tossing granola clusters at her boyfriend, or shopping for a new sofa pillow, or texting a funny photo to a friend. Though Emma is the 2011 U.S. and NCAA champion in steeplechase with a good shot at running in the 2012 Olympics, she remains a playful, grounded, kind-hearted, small-town girl. Emma’s coaches at the University of Colorado have helped polish her steeplechase technique, but her coordination and balance come partly from genetics and partly from her mountain childhood, skiing and playing in Crested Butte’s wild back yard. Likewise, Emma’s ability to balance world-class competition with child-like playfulness can also be attributed to both her personality and her home town.
“Emma’s still super humble, genuine and goofy; a breath of fresh air,” said her former Crested Butte basketball coach, Mary Mike Haley. Though Emma has gained both discipline and confidence as a runner, “she’s still a free spirit, almost naïve about the world. She’s going to chill out, have a good time and then go do a race.” This June, Emma will defend her steeplechase title in the 2012 national championships. If she places in the top three, she will train in Europe to compete in steeplechase in the 2012 London Olympics. Steeplechase has been called “the duck-billed platypus of the track and field world,” combining a 3,000-meter distance race on a standard track with 28 hurdle jumps and seven water jumps. The slantbottomed water pit is 12 feet long and about two feet deep at the lowest point. The obstacles of the steeplechase course can confound traditional distance runners, trained to maintain a continuous rhythm. So top steeplechasers are often multi-talented, multisports athletes – like girls who grew up running around the mountains. Emma lived in Boulder until age nine, but spent her summers in Crested Butte and nearby Tincup, where her family owned a cabin. The Coburns moved summer | 2012
to Crested Butte full time in 2000. Back then, Emma hardly seemed destined to become an international athlete. “I was a skinny, little, awkward, girly thing,” she said. “My parents, aunts and uncles felt sorry for me. Gracie and Willy [her older siblings] were such great athletes. I was a shy little girl who just wanted to stay home with Mom.” In Crested Butte, Emma grew more agile just by keeping up with her lively family and friends – hiking the peaks, swimming the streams, speeding down the ski slopes or around the ice rink, even competing in the Coburns’ costumed family Olympics that featured sporting events involving, say, blindfolds, ping-pong balls and puzzle pieces. “I had pretty much an ideal childhood,” Emma recalled. “We’d say, ‘Mom, we’re heading into town.’ Having such freedom, we all had a little more maturity and respectfulness. On the weekends we’d go to Tincup and go square dancing or build bonfires or go snowmobiling. In the city, kids go hang out at the mall and drink Slurpees.” As an adolescent, Emma followed her siblings into school athletics. “I just did what Gracie and Willy did. I started getting more coordinated because I was so active. In high school I did cross-country, volleyball, basketball and track, and on weekends I skied with my parents and snowboarded with friends. Gracie and I were varsity in four sports a year, but it was light-hearted and fun, mostly about hanging out with friends.”
Many athletes from large schools burn out because they have to choose one sport and do it intensely year round. “But I didn’t plunge into track until later, so it’s still fun and new for me now,” Emma said. When Emma began playing basketball, coach Mary Mike noticed her not because she was a stand-out athlete, but because she was open, self-less and funny. One year
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she averaged 16 rebounds a game, an amazing state record, “but it wasn’t about Emma; it was about the team,” Mary Mike said. “She had a positive attitude all the time.” Though by her junior year Emma could out-run and out-jump everyone on the basketball court, “you had to keep reminding her she was good,” Mary Mike said. In a regional playoff game, with the team down by 15 points, Mary Mike had an animated half-time talk with Emma Coburn and friend/teammate Emma “Smalls” Vosburg. In the second half, the fired-up girls sparked a campaign to win the game and send Crested Butte to state. Emma’s low-key humility could be “hilarious… and also maddening,” Mary Mike said.
Whatever frustrations her coaches suffered, Emma more than compensated with her big heart and sparkly sense of fun. In high school she was kind to everyone, popular or not. At a pivotal race, she interrupted her own preparations to go help another runner who had fallen. At the same time, her silly antics, often in tandem with her sister and close friends, reminded Mary Mike of exuberant puppies. Crested Butte, Emma said, taught her to balance athletic intensity and merriment. Her role models, from teachers to neighbors, were active, fit, disciplined and fun-loving. “There’s not that many stern, serious people in Crested Butte,” she said. “They take their passions seriously, but it’s hard to be too serious there.” In high school, the track coaches recognized Emma’s effortless running and jumping style and placed her in the high jump and distance running events. Trent Sanderson, former collegiate track coach who led the Crested Butte Academy running program and then formed Team Prep USA, noticed the fleet-footed girl traipsing around town in her flip-flops. After talking with her parents, he began working with Emma in the evenings after she had practiced with the high school team. With snow covering the ground and few places to train, they sometimes borrowed the Crested Butte South fire station, doing treadmill work to the sound of Aerosmith on the old music box. “For a while we called her ‘Biscuit,’ from Seabiscuit the
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race horse; she’s so naturally efficient, she looks like she’s not even working out there,” Trent said. “I felt she could be one of the best ever, but I had to get the belief out of her.” In her junior year of high school, with encouragement from her family and coaches, Trent introduced Emma to the steeplechase event and entered her in the high school nationals. He convinced the race officials to move the unknown runner into the fastest heat, where she took fourth place. CU coach Mark Wetmore first saw Emma at the nationals in North Carolina. “Only New York sponsors the steeplechase for high schoolers, so most of the racers at nationals are inexperienced and technically challenged,” he said. “Emma stood out as the one who didn’t look like she was going to seriously injure herself.” From there, Trent calls Emma’s running career “a Cinderella story.” Coming from her small high school, her race times weren’t phenomenal. But she was recruited, along with her boyfriend Joe Bosshard, by CU, her parents’ and older siblings’ college and the focus of fierce familial loyalty. Her first roommate was Jenny Barringer, then the national collegiate steeplechase champ, who left Emma with huge shoes to fill. Leaping from her graduating class of 19 to the Pac-12, Emma dedicated herself to her renowned coaches and quickly improved. “I didn’t think I was that good until my sophomore year, when I won the Big 12 Steeplechase. Then this last year I won the Big 12,
“Sometimes when you get an athlete to a certain level, they lose that innocence. Emma’s hasn’t gone away. All the pressure and fame hasn’t changed her a bit.” –Trent Sanderson NCAA and USA championships. That gave me the confidence to know I belong where I am,” she said. She continued, “Being an unknown from a little ski town, I never had a target on my back. That’s changed a bit, particularly in steeplechase, but it’s not that scary. If ten people are gunning me down, I still run my own race. In the mile or 1500, I’m still under the radar.” While she used to approach the start line with more fear than excitement, Emma has started to love racing. “It’s more about opportunity than dread,” she said. Rather than pump herself up too much before a race, she tries to focus on “business as usual” – her goals for this race and beyond. Now that running has become a career, Emma’s life involves less play and more work. “If I don’t hurt a little on Sunday, I’ll hurt twice as hard on Monday,” she said of her training. But she maintains her niche between “the crazies and the lazies.” “A lot of college runners are either over-serious – head cases who over-train or have eating disorders
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The Coburn family: Emma, Bill, Gracie, Joe, Annie and Willy.
– or they don’t take it seriously at all. I think of it like a career job. My training is important, but not the most important thing in my life.” As friend Emma Vosburg commented, “Runners can be a special breed, meticulous, calculated, all about splits and times. But Emma breaks that stereotype. She’s not pretentious. And she can still be really goofy. Running is what she’s good at, what she does, but not who she is.” Emma’s coaches consider her unusual because she is both extremely successful and extremely normal. “She is absolutely without drama, jealousy or narcissism. We wish we could clone her,” Mark said. Her family members are her biggest supporters, coach Heather Burroughs noted, “but they don’t treat her like a super star.” Parents Annie and Bill travel to many of her races, sometimes with younger brother Joe, “but the focus is less on the race than on spending time with Emma.” Sister Gracie and friend Emma Vosburg text or call Emma almost daily, watch every race online, and laugh that the most laid-back of their tight triumvirate is the one becoming a world-class racer. “They keep me sane and happy,” Emma said. “Gracie and Emma V and I have such a close bond, we each know what the other is thinking. My family, my boyfriend and 54
my friends are who I am more than anything.” Though boyfriend Joe Bosshard is also a successful CU runner, the two set aside their stopwatches on their mellow Saturday runs together. In the midst of their demanding schedules, Joe cooks most of their healthy meals, which Emma supplements with her legendary consumption of cereal or pasta. “Eat, sleep, run, school. It sounds boring, but it makes me really happy,” Emma said. Happiness seems to be working on the track as well. Coach Mark noted that, while most late collegians level off, Emma keeps shaving her times. She has run 9:37 for the steeplechase, among the best times in the U.S., but needs to run about 9:20 to be “world class.” “Her continued improvement indicates that’s within reach,” he said. Whether or not Emma runs in the 2012 Olympics, she has a strong shot at the two summer Olympics after that, Trent said. He also predicts “some lucrative contracts after she finishes her collegiate obligations. The media love to interview her. She has this small-town-girl appeal, a huge sense of family, and she’s never lost where she came from. That makes her an incredible role model – for her community, the state, even American long-distance running.”
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“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” ~John Muir Clockwise from top left: Shayn Estes, Xavier Fane, Trent Bona, Rebecca Weil 56
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â€œForget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.â€?
Clockwise from top left: J.C. Leacock, Nathan Bilow, Kurt Reise 58
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Photo : Bob Brazell
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FROM NEW ZEALAND TO ELK AVENUE: THE SECRET INGREDIENTS THAT CREATE CRESTED BUTTE’S SUSPENDED GARDENS. By Katherine Darrow
ne secret ingredient for the spectacular hanging flower displays that decorate Crested Butte in the summertime comes from bogs in New Zealand, where crews with pitchforks gather tons of sphagnum moss. This superabsorbent moss is dried and pressed into special basket liners. When combined with special soil imported from Canada, vermiculite mined in Virginia, wire baskets crafted in Asia, starter plants grown in southern California, and hybrids originally developed in Europe, the result is a world of botanical beauty. But putting it all together for delivery in Crested Butte requires the artistry of basket designers plus high-tech greenhouse management here in Colorado. “It takes about three months for a moss-lined flower basket to fill out,” said Alyson McGinty, garden center manager at Rocky Mountain Trees and Landscaping in Crested Butte. “Since we don’t have heated greenhouses in this valley, almost all of our baskets are made in Hotchkiss, which has a much warmer climate.” “We start planning our baskets in August for the following summer,” explained Emily Knehs, designer
and manager at Lost Mesa Flower Company, a wholesale nursery nestled in the banana belt of Colorado. In early August, greenhouse managers gather to browse and judge the annual regional “plant trials” at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. At these plant trials, horticulturists from around the country parade their newest patented varieties, sort of like a runway fashion show for the gardening trade. “Growers even pay special attention to the Pantone color of the year,” said Emily. “This year, we’ll see more oranges, since the color is Tangerine Tango!” The Bests of Show at plant trials determine which breeds flower farms grow from seeds and cuttings on hundreds of acres of greenhouses around the country; most of the stock that comes to Colorado is delivered from California. It takes about 12 weeks to grow a pansy or petunia from seed, so growers need to place orders by October for any special varieties they’d like to have delivered the following spring. When pallets of starter plants and truckloads of soil arrive in February, basket production begins. Emily, who has a degree in fine art as well as a summer | 2012
A jungle of flowers at a local greenhouse awaits the floral-glory days of a mountain summer. TOP RIGHT: The hanging gardens on Elk Avenue.
FLOWERS ARE AFFORDABLE WAYS TO MAKE PEOPLE FEEL GOOD – “LIKE A GOOD DRINK DURING LEAN TIMES,” SAYS KIM ROBERTS, WHO CO-FOUNDED LOST MESA FLOWER COMPANY WITH HER HUSBAND, FORMER BUTTIAN CHRIS DOURLEY, IN 1990.
gardener’s heart, maps each basket design on a template that specifies the variety and color of flower and where each should be planted. Designing a basket requires attention not only to hue and tone, but form, texture, shape and balance. Once the baskets are planted, an intricate network of irrigation and fertilization tubes keeps them watered and fed. “When there is no moss showing, that’s when we know a basket is ready to ship out,” said Emily, as she finished arranging the first of hundreds of moss baskets she’ll create this season. After she soaked the newly planted basket, the thin brown sphagnum moss liner instantly puffed up and turned green. The liners hold twenty times their weight in water, another key ingredient for gorgeous annual flower displays. “Calibrachoa, bacopa, ivy geranium and verbena,” noted Alyson, “are all good choices for a no-hassle basket. They can survive a little neglect.” The names of other plants bred purely for long-lasting pleasure sound as seductive as they appear in full flower: nasturtium, viola, alyssum, lobelia, osteospermum, and dracaena. Trademarked varieties are like fine wines: Littletunia Shiraz, Delta Premium True Blue, Penny Violet Flare, and Apricot Punch Superbells are just a splash of the thousands of varieties a designer must choose from to suit the needs of discerning customers. You can select from dozens of moss baskets at any of the local nurseries, including Alpengardener in Crested Butte South, the Greenhouse and Rocky Mountain Trees and Landscaping in Riverland, and Misty Mountain Floral in Crested Butte. If you want one custom made, get your order in by February! summer | 2012
FOR YOUR SINCE MOUNTAIN 1973 LIFESTYLE Even if you don’t have a cozy greenhouse and fancy drip system, you can build your own basket at home as soon as the days are frost-free. It will take a few weeks to fill out and be glorious; patience is a key ingredient!
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Starting stuff in
How a funny, fertile era four decades ago gave pillars: the Arts Festival and Mountain Theatre. Some folks love the idea of just being in paradise, and some love the idea but wonder what there would be to do there. Most of us aren’t purists about it, but tend to seesaw around on the “to be or to do, do be do” scale. That was my experience, anyway, 35 or 40 years ago in the Shangri-La of Crested Butte. In 1970, at the height of the “America: Love It or Leave It” period, I commissioned a poster from Susan Anderton that read, “Crested Butte:
Love It by Leaving It – Like You Found It.” But as editor of the town newspaper I probably did more to violate that maxim than almost anyone else in town. I was constantly engaged with people around the upper end of the valley banging up against that Crested Butte paradox: we all loved Crested Butte the way we found it – and proceeded to cook up ways to make it better. Or different. Or just more like what we’d grown up with. (“Paradise” is not the plural of “paradox.”) Most of the ideas bubbling up then – even the serious ones – were fueled by alcohol and caffeine. The town already had a good “café society” in the late 1960s and early ‘70s – which is to say, a lot of the people, from both the “old town” (the mining town of the sixties and before) and the “new town” (the resort and recreation town of the sixties and after) tended to check in at one of the bars in the mornings (coffee usually), afternoons or evenings or both, for a cup or a glass and discussion. There were premeeting meetings and post-meeting meetings for all official meetings, and most of the talk was about the town, what it was and what it might be.
birth to two Crested Butte cultural By George Sibley Photos by Sandra Cortner
Many of the ideas that flew so high on the twelve-totwo shift never made it out the door, but some of them survived into the cold light of the morning after, and if an idea made it from there to noon, I was usually one of the first people to hear about it; every good idea needs a newspaper to give it credibility. Years later, I read an essay in Daniel Boorstin’s trilogy, The Americans, about frontier newspapers, which took as their principal task not reporting the news to locals, but bragging on the town to the world – to give those passing through reasons why they should stay, and to give the scouts from “BackEast” money, looking around for communities to colonize, some print to take home to the masters of the universe. I recognized my Chronicle in that description – a paper with two or three subscribers out of town for every one in town. Boorstin’s essay also made me aware of the temptation for “creative journalism” such a medium represented. Whereby, according to one of Boorstin’s historical sources, editors “sometimes represented things that had not yet gone through the formality of taking place.” Well, the Chronicle never exactly did that – although readers did point out to me that calling something “the first annual whatever” is oxymoronic. But I did give a lot of ink those years around 1970 to Buttians who were struggling to get an idea “through the formality of taking place,” and I did a lot of the pushing and grunting in getting things to that point as well. Those years saw the emergence of such disparate and widesummer | 2012
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“Who says hippies won’t work? You just have to not pay them.”
ranging ideas, mostly hatched on the twelve-to-two shift, as Flauschink, the Arts Festival and the Mountain Theatre. All of which not only took place, but to the amazement of all of us who were present at the creation, continue to take place -- ideas moving toward their fifth decade of realization, transformation, decline, revival, and ongoing reinvention. The two ideas celebrating their 40th anniversaries this year, the Arts Festival and the Mountain Theatre, both owe their origin to a recurring idea that was articulated yet again in a panel discussion just this past winter at the Crested Butte Center for the Arts: how to develop art and cultural activities as a stronger pillar of the local economy. That idea was planted as a seed in the late 1960s, when Crested Butte was still hosting Dr. Hubert Winston Smith’s Law-Science Academy, focused on forensic medicine but with an occasional crowd-pleaser like a debate on psychotropic drugs, and the Rocky Mountain Biological Lab bugologists were up in Gothic as they had been for most of the geological age, and a couple of summer art workshops had been lured to town by an organization called the Crested Butte Society – worth a story in itself.
In addition we had serious artists starting to move to town – goldsmith Harold O’Connor and his weaver wife Lena, woodcarver Barbara Kotz, silkscreener and painter Susan Anderton, leatherworker Rob Wolf, to name a few. We began to think big, about what we called, only halfjoking, “The Summer University of the Southern Rockies.” Or at least a campus of it – Aspen already had a running start. A desire to show off the local artists led to the first Arts Festival in 1971. That, and the fact that a carpenterartist, Michael Berry, had purchased a semi load of railroad ties with which he wanted to do something creative. So in early summer he and fellow carpenter-artist Jim Cazer incorporated me and the newspaper into the idea of an arts festival – in a “pavilion” to be constructed with a railroad-tie floor and roofed over with all the old barnwood they and all of Crested Butte’s random hippie energy could accumulate by late August. And that’s what happened, to all our surprise. Berry and Cazer pulled together a small army of hippies (who says hippies won’t work? You just have to not pay them), and they assembled a marvelous erection in a vacant lot about where the Post Office parking lot is now: a dusky labyrinth smelling of creosote where the town’s dozen or so artists, plus a few from Gunnison, showed their work. Michael Berry also had music contacts in Texas that brought a carload of Austin musicians up for the weekend. We got to hear Michael Martin Murphy that summer before he was Michael Martin Murphy. A surprising number of people came from Gunnison, Montrose and Grand Junction, as well as friends of friends from all over the state, to see what was going on; the restaurants, bars and lodges had a big weekend, and we all decided to do it again. The Mountain Theatre began the following summer – but might not have happened at all, had the second Arts Festival not shimmered as a goal on the near horizon. It also started in the local bars – but more on the five-toseven post-work shift. I was no longer doing the newspaper that summer; I’d retreated to Gothic for the winter to try to become a “real writer” and was working construction in CB to save up for another winter in Gothic. Working on the same crew was a new guy in town, Tom Towler, a recovering Vietnam vet like quite a few others hanging out in the mountains in the 1970s. Before the “Vietnam theater” (as generals like to call their war zones), Towler had basically lived and taught theater, mostly in Chicago. What he and I realized, after a couple weeks of drinking together after work, was that we, and a lot of other people who liked to do things with other people, were doing it all in the bars after work and basically summer | 2012
getting hammered by seven o’clock, which was one thing if you were 22, but raised hell with the liver, family life, et cetera if you were old enough to know better. We needed something to do instead – another half-shift at something meaningful, or at least fun, that would keep us out of the bars until a more respectable hour. So Towler suggested we do a play for the second Arts Festival. That was sometime in May, which left us just under three months to get the whole thing together, starting from scratch. He would be the artistic director, I would be the producer, which meant producing a place to do the play, lights, sets, et cetera. He didn’t make it any easier on us by deciding that we needed to do a large-cast show, a hillbilly tragedy, “Dark of the Moon” – and we needed to do it outdoors, framed against the mountain, which meant we had to build not just a set but the stage under it, too. I’ve written elsewhere (see “Dragons in Paradise”) about the dramas and traumas involved in getting that show up, and there’s not space here for detailing the whole business. Suffice it to say – there are situations you would never get yourself into if you actually knew what you were doing and, worse, what had to be done that you didn’t know how to do yet. Everyone ought to have at least one situation like that in his or her life, where you eventually stagger out the other end, maybe with some achievement behind you, as well as some really strange and maybe horrible experiences that will wake you up in a sweat for months after. But it did get done, in time for the second Arts Festival, and – like the first Arts Festival – it was a delightful surprise at what we could actually pull together from our local collection of loose ends. Some readers quick at math will wonder why two organizations starting a year apart are both celebrating their 40th anniversaries in the same summer. That has to do with what happened with the third Arts Festival, which different people would describe in different ways. As principal organizer of that one, my version is that it was so overwhelmingly successful that everyone was afraid to do another one the next year. Others will say the weekend appeared to get thoroughly out of control, and the town was lucky that most of it was still standing after the unanticipated barbarian hordes went home. In any case, after a one-year hiatus, a betterorganized and more focused Arts Festival returned the following year
and has continued since. The Mountain Theatre quickly became a year-round producer of drama for the valley, and after a couple of years, survived the departure of founder Tom Towler. For things to succeed in this kind of community development process, they have to have both creators and continuers, starters and sustainers. Launching an idea, and getting a stable and sustaining structure under the idea, are two different skill sets, both vital to the idea and the dynamic community in which the idea has to take root. I’ve not been a good “continuer” on the ideas I helped start in the valley, and I’m grateful for those who have nurtured those fragile seedlings into their full bloom today. The Summer University of the Southern Rockies continues to root, seed, sprout and grow.
Dark of the Moon
middle years Nathan Bilow
A LONG-TIME ARTS FESTIVAL DIRECTOR FONDLY RECALLS THE RAINS, THE REWARDS AND THE ORANGE-FLECKED TENNIS SHOES. By Sandra Cortner Nathan Bilow
My sister and I share more than parents. Beginning in 1976, Kathleen and I shared one of the most important tasks of the Crested Butte Arts Festival: measuring, marking and numbering 10-foot-square spaces on three blocks of Elk Avenue, where the artists would set up their booths. Our equipment consisted of ten spongy-topped containers of white shoe polish from Stefanic’s Grocery and a 10-foot-long, slender board. The rolled-up, boothnumbering map stuck out of my back pocket. That first summer, Eleanor and Tony Stefanic must have been bewildered, and then amused, as they watched us, each with a shoe polish applicator in one hand and the end of the board in the other, stooping over the pavement every ten feet to mark a border and paint a number within it. Each summer afterward, they kindly stocked up on white shoe polish, not ordinarily a big seller in a tennis shoes and hiking boots kind of town. We started painting at 7:30 a.m. on the Friday of the festival, trying to finish before the street filled with people and parked cars blocking our route. Once the white shoepolished lines and numbers had time to dry, they would
last until winter. We cursed the occasional early-morning storm, which washed them into illegible puddles and sent us fleeing for cover. Eventually the Stefanics retired and closed the store, and we traded white shoe polish for Day-Glo orange spray paint. It applied more easily to the rough pavement, showed up better and dried faster. The downsides were the constant shaking to keep the nozzle primed and the absurdity of wearing yellow rubber kitchen gloves to protect our hands. The marshals’ department now helps to clear the street of cars, but the questions remain the same: “What the heck are you doing?” from tourists and “What number is my booth and can I set up now?” from artists. Over the years, I helped a variety of festival directors by painting the booth numbers on the street, writing press releases and helping to jury the artists. First, Lyn Faulkner, before the torch was passed (in no particular order) to Pat Dawson, Terry Taylor, Robin Grabowski, Rosie Gebhart, Jan Gerber and Deb Cheesman, and finally again to me in 1991 after I’d been laid off a low-paying newspaper job. When I saw the ad (“Arts Festival director wanted; pay $1,000”), I perked up, until I realized the pay was for summer | 2012
the whole festival, not per month. However, I was experienced and figured it would be a small part-time job until I could find something else. Part-time in name only, I soon discovered. I worked all day, every day, all summer on my own computer in our cramped living room, while storing T-shirts, files, office supplies and the 10-foot stick in our shed. Hikes and bike rides took a back seat. My patient, shy husband quit answering the phone. I walked in on an early conversation: “No, she’s not here.” “No, I can’t help you.” “I don’t work with the Festival.” “No, I have no pull…at all!” “Just leave your number and I’ll have her…NO, I can’t tell you where you are on the wait list…honest.” Over the years, I earned raises, moved into a real office, hired an assistant and gave up the search for other work. I even retired from painting the street and recruited a faithful volunteer, until she became pregnant and my sister and I reunited once more with the orange paint, yellow rubber gloves and 10-foot stick. By the time the arts festival rolled around each year, I had checked off all the items on my todo list, a list that increased over the years from one page to five. My pay-off came on Saturday when the morning dawned warm and clear and the weight lifted from my shoulders. At 10 a.m., artists from First Street to Fourth Street unzipped their booths. The unveiling of the artwork was my Christmas morning with its array of beautiful gifts under the tree — glass, jewelry, pottery, sculpture and more, all sparkling in the sunlight. Until 1998. That year the tents unzipped to the ominous roll of thunder. We turned our faces west to Kebler Pass and a racing curtain of coal-black clouds. Within minutes, the heavens unleashed rain, then hail, and finally socked in for a torrential downpour. The street gutters began to overflow. 72
The street gutters began to overflow. We raced from booth to booth warning the artists to move their boxes of inventory out of the gushing river’s path. We raced from booth to booth warning the artists to move their boxes of inventory out of the gushing river’s path. A fiber artist struggled to lift a heavy, wet rug out of the gutter. Creating a dam, it had backed the water into a lake that was drowning the booths upstream. As we lugged it aside, the downstream booths flooded as well. Customers darted between booths and cloudbursts and, unfazed by the weather, continued to buy artwork! Several hours later, I squished home through the storm in my water-logged tennis shoes to peel off sopping clothes, shed some tears, and dress appropriately to face the now 30-degree weather. The sun finally broke through. It would not be the last time rain tried to ruin the day, and with time, I learned to accept all kinds of weather. By the time my 16th Arts Festival and 60th year rolled around, I was ready to move on. As the 2006 Arts Festival weekend ended, I raised a toast to the end of an era with a few long-time, fellow creaky-kneed assistants. “No more leaky, sweaty, yellow rubber gloves to protect our hands from dribbling sprayers, no more orange-flecked tennis shoes and clothing. And who gives a damn if it rains!?” With that farewell, I passed my torch and spray paint can into Diana Ralston’s capable hands. I would miss the sense of accomplishment as festival director, but not the capricious weather nor the street painting. I planned to browse among the booths, lunch at the food court and share with my sister a coffee milkshake instead of the other end of the 10-foot stick.
The festival (crestedbutteartsfestival.com) will open on Friday evening for the first time, with a street party, lighted artist booths, beer and wine pavilion action, and music on the Ragged Mountain Stage. The culinary committee added a Farm to Table Dinner, pairing four notable chefs and four area farmers, who will talk about the harvest that went into the evening’s feasting.
WITH A POWER SURGE
Starting in the winter, artists created pieces (from paintings to ceramics) using a “40” theme, either subtly (e.g. using forty brushstrokes) or as a literal design element. Those will be displayed throughout the valley to honor the
The 2012 Arts Festival adds harvest meals, artful bridges and a Friday street party.
festival’s 40th anniversary, then sold, with the proceeds going back to the
The 2012 Arts Festival, August 3-5, 2012, will turn Elk
Six Crested Butte bridges will be transformed into art installations and a
Avenue into a cultural cornucopia: 175 diverse artists
seventh artist or collective will fashion an entrance to the festival itself. Co-
(juried from many hundreds of applicants), beer and
sponsored by the Arts Festival, Artists of the West Elks, and the Art Studio
wine pavilion, live music/entertainment, culinary
of the Center for the Arts, the project was aswirl with ideas as of press
court, art and food demos, children’s art alley and art
time, e.g. illumination art powered by electromagnetic energy generated
auction. Look for a different booth configuration this
by water passing under the bridge, and a combination visual/performance
year, along with the following features new for 2012.
art installation with the Crested Butte Dance Collective. Take a walking
tour during the festival weekend. Local art organizations eventually hope to create a week-long visual arts celebration surrounding the Arts Festival, “with stuff cropping up all over, from the Woods Walk to local coffee shops,” said Melissa Mason of the Art Studio.
A New Era for
After celebrating its 100-year legacy in 2011, Western State College of Colorado in Gunnison is looking to its future with a new designation – Western State Colorado University. If legislation to change the institution’s name and designation passes in Colorado, Western will adopt its new identity on Aug. 1.
Numerous changes are on the horizon for Western’s campus as well. In the fall, a new student apartment complex, The Pinnacles, will open while construction of a multipurpose field house/recreation center will begin. Western also is expanding its academic offerings, including the development of more online and graduate programs.
As Western moves forward in its second century of service, it will remain committed to the core values that attract students from across the nation. Small class sizes, a student-centered environment and experiential learning will always be part of the Western experience.
Call (800) 876-5309 to Schedule a Tour! www.western.edu • firstname.lastname@example.org • Gunnison, Colorado summer | 2012
HOW MANY LIVES HAS THE CENTER FOR THE ARTS TOUCHED IN ITS 25 YEARS? By Molly Murfee
Bobbie Reinhardt backstage. Photo by Nathan Bilow
The original “Big Gray” reeked of motor oil instead of back-stage greasepaint. But in just one year, close to $500,000 was raised, plans
were approved, and the old county shop building was renovated into the new Center for the Arts. The community had spoken, strongly, for establishing its own cultural core.
Twenty-five years later, the Center has seen a generation of humans grow up – from toddlers to young adults, budding artists to
accomplished ones. Seeds planted on the Center’s stage have blossomed into careers and acclaim in music, dance, theater and visual arts. 74
Bobbie Reinhardt, co-founder and executive director of the Crested Butte School of Dance, was one of those walking around the slag pile of coal referred to as “Mt. Black,” plotting how to morph the metal shop building into a community arts center. Ever since the creation of the Center, Crested Butte School of Dance shows have performed there. “The Center stage has allowed me to fulfill this passion… to offer children, teens and adults the opportunity to perform,” said Bobbie. “I’ve also been able to perform, which was a dream of mine as a child. Everyone has this need to express themselves, to have others see them express themselves, and to be rewarded through applause or flowers and compliments. That success propels them to go to college, or pursue a life in the arts, or excel in any occupation or place they hold in this world. I can’t imagine life without the Center stage.” Abby Leinsdorf grew up with Bobbie’s School of Dance, performing on the Center’s stage starting at age three. She remembers idolizing the older dancers who could put on their own make-up and had multiple costume changes. She couldn’t wait to be old enough to take jazz. Eventually, she became one of those older girls. So talented she was asked to teach dance when she was only in high school, Abby joined a professional dance company in Michigan for several years during college. Even with the leg-stretching room of a larger, big-city stage, Abby was nostalgic for the Center. “There’s a lot to be said about a stage where you can feel the audience,” she admitted. “The stages in Michigan with all their fancy lights didn’t have people hooting and hollering while you performed.”
When kinetic artist John Bukaty moved to town, he hadn’t yet painted at a performing arts center. His work of painting live performances had taken place clandestinely in smoky bars and outdoor festivals. The Center welcomed John and allowed him to paint Booker T. Jones as his first show. John saw the Center as perpetually giving to the community, and being involved allowed him to become a part of that community. He valued the experience so much that he donated all of his paintings from that season. “It brought my work to a more professional level and validated what I did. The Center for the Arts was the family behind me. It helped me evolve. I can see a maturity that came out of that experience. Now I’m painting at performing arts centers in New Orleans and black tie events.” While John’s performance paintings took shape in the auditorium, artist Ben McLoughlin uses the Piper Gallery to showcase not only his own art, but that of his students as well. With no true gallery space at the Crested Butte Community School, the Piper serves as the venue for Ben’s art students. “It’s terrific to get them into that space. They look at their work in a different way. It elevates the experience for them to summer | 2012
In the Center’s Piper Gallery, Ben McLoughlin reviews student art work with Perdie and Tommy Linehan.
put their work in a place where adult artists also show,” he said. “It’s an invaluable resource.” Through their shows, the students learn how to hang and label their art, work within a space, and be part of an opening. The students also get to witness their teacher, a watercolor artist, display his work, from pricing to titles, signs to spacing. Often, they venture to the Piper to catch a reception and interact with professional artists. “The Center provides the only space in town where an artist may exclusively show work without sharing it with other artists,” said Ben. “The Center is helping to push the visual arts forward in this community.” 76
Many remember Alex Johnstone from when he worked at Clark’s Market – giving away bread and chickens destined for the dumpster when one day past their due date, and plucking away on his mandolin with his feet swinging over the checkout counter when it was close to closing time. Alex eventually became the charismatic stage personality and mandolin/fiddle artist of Spring Creek Bluegrass. After getting their start in Crested Butte, Spring Creek’s musicians spent eight years traveling, playing more than 1,000 shows, winning awards like the Telluride Bluegrass Competition. “But I’ve always had a huge passion for the Center stage,” said Alex. “I love knowing Deadhead Ed is in the back doing sound and recordings. One of my most touching memories was playing with Drew Emmitt after Art [Thilquist] passed away. Another favorite was playing for free to raise money to stop the mine on Red Lady. “The Center has also served as a place for us to perform our tightest arrangements. People really listened, and it was a great place to interact with the audience. That theater setting is where a musician plays his best. Those shows hold a special place in your heart. That in itself propels your career.” On the other end of the spectrum, long-time local Les Choy has been a musician for almost 40 years, playing acoustic and electric guitar, upright and electric bass, five-string banjo and percussion. The list of bands he has played in, orchestrated and spearheaded is as long as he is tall, including Household Garbage, Daydreamer’s Ball, Cimarron String Band, Mantaro, 3 Guys Named Moe, Eldorado All-Stars, Matx, Space Janitors, Coupe de Grass, Bamboo Steamer, Ragged Mountain Ramblers, Blue Monk and Big Timbre. “Many of these projects came out of Local Musician’s
Night at the Center, where you could end up pairing with enough people to start a band.” He laughed, noting he was the director for ten years. “It was a good cauldron.” “As a venue the Center’s stage is my favorite type. The audience gives you their undivided attention. Your craft is appreciated to the fullest. You want to do your best. The stage is the perfect canvas for practicing that.” On the Center’s stage, Les served as the band director
for the Crested Butte Mountain Theatre’s production of “Grease.” Big Hinge, his original jazz fusion band, included Michael Travis (pre-String Cheese Incident) when they opened for Bela Fleck and the Flecktones at the Center. With Ragged Mountain Ramblers, Les and Michael (postString Cheese) once again came together with Bruce Hayes. Les directed Bamboo Steamer and the Island Nation Horns, an original jazz group, under the Western Slope Summer Music Festival, precursor to the Crested Butte Music Festival. And the Center’s stage has given Les the opportunity to sit in and jam with visiting class acts such as Taj Mahal. The performances and jam sessions have added up, and Les is recognized well beyond Crested Butte for his musical accomplishments. He received second place in an Aspen music competition, with Tim O’Brien winning first. His current band, the Gypsy Jazz Social Club, was a finalist for the 2012 Telluride Jazz Festival competition. Les has played the Four Corners Folk Festival, Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Black Canyon Music Festival, Carbondale Mountain Fair, Paonia Mountain Harvest and Moab Folk Fest. In its 25 years, the Center has been much more than a nicely remodeled metal building. Within its walls, artists have converged to practice, hone and share their craft. Careers have been born, talents inspired and lives transformed.
summer | 2012
More than a performing arts center, the Center for the
Arts at 606 Sixth Street offers a summer full of events and gallery showings. The free Alpenglow concert series starts at 5:30 p.m. in Town Park every Monday, June 25-August 13. The Center’s Art Studio offers classes every week in plein air painting, outdoor photography, batik, jewelry making, printmaking and more. In partnership with the Crested Butte Dance Collective, workshops such as stilt-walking, aerial dance, African dance and fire spinning are available throughout the summer. To help support the Center, enjoy Tour de Forks gourmet meals in exemplary Crested Butte homes prepared by the region’s finest chefs.
With so much going on, the Center is bursting at the seams, and the board hopes
to start construction in 2014 on an expansion project (see www.crestedbuttearts. org). Highlights include performing arts rehearsal areas; workshop/classroom space; multi-purpose rooms for meetings and forums; a larger, first-floor Piper Gallery with access to an outdoor patio; a partially flattened auditorium floor to allow for dancing; 3,000 square feet for the Trailhead Discovery Museum; updated dressing rooms, set shop and work spaces; an expanded concessions area with a catering kitchen; and expanded lobby, restrooms and coat room.
The goal is to preserve the intimacy and unique features of the Center while
creating a more vibrant place for education, enrichment, diversity and inspiration. “We envision a dynamic cultural hub that is approachable and inclusive for all, regardless of age, interests or income,” stated Molly Murfee of the Center.
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Budding filmmaker Rebecca Weil
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Young people this year can ge t involved with a shown on Satu film festival desi rday, Septembe gn r 29, ed just for them. M du ring the four-d ountain Kids Fi ay Crested Butt lm , e a project of the Film Festival. La Crested Butte st year, children Film Festival, has tw in tro duced some of o components: the nine films, 1) films shown for Br od y said. “They w children and pa er e adorable, rents, and 2) avenues and awesome. for teens to lear ” n about film and The staff hope shape their ow s to host a youn n part g of the festival. fil m makers’ worksho “We’d like to ha p this summer, ve teens and youn pe rhaps showcasi g people serve ng student wor on k the screening co du rin g the festival. In mmittee and be terested people gi n to take charge can contact Je ,” said Jennifer nnifer Hillebrand Brody t at of the Crested th e Old Rock Libr Butte Film Fest ary or Elizabeth iv al . Sm The Mountain ith at mtnkidsfil Kids Films will email@example.com be rg.
summer | 2012
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KAREN J A MUSIC W NSSEN HAS MAD E IT FOR MO H CRESTED BUT JOYFUL, LOVING RE THAN TE’S MUN A DECAD CHKINS E. B y Shelley
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“I’m so happy to see Sophie, I’m so happy to see Tallulah….” Karen Janssen crawls on all fours across the blue gym mat in the Town Hall fitness room and sings a greeting to each toddler seated in the circle. “I’m so happy to see Ellis….” The children squeal or wriggle with delight as Karen touches them one by one and croons their names, a warm welcome meant to remind each of them that in her music class they are the stars of the show. For the next hour, Karen not only sings a litany of upbeat songs with the kids but runs from imaginary bears, launches like a rocket, wiggles like a bug, quacks, marches, waltzes and boogies down, all with the genuine joy of a woman who has found her niche. After eleven years of leading Munchkin’s Music and Dance class with Crested Butte’s one to four year olds, Karen Janssen has mastered the art of rocking out with little ones. And the little ones — shaking bean-filled eggs, throwing scarves, beating sticks, diving into a bucket of enticing musical instruments, singing their favorite songs – couldn’t adore Karen and her class more. “I like having a scarf party and throwing them up in the air!” says four-year-old music class veteran Tessa Wirsing with a celebratory leap. She adds, no doubt speaking for many a munchkin, “I like sitting next to Karen because I love her.” “I like the bum-bum-bums,” says Charlotte Brown, also four, referring to the music class tradition of sitting on Karen’s lap and repeating a pattern from the minor or major scale, followed by cheers for each child’s remarkable bum-bum prowess. What has kept Crested Butte families coming back to music class
for over a decade is Karen’s visionary theory put into loving, fun-filled practice. The theory: a love for music immeasurably enriches people’s lives, and the younger that love affair begins, the better. “I teach them basic rhythm and tone and how to just enjoy music,” Karen says. “If you have that, music becomes a part of you. It hopefully sets the kids up for a lifetime of loving music and having it in their lives.” Each six- to ten-week Munchkin’s Music and Dance session has its own kid-friendly songs on themed CDs that are sent home with the students and reinforce a wide variety of music fundamentals. The weekly classes move seamlessly through clapping, counting, drumming, singing and dancing to a variety of rhythms, meters, tonalities and scales, all with the primary goal of music enjoyment. The kids cultivate life-long skills while having so much fun they don’t even realize they’re learning. Parents stay with their children during class to sing and dance along. Although they might jest a bit about the agony of all those catchy tunes getting stuck in their heads, several “generations” of parents have heralded the benefits of Karen’s music class and most keep returning. Tara Wirsing, Tessa’s mom, has brought each of her three children to music class through their toddler years, making this her eighth year with the class. “It really does give them a great first experience with music,” says Tara. “We come back because my kids have so much fun. It’s such a loving environment to learn music.” This loving environment lies at the heart of Karen’s ability to put her theories into skillful practice, creating a lively, nurturing atmosphere for little kids to jam with other little kids. Parents marvel at Karen’s ability to roll with whatever the children come up with, incorporating the munchkins’ ideas and even quirky behaviors into the class, constantly reinforcing that the experience is all about them. Whether a child wants to sing about cows or spaghetti, or do a jig lying on the ground, or break into tears for no apparent reason, Karen
unflappably keeps the class moving with respect, joy and her soothing, beautiful voice. She builds the toddlers’ confidence and desire to participate by making them feel like they own the class and its unique tunes. “One of the reasons the kids love the class and music is it’s something that is theirs,” says Karen. “They think, ‘This is my music’ or ‘This is my CD.’ I think that’s really important. Parents tell me that if the kids are having a bad day or fussing in the car, the parents can put their music on for them and the kids feel better.” She continues, “I also like that it’s multigenerational, something the children share with their moms and dads, or grandparents or sitters. The music is theirs, but they share it with people they love.” Though she took what she remembers as “uninspired piano lessons” as a child and sang with a glee club in school, Karen came to music “pretty late in life,” singing solo for the first time in public while teaching kindergarten in Costa Rica shortly after graduating from college. She says she “found her voice” with Costa Rican musicians
summer | 2012
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and children and from that experience fully realized the extraordinary power of music. From then forward, she seemed destined to combine her two skill sets as a teacher and a budding musician to spread her love of music to young children. Years later, music plays a major role in Karen’s life. Along with music class, she gives private lessons in piano, guitar and mandolin, and she led a local children’s choir for several years. She naturally incorporates music into teaching Spanish at Paradise Preschool and even in school outreach sessions as a board member of the Crested Butte Land Trust. Karen can also be found singing and playing a variety of instruments with various friends in town and with local favorite Doctor Robert, the popular Beatles tribute band that recently began touring state-wide. “There’s a great community of musicians here in the Gunnison Valley,” says Karen. “I feel really lucky. I’m also immensely grateful to all the people who have entrusted me with their children’s music education throughout the years.” With Karen’s efforts, the local community of music lovers keeps on growing, from babies on up, and she counts her relationships with eleven years of Crested Butte toddlers as some of her most meaningful. By now, Karen has sung the music class closing song hundreds of times, but as she says farewell to each of her little musicians, her enthusiasm is fresh and genuine. “I’m so happy I saw Tanner…I’m so happy I saw Thea…” As she completes the circle, the children rise and flock to her for end-of-class hugs. “Music brings me lots of joy,” says Karen, “and I hope that for others as well.” For waves of Crested Butte children, Karen Janssen’s Munchkin’s Music and Dance classes have equated music with love, empowerment, silliness and joy, setting countless kids on the path toward a lifetime of music appreciation. As the song goes, “Everyone has fun in music class!”
ARMED WITH BIKES, RAFTS, SKATEBOARDS, MAPS, ROCKETS AND MUD BOOTS, THE GRAVITY GROMS FIND THAT NATURE MAKES A ROLLICKING PLAYMATE. By P. C. Gallaher
The countdown wafted across the park near my home precisely at 9 a.m. Twenty children’s voices chanted a siren sound on the summer breeze as I stood watching from afar. “Ten, nine, eight...” By “seven” the dogs were getting nervous. I don’t know why; they should have been used to it by then. Zeus the giant Rottweiler lay on the ground and moaned like a hung-over sailor, while Jager the half-chow set into demented barking as if that would stop the inevitable: “Three, two, one...GRAVITY GROMS!!!” they screamed. KERWHOOSH went the four-foot rocket high into the cerulean blue, leaving a trail of white smoke to mark its path, and a collective howl went up from kids, dogs and confused magpies. The parachute deployed, and a recovery team fanned out to the tennis courts, where the missile slowly floated down. This is how the day starts for the Gravity Groms Camps for Kids Who Rip. All this activity launched a fleet of questions in my mind: How do these kids spend the rest of the day? What set loose the unstoppable force of youth and inspired it to heights of creative adventure hitherto unseen by mortal parents? Who are the delirious persons in charge of this
controlled mayhem, and WHY ARE THE KIDS CALLED GROMS? For answers I headed to ground zero, the pitcher’s mound in Pitsker Field. I tried to dress appropriately: a Hawaiian shirt, cameras and a World War I army helmet. The first lad I encountered was wearing a Gravity Groms t-shirt, so I asked, “Hey, kid, what’s a Grom?” “It’s a... uh, why are you wearing that helmet, mister?” “Well, you’re wearing one, too. So, what’s a Grom?” “Yeah, but that’s a really old helmet.” “It was new when I got it. C’mon, kid, what’s a Grom?” Right on cue, up walked an extreme skier I used to photograph years ago, my old buddy Doug Hudson, with all the answers. “Grom is an Australian surfer term for kids who shred.” “You’re behind this, aren’t you, Doug?” “Yep, me and my wife Alex. You were just talking to my son Brooks.” “I might have known.” I like starting a story in the middle; it gives you room to summer | 2012
move. But now it’s time to reveal the real beginning of the Groms day camp phenomenon. Doug and Alexandra met here in Crested Butte in the mid ‘90s, introduced by mutual friends. That was all well and good, but love didn’t follow until they started skiing together. That’s the real C.B. Test. A person can be beautiful and intelligent, but if he or she can’t keep up skiing, well, forget about it. That’s how we breed natural athletes here, and there’s no prize for second place. Doug and Alex skied well together, got married and naturally moved to New York City. Alexandra went to work on Wall Street for Citibank, and Doug landed a job working for Phillip Morris, where he wrote ads that were meant to discourage youth from smoking. It was a noble cause that
begged for a whacko influence to balance the altruism. So he commuted to work on a longboard skateboard. “I’d grab onto passing trucks to build up speed on Broadway and Central Park South, then get on the sidewalk a bit above Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street and weave between pedestrians to slow down.” “I’ll bet folks loved you.” “Yep, on a longboard with my suit and a briefcase full of no-smoking ads. Some folks yelled at me.” “And had something to talk about at their three-martini lunch.” “Right.” Doug gave me one of his mischievous grins. From NYC, they searched for a place that spoke to them like Crested Butte but didn’t find anywhere else that
photo by Thomas Rutherford
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felt so perfect. When the time came to raise their family, Doug and Alexandra returned to Crested Butte and looked for a service they could provide the growing town. (Those who don’t like change and regard people as pollution should never have allowed a K-12 school in Crested Butte.) The Muellers’ purchase of the ski resort opened up a new sense of opportunity. There seemed to be a green light for well-considered development, and kids were everywhere. Doug and Alex had begun their genetically engineered family – Brooks, now eight years old, Henrik, six, and Nikolas, two – and heard many other parents asking for a day camp that would cater to their little shredders. Many tourists and second homeowners felt the same need to give their kids a wilderness experience, especially when they read about the risks of not doing so. In 2006 Dr. Richard Lucas described a most common and insidious affliction of the modern kid. I’m talking NDD – Nature Deficit Disorder. Symptoms include, but are not limited to, diminished use of senses, attention difficulties and high rates of physical and emotional illness. What else could you expect from a young person who spends all day snuffing out virtual life on a Gameboy or X-Box? Excessive television and computer use are just as bad-dad. This info on NDD has encouraged programs that get kids into nature, give them experiences with outdoor sports, and hopefully keep them from becoming twitchy,
pasty-faced, shifty-eyed creatures. Google it if you doubt me. The summer of 2010 saw the launch of the Gravity Groms, an adventurous program for boys and girls ages six and up. The camp comes through with a wide variety of activities (see box), but all are characterized by a set of rules and standards. “Safety is always first,” said Doug (a.k.a. Papa Wheelie). “We break up into small, manageable groups of six young people and a coach who has constant communication with Groms World Headquarters. Everything the Groms learn is about self-sufficiency in the outdoors, but it’s couched in the attention-getting format of hard-charging action sports. We’re clever about putting the right kids in the right groups and letting nature take its course.” Respect and mutual support are emphasized; bullying is not permitted. The small groups each decide what they want to do that day. I followed the Groms to the skateboard park one day and saw some great tricks there. Next stop was the BMX course, where the bikers were trained for some high-flying bicycle action. The youngsters then took up dam building in the nearby river, creating some great swimming holes in the process. One group headed out to explore the woods and build forts. But in the midst of high-tech and high-adventure choices, one of the favorite activities was the mud hole. Never underestimate the power of mud in a child’s
summer | 2012
life. Youngsters’ primordial instincts are in high gear in the presence of this essential substance. It can be jumped in, rolled in, and made into pies or projectiles. What more satisfying splatter is there than landing a skateboard or bike in a pristine mud hole? Mud is the glue of childhood, and it calls to us even later in life, as evidenced by the more refined mud baths found at fine spas worldwide. Even your grandmother, at heart, probably loves mud. By the end of their playful days, the Gravity Groms typically are wiped out, much to parental delight. “We advise parents to just feed them a huge dinner and put them to bed,” laughed Alexandra (Mama Mia). It’s quite a feat to satiate 40 kids a day with wilderness experiences. And all must sleep well, for on the next morn the Gravity Groms will rise like the phoenix on a summer breeze and once again use rocket science to raise the complacent dogs of our mountain town to a joyful howl.
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for the younger set Whether you like to dance, paint, study birds,Directory Kids skateboard, read, listen to music or hang out at the park, there’s no excuse to get bored this summer. In addition to all the adventures kids can have on their own or with friends and family, many local programs and events are designed especially for tots through teens. Here’s your guide to creative, juicy, spectacular summer fun! Alex Fenlon
THE ART STUDIO OF THE CENTER FOR THE ARTS
THE STUDIO ART SCHOOL AT THE TRAILHEAD CHILDREN’S MUSEUM
CAMP CB SUMMER ADVENTURES AND NURSERY AT CBMR
Motto: Everyone is an artist! Focus: Art classes for pre-teens, teens and adults Activities: Paint your own pottery, art classes, private art lessons, birthday parties Meet: 111 Elk Avenue When: June-August, 7 days/week Ages: 12-19 Bennies: Call in advance to have kids paint pottery on their own Bonus: Pottery painting booth on Monday evenings at Alpenglow! Leaders: Melissa Mason, director FIND OUT MORE: Phone: 970-349-7044 E-mail: email@example.com Website: crestedbuttearts.org Of note: The Art Studio will host a week- long workshop July 16-20 for middle and high school students on graffiti and street art. Visiting artist John Meckes will teach about history and ethics of street art, plus techniques of drawing, stenciling, spray painting and speed painting.
Motto: Get your creative juices flowing! Focus: Art and science enrichment day camp Activities: Fine art and science projects plus outdoor play Meet: Next to the Adventure Park at the ski resort base area When: June 4-Aug. 24; Mon.-Fri.; 9 am-3 pm Ages: 5-12 Fees: $40 per day Bennies: Free bus service with Art Studio camp counselors from the 4-way in Crested Butte; discounts for Trailhead Museum members Bonus: Babysitting services available with art and science projects brought to your home Leaders: Melissa Mason, director FIND OUT MORE: Phone: 970-349-7160 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: trailheadkids.org
Motto: Create your own Passport of Adventure for the day! Focus: Outdoor mountain activities at Mt. Crested Butte Activities: Adventure Park includes mini-golf, climbing wall, bungee trampoline, mountain biking, zipline (must weight 75 pounds), lift rides and nature hikes. Meet: Resort base area When: June through Labor Day, Mon.-Sat., 9 am-4 pm Ages: 3 months-14 years Fees: from $75/day Bennies: Discounts for multiple days; lunch and snacks included Bonus: Day care for infants and toddlers, 2 months-3 years old Leader: Dan Healy FIND OUT MORE: Phone: 970-349-2211 E-mail: email@example.com Website: skicb.com/cbmr/mountain/summer- camp-cb.aspx
summer | 2012
Mountain Biking Rock Climbing Hiking Wildflower Tours Peak Tours Global Expeditions Mountaineering Backpacking
CRESTED BUTTE MUSIC FESTIVAL Motto: Inspiring a love for music and dance Focus: Music, opera and dance performances Activities: Divine Family Young People’s Concerts Meet: Center for the Arts and Mt. CB stages When: July 7, 11 am, Center for the Arts, Beethoven’s Wig July 13 @ 1 pm, Mt. CB Base Area, Bluegrass Kids Camp Concert July 21 @ 11 am, Lodge at Mountaineer Square, Billy Jonas Band July 28 @ 11 am, Center for the Arts, Children’s Opera: Musicians of Bremen Aug. 4 @ 11 am, Arts Festival Main Stage, The Not-Its! Ages: 1-100 Fees: FREE Bennies: Especially for kids! Bonus: Dozens of performances all summer for all ages Leaders: Susan Gellert, director of marketing
FIND OUT MORE: Phone: 970-349-0619 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: crestedbuttemusicfestival.com Of note: For kids with special musical interests, CBMF is hosting bluegrass, brass and opera camps. Bluegrass in Paradise Kids Camp July 9-13 is for ages 7-17, at Mt. Crested Butte. For more info, visit the website: bluegrassinparadise.com/kids-camp/. Opera Children’s Chorus July 8-30 is a three-week program in drama, dance and voice for young performers aged 7-16. Interested children send in a short experience biography. This year’s performances include Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” and an operatic production of Grimm’s folk tale “The Musicians of Bremen.” Admission requires an audition. Contact Crista at 970-349-0619 or e-mail: email@example.com
DANSUMMER 2012 Motto: For the love of dance Focus: Three-week workshop celebrating and learning through dance Activities: Intermediate-advanced tap, jazz and hip-hop lessons plus performance experience Meet: Pump Room Studio at 3rd and Maroon, Crested Butte When: July 16-Aug. 4; Mon.-Fri. Ages: 8-100 Fees: Varies with class: $195-290 for three weeks of instruction Bennies: Scholarships available; intermediate through advanced levels Bonus: Performances at the Center for the Arts Aug. 3 and 4 Leaders: Bobbie Reinhardt, director FIND OUT MORE: Phone: 970-349-5686 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: dancecrestedbutte.org/events/ dansummer/ Of note: The Crested Butte School of Dance has been hosting summer workshops for thirty years, bringing in visiting master artists to provide quality, intensive dance training. This year, Donovan Helma, who toured with the international cast of Tap Dogs, will teach rhythm and tap. Jacob Mora, artistic director for the Moraporvida Dance Company in Denver, will teach urban street jazz and contemporary jazz. summer | 2012
GRAVITY GROMS ACTIVE ALPINE DAY CAMPS Motto: I shred! Focus: Action sports with an emphasis on self-sufficiency in the outdoors Activities: See story in this issue Meet: CB Nordic Center, 620 2nd St. When: June 4-Aug. 24; Mon.-Fri. Ages: 6 and up Fees: $60 per day Bennies: Learn to shred like the locals Bonus: Cool t-shirts and stickers Leaders: Doug “Papa Wheelie” and Alex “Mama Mia” Hudson FIND OUT MORE: Phone: 970-349-6771 E-mail: email@example.com
KIDS NATURE CAMP AT RMBL Motto: Science is FUN at Kids Nature Camp Focus: Exploring the natural environment of the forests, meadows and mountains surrounding RMBL in Gothic Activities: Nature awareness games, hands-on field science, nature hikes, guided wandering, nature-inspired art, journaling, story-telling, lab experiments, meeting with RMBL scientists and more Meet: Rocky Mountain Biological Lab in Gothic When: June 4-Aug. 10; Mon.-Fri.; 9 am-1 pm Ages: 4-11 Fees: $39 per day Bennies: Free bus service to and from Gothic with a camp counselor from the 4-way in Crested Butte; discount if you register for all ten weeks Bonus: Scholarships available! Leaders: Annie Starr, environment ed. director, and Lizzy Plotkin, KNC leader FIND OUT MORE: Phone: 970-901-1395 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
OLD ROCK COMMUNITY LIBRARY SUMMER READING PROGRAM Motto: Dream Big! Focus: Literacy Activities: Friday morning enrichment program; library and Internet service Meet: 507 Maroon Avenue When: Summer Program Presentations: Fridays 10-11 am Ages: 4-10 Fees: FREE Bennies: Register to track reading and win prizes! Bonus: Bike-in outdoor movie series in the Library/Town Hall courtyard Leaders: Jen Hillebrandt, youth services coordinator FIND OUT MORE: Phone: 970-349-6535 E-mail: email@example.com Website: gunnisoncountylibraries.org/ content/old-rock-community-library
PARADISE PLACE COMMUNITY CHRISTIAN SCHOOL
ROOTS & SHOOTS GARDEN CAMP
STEPPING STONES CHILDREN’S CENTER
Motto: Unlocking grace, gratitude and greatness in children Focus: Christian preschool and childcare Activities: Club Paradise Summer Adventure Program, pre-K-2nd grade Meet: 404 Maroon Avenue When: Monday-Friday, 7:50-5:30 Ages: 1-5 Fees: $36/38 (half day) to $50/52 (full day) Bennies: Discounts for multiple days and long-term enrollment Bonus: Toddler care during Sunday church services Leaders: Ben Poswalk, director FIND OUT MORE: Phone: 970-349-2149 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: paradiseplace.org
Motto: Enhancing healthy connections between earth, food, and community Focus: Fruit and veggie gardening Activities: Explore, play and learn in the garden Meet: Community gardens When: Half days: Mon. 9 am-12:30 pm Full days: Tues. and Wed. 9 am-3 pm Ages: 4-5 (half days); 6-12 (full days) Fees: $30-40 Bennies: Full session and early registration discounts; scholarships available Bonus: 100% organic Roots and Shoots 2012 t-shirt Leaders: Lauren Alkire, program coordinator FIND OUT MORE: Phone: 970-349-7197 E-mail: email@example.com Website: crestedbutterec.com/info/activities/ program_details.
Motto: Children learn through play! Focus: Kids! Activities: Outdoor play, games, stories, music and creative activities Meet: 705 7th Street, Crested Butte When: June 7-Aug. 21; Mon.–Fri.; 8 am-5:30 pm Ages: Adventure Club (5-8), Day Camp (3-5) and Park Play (2-3) Fees: $40 (half day); $70 (full day) Bennies: Right next to the town park Bonus: Summer Funfest Carnival, July 7 in Town Park Leaders: Mark Goldberg, director FIND OUT MORE: Phone: 970-349-5288 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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TOWN OF CRESTED BUTTE SUMMER YOUTH PROGRAMS
TOWN OF MT. CRESTED BUTTE MOUNTAIN ADVENTURES
Focus: Team sports and athletic skills Activities: Little League and Babe Ruth baseball, gymnastics, skateboarding lessons, tennis clinics, Triple-Threat basketball camp, Cheer 4 Your Life cheer camp, and Challenger Sports British Soccer Camp and TetraBrazil Soccer Academy Meet: Town parks, courts and gym When: June through Aug.; varies by activity Ages: 3-16 Fees: varies with activity Bennies: Full session and early registration discounts Bonus: Scholarships available Leaders: Lauren Alkire, program coordinator FIND OUT MORE: Phone: 970-349-7197 E-mail: email@example.com Website: crestedbutterec.com/info/
Motto: Experience Colorado’s best mountains, rivers, lakes, crags, trails, and scenery Focus: Personal growth and connection to the community through safe, educational, adventure-based activities Activities: canoeing, swimming at Blue Mesa Reservoir, rock-climbing, hiking, mountain biking, fly fishing, rafting, ropes course, sailing Meet: The Outpost building at ski resort base area When: June-Aug; Mon.-Fri.; 9 am-3:30 pm Ages: 7-14 Fees: $40-$50 Bonus: Special girls-only mountain bike workshops and mountain bike team for ages 11-14 Leaders: Laura Puckett, recreation director FIND OUT MORE: Phone: 970-596-3589 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: mtcbmountainadventures.com
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TOWNIE BOOKSTORE STORYTIME Motto: We believe in the magic of children discovering books. Focus: Books and games, browsing and reading Activities: Kids Storytime Meet: 414 Elk Avenue When: Saturdays, 3 pm Ages: 1-8 (with parents) Fees: FREE Bennies: Enjoy drinks and treats from Rumors Coffee and Tea House Bonus: Special book signings, readings, poetry night and live music Leaders: Danica and Arvin, owners FIND OUT MORE: Phone: 970-349-7545 E-mail: rumorscoffeeandteahouse@gmail. com Website: towniebookscb.com
summer | 2012
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HANDWORKS unique cards, gifts, art supplies
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THE TRAILHEAD CHILDREN’S MUSEUM Motto: Where playful adventures begin! Focus: Hands-on educational exhibits and programs for families and children Activities: Art bar, Garden-to-Grocery exhibit, Nursery Nook for babies, Astro Corner, glow-in-the-dark room, pirate ship theater, puppets, train table, letter of the week, creative Saturdays, science Sundays, pottery painting, brain boosters, tons more! Meet: Next to the Adventure Park at the ski resort base area When: Wed.-Sun. 10 am-4 pm Ages: 0-12 (accompanied by guardian) Fees: Day pass-$6 per person; punch passes; annual family membership-$199 Bennies: Free babysitting for Members Only Date Night events! Bonus: Additional art and science classes available Leaders: Kelly Frimel, creative director FIND OUT MORE: Phone: 970-349-7160 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: trailheadkids.org Of note: The Trailhead Museum earned the CB/Mt. CB Chamber of Commerce 2012 Nonprofit of the Year award. There are exciting plans underway to add a treehouse and an interactive musical garden this summer!
On the corner of 3rd & Elk Avenue
poohscornergifts.com Est. 1977
Still having fun after 35 years!
A HAT FOR EVERY HEAD & A SCARF FOR EVERY NECK
Downtown Crested Butte
(next to Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory)
NATIONAL TRAILS DAY WITH CB LAND TRUST & CBMBA
10, 17, 24
FARMERS MARKET @ ELK & SECOND Alex Fenlon
DANCE IN NATURE (aerial dance/rock climb), CB DANCE COLLECTIVE
GOLF CLASSIC FOR GUNNISON VALLEY HEALTH, CLUB @ CB
ADVENTURE PARK, BIKE PARK, ZIP LINE & CHAIRLIFTS OPEN FLYING GOPHER MINI GOLF TOURNEY, TRAILHEAD CHILDREN’S MUSEUM
CB BIKE WEEK
ADULT SCIENCE TOURS, RMBL
21-24, 28-July 1 “URINETOWN,” CBMT
PLEIN AIR OIL WORKSHOP @ THE ART STUDIO CB WRITERS CONFERENCE WILDFLOWER RUSH X-C/DOWNHILL BIKE RACES, MT. CB
23-24 Kimber Woods
READERS IN THE ROCKIES ANNUAL BREEDING BIRD SURVEY, RMBL BRIDGES OF THE BUTTE, ASC
TOUR DE FORKS
ALPENGLOW FREE OUTDOOR CONCERT: BOB MALONE DAY OF POETRY/DRAWING @ THE ART STUDIO
EVENING PASTEL STILL LIFE DRAWING @ THE ART STUDIO ARTWALK EVENING IN TOWN STUDIOS & GALLERIES READERS IN THE ROCKIES SPEAKER ELEANOR BROWN, OLD ROCK LIBRARY
INTRODUCTION TO STILT WALKING, CB DANCE COLLECTIVE
BOSTON BRASS MUSIC CAMP
INNACLE SERIES HILL CLIMB BIKE P RACE, CBMR
1, 5, 8, 13, 15, 17, 23, 26, 29
TOUR DE FORKS CENTER FUNDRAISERS
1, 8, 15, 22, 29
FARMERS MARKET @ ELK & SECOND AWEFEST ARTISTS’ FAIR
BLACK AND WHITE BALL, MOUNTAIN HERITAGE MUSEUM
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2, 9, 16, 23, 30
ALPENGLOW FREE CONCERTS: March Fourth
OPERA IN PARADISE
(July 2), Mike Pale & Blu Orbitz (16), Sister Sparrow (23), Army Band Centennial Wind Ensemble of CO National Guard (30)
LIVE PAINTING SERIES, ART STUDIO OF THE CENTER FOR THE ARTS
4 Kurt Reise
OTHIC-CB 1/3 MARATHON, RMBL G PARADE, STREET GAMES, LIVE MUSIC, FIREWORKS, PATRIOTIC CONCERT
4-Aug. 12 CB MUSIC FESTIVAL
5, 12, 19, 26
DULT SCIENCE TOURS, RMBL A FARMERS MARKET, CRANK’S PLAZA @ MAROON AND SECOND
5-15 Alex Fenlon
CATTLEMEN’S DAYS IN GUNNISON
PLEIN AIR WATERCOLOR PAINTING @ THE ART STUDIO RICHIE FURAY FREE OUTDOOR CONCERT, CENTER FOR THE ARTS
DIRECTING/ACTING WORKSHOPS WITH SHOSHANA PARTOS
BLUEGRASS IN PARADISE KIDS CAMP
CB WILDFLOWER FESTIVAL
FLOWER-RELATED ART WORKSHOPS, ART STUDIO OF THE CENTER
11, 18, 25 Rebecca Weil
DRAGONOLOGY FAMILY ART WORKSHOP, THE ART STUDIO
SYMPHONY: GYPSY CIMBALOM, CBMF CB LAND TRUST CADDIS CUP
IRQUE DE SYMPHONY, CBMF CELEBRATION C PLEX PLATE INTAGLIO PRINTMAKING @ THE ART STUDIO
EPIC ROCKY MOUNTAIN RELAY IVINE FAMILY YOUNG PEOPLE’S CONCERT: D BILLY JONAS BAND BANGIN’ & SANGIN’ BACKSTAGE WITH BILLY JONAS, TRAILHEAD
READERS IN THE ROCKIES SPEAKER WC JAMESON, OLD ROCK LIBRARY
“THE MAGIC FLUTE,” CBMF OPERA
IVINE FAMILY YOUNG D PEOPLE’S CONCERT
RTWALK EVENING, STUDIOS & GALLERIES A CELEBRATION OF CONSERVATION DINNER/ AUCTION, CB LAND TRUST TOUCH PAINTING, THE ART STUDIO
IVINE FAMILY YOUNG PEOPLE’S CONCERT: D CHILDREN’S OPERA LIVING JOURNEYS SUMMIT HIKE & HALF-MARATHON, CBMR
INNACLE SERIES SHORT TRACK/CIRCUIT P BIKE RACE, CBMR READERS IN THE ROCKIES SPEAKER TIM SANDIN, OLD ROCK LIBRARY
L IVE! FROM MT. CRESTED BUTTE, FREE OUTDOOR CONCERTS
CITIZEN SCIENTIST SYMPOSIUM “BIOLOGY OF A CHANGING WORLD,” RMBL
CB PLEIN AIR INVITATIONAL EXHIBIT, OH BE JOYFUL GALLERY
KICKBALL TOURNEY, CB MOUNTAIN HERITAGE MUSEUM
BLUEGRASS IN PARADISE
PINNACLE SERIES ENDURO/SUPER D BIKE RACE, CBMR
SPEED PAINTING/GRAFFITI FOR 5TH-8TH GRADERS, ART STUDIO
FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT GUNNISONCRESTEDBUTTE.COM / EVENTS
CRESTED BUTTE MUSIC FEST CONTINUES
HAVE A BEER WITH BEETHOVEN, CBMF
IVINE FAMILY YOUNG PEOPLE’S CONCERT: D THE NOT-ITS
1, 8, 15, 22, 29
L IVE! FROM MT. CRESTED BUTTE FREE OUTDOOR CONCERTS
ADULT SCIENCE TOURS, RMBL
2, 7, 9, 20, 25, 27, 30 TOUR DE FORKS, CENTER FUNDRAISERS
2, 9, 16, 23, 30
F ARMERS MARKET, CRANK’S PLAZA @ MAROON AND SECOND
“DARK OF THE MOON”, CBMT
B PAINTING PROJECT, C PLEIN AIR WITH THE ART STUDIO
OODEN NICKEL FALL GOLF CLASSIC, W CLUB @ CRESTED BUTTE
STAGE 2 FINISH, US PRO CYCLING CHALLENGE (MONTROSE TO MT. CB)
RAILHEAD CHILDREN’S MUSEUM T FUNDRAISER, DJANGO’S
40TH ANNIVERSARY/REUNION FOR CBMT
40TH CRESTED BUTTE ARTS FESTIVAL THE ART STUDIO CLASSES & EVENTS
5, 12, 19, 26
F ARMERS MARKET @ ELK & SECOND AWEFEST, ARTISTS OF THE WEST ELKS
CRESTED BUTTE OPEN & GALA
ALPENGLOW FREE OUTDOOR CONCERTS: Spring Creek Bluegrass (6) & Chris Coady in CB South (13)
OMEN’S RESTORATIVE ART RETREAT @ W THE ART STUDIO
YPSY JAZZ IN PARADISE, CB MUSIC G FESTIVAL AND DJANGOFEST, MT. CB
PINNACLE SERIES BIKE RACE, CBMR
HISTORIC PRESERVATION DINNER, RMBL
GUNNISON CAR SHOW IN GUNNISON & CB
CHEFS ON THE EDGE, CENTER FOR THE ARTS
STAGE 3 START, US PRO CYCLING CHALLENGE (GUNNISON TO ASPEN)
“THE DIXIE SWIM CLUB,” CBMT
ARTWALK EVENING @ STUDIOS & GALLERIES ALPINE ODYSSEY 100 (2013 LEADVILLE 100 QUALIFIER) CRESTED BUTTE SIDEWALK SALES
FALL PHOTO WORKSHOP, THE ART STUDIO
SEPTEMBER 27 1-30
VINOTOK FALL HARVEST FESTIVAL
SEPTEMBER SPLENDOR EVENTS VALLEY-WIDE
ARTWALK EVENING @ STUDIOS & GALLERIES
THE PEOPLE’S FAIR (ARTS, CRAFTS, MORE) ON ELK AVENUE
OCTOBER 7, 14
2, 9, 16, 23, 30
FARMERS MARKET @ ELK AND SECOND
4, 6, 11, 13
BEGINNER AERIAL DANCE, CB DANCE COLLECTIVE
F ALL FESTIVAL OF BEERS/CHILI COOK-OFF, MT. CRESTED BUTTE
CRESTED BUTTE FILM FESTIVAL
FARMERS MARKET, ELK AND SECOND
UP, DOWN BBQ THROWDOWN, TRAILHEAD CHILDREN’S MUSEUM
HALLOWEEN PARADE PRESENTED BY KBUT
PEARL PASS MOUNTAIN BIKE TOUR
TOUR DE FORKS, FOR THE CENTER
summer | 2012
YOGA FOR EVERYONE!
retreats boutique meditation teacher trainings private instruction yogaforthepeaceful.org 120 Elk Avenue â€˘ 349.0302
Winnie Haver owner 970.349.7563
Beads, Minerals, Jewelry, Tapestries and more Local art and gifts
ALPINE PROPERTY MANAGEMENT
Rental Homes, Management & Sales P.O. Box 2303, Crested Butte
Family owned property management company offering customized caretaking and management of vacation rentals. Wide selection of 2 bedroom-5 bedroom homes and condos in the Crested Butte area. 970.349.1209 alpinepropertycrestedbutte.com AD PAGE 105
Vacation Rentals 510 Elk Avenue, Crested Butte
Crested Butte’s premium vacation rentals. We work with each client to provide the perfect vacation -- arranging accommodations, activities, tours and more. 1.800.260.1935 alpinegetaways.com
Rustic Log Home, Crested Butte
Beautiful 7-bedroom, 8-bathroom home. An ideal vacation home and great location for the whole family. Sleeps 19. 1.970.209.6376 213third.com email@example.com
AD PAGE 92
ELK MOUNTAIN LODGE
Bed & Breakfast Lodge PO Box 148 129 Gothic Avenue, Crested Butte
Historic inn located in a residential neighborhood of downtown Crested Butte. Just two blocks off the main street. 19 rooms individually decorated. Some with balconies. 1.800.374.6521 elkmountainlodge.net firstname.lastname@example.org
AD PAGE 106
CRISTIANA GUESTHAUS Bed & Breakfast Hotel 621 Maroon Avenue PO Box 427, Crested Butte
Cozy B&B with European ski lodge charm. Homemade Continental breakfast. Hot tub with mountain views. Private baths. Near free shuttle; walk to shops & restaurants. 1.800.824.7899 cristianaguesthaus.com email@example.com
AD PAGE 105
IRON HORSE PROPERTY MANAGEMENT
THE NORDIC INN
Specializing in highly personalized property management and vacation rentals. Expect more. 1.888.417.4766 ironhorsecb.com
Allen (your host since 1969) and Judy Cox welcome you to this Scandinavian-style lodge. Rooms with two double beds & private baths. Within walking distance of the ski mountain.
Rental Homes PO Box 168, Crested Butte
AD PAGE 106
Bed & Breakfast Lodge 14 Treasury Road PO Box 939, Mt. Crested Butte
1.800.542.7669 nordicinncb.com firstname.lastname@example.org
AD PAGE 15
AD PAGE 105
OLD TOWN INN
PIONEER GUEST CABINS
The warmth of a family inn; value, convenience & amenities of a hotel. Home-made afternoon snacks, yummy breakfast. Rooms with two queens or one king bed. On shuttle route, stroll to shops, restaurants & trailheads. 1.888.349.6184 oldtowninn.net email@example.com AD PAGE 106
Specializing in one to seven bedroom condos & private vacation home rentals in historic downtown Crested Butte, Mt. CB, the Club at Crested Butte (country club) & CB South. 1.888.909.7325 peakcb.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Established in 1939, inside National Forest, only 12 minutes from town. 8 clean and cozy cabins, with Cement Creek running through the property. Fully equipped kitchens, comfy beds, fireplaces and more. Dog friendly, open year round. 970.349.5517 pioneerguestcabins.com email@example.com AD PAGE 104
Hotel & Family Inn PO Box 990 708 6th Street, Crested Butte
Management & Sales Rental Homes 318 Elk Avenue, Crested Butte
Rustic Cabins 2094 Cement Creek, South of CB
AD PAGE 104
PR PROPERTY MANAGEMENT
THE RUBY OF CRESTED BUTTE
Large variety of private, luxury rental homes in Crested Butte, Mt. Crested Butte, the Club at Crested Butte and Meridian Lake. 1.800.285.0459 prproperty.com
Luxury B&B with full breakfast, private baths and concierge in historic Crested Butte. Also pampers pets with in-room dog beds, crates, home-made treats and dog-sitting service.
Rental Homes 350 Country Club Drive 110A, Crested Butte
AD PAGE 104
WEST WALL LODGE
Luxury Bed & Breakfast PO Box 3801 624 Gothic Avenue, Crested Butte
1.800.390.1338 therubyofcrestedbutte.com AD PAGE 52
Luxury, Slopeside Condominiums PO Box 1305, 14 Hunter Hill Road, Mt. Crested Butte
One to four bedroom residences. Each condo offers a fireplace, balcony, fully equipped kitchen, and oversized master bathroom. Underground parking. Fitness center, guest bar/ lounge, four season pool, hot tub and fire pit. 970-349-1280 westwalllodge.com AD PAGE 66 summer | 2012
Inside the National Forest but only 12 minutes from Crested Butte with Cement Creek winding through the property. 8 adorable cabins with fully equipped kitchens, comfy beds, fireplaces and more! Snowshoeing, xc skiing, fishing, mtn. biking and hiking trails right from your cabin door.
View cabins inside and out at
pioneerguestcabins.com 970-349-5517 OPEN YEAR ROUND ~ Featuring Luxurious Homes in the Upper End of the Valley ~
Pooches Welcome 104
PRProperty.com 350 Country Club Drive, Suite 110A (970) 349-6281 (800) 285-0459
Vacation Rentals 970.349.1209
Real Estate Sales
summer | 2012
Perfect Vacation Rental
* 7 Bedrooms, 8 Baths, Sleeps 22 * Complete Gourmet Kitchen * Steps to Free Shuttle to Crested Butte Mountain Lifts * Stunning Views, 1 Block to Center of Town of CB * Sunroom, Steam Room, Library, Internet & Wireless * Location is perfect for walking to Shops, Restaurants, and the Historic Center of Town
970-349-0445 www.213third.com E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org 106
DINING Trent Bona
9380 PRIME • 251-3030
BRICK OVEN • 349-5044
Slopeside, featuring 2 dining venues: 9380 (casual) and Prime (fine dining). 9380 is your breakfast, lunch and apres-ski spot, with firepit and outdoor bar. Prime opens at night for contemporary dining.
Pizza-by-the-slice, deep dish, thin crust & specialty. Fresh subs, appetizers, burgers, largest salad bar in town. 30 beers on tap, high end tequila, spirits and wine. Open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. FREE DELIVERY. BrickOvenCB.com
Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner
Lunch / Dinner
Elevation Hotel, Mt. Crested Butte
DJANGO’S • 349-7574
223 Elk Avenue, Downtown
Ad pg. 111
Ad pg. 109
Courtyard of Mountaineer Square, Mt. Crested Butte Now gaining national attention, this culinary adventure introduces guests to a seasonal menu of globally inspired small plates. With an extensive wine list, courtyard dining and weekly live music, you won’t want to miss it.
Ad pg. 62
DONITA’S CANTINA • 349-6674
EASTSIDE BISTRO • 349-9699
LAST STEEP • 349-7007
Mexican. Down-to-earth eatery specializing in good food, ample portions and fun service. Fabulous fajitas, enchanting enchiladas, bueno burritos. Local favorite for over 30 years!
Fine dining with spectacular views. Seasonally changing menu created with locally fresh and sustainable ingredients. Selections range from Rocky Mountain Elk, Wild Boar, Arctic Char, and Colorado Striped Bass to locally raised Beef Steaks, Duck Breast, Colorado Lamb and Pork Chops. Well rounded wine list and specialty martinis. Brunch on Saturday & Sunday. Outdoor garden patio.
Sandwiches/soup/salads. Casual family dining. Affordable menu with Caribbean island flair; Cajun chicken pasta, curry shrimp & coconut salad, artichoke-cheddar soup in bread bowl. Happy hour and daily specials.
Brunch / Dinner
Lunch / Dinner
4th & Elk, Downtown
Ad pg. 109
435 6th Street, Downtown
Ad pg. 108
LIL’S • 349-5457
LOBAR • 349-0480
Sushi bar & grill. Crested Butte’s original sushi bar serving great seafood, steaks and surf & turf entrees, as well as options for the little ones. In Historic Downtown.
Eclectic dining. People rave over our sushi, try our new casual bistro menu, fish tacos to crack fries! Free kids’ meals 5-6 p.m. On weekends, Lobar transforms into CB’s only nightclub with live music, karaoke, DJs & more.
Dinner + Late Night
321 Elk Avenue, Downtown
Downstairs at 3rd & Elk, Downtown
Ad pg. 108
Ad pg. 110
208 Elk Avenue, Downtown
Ad pg. 111
MARCHITELLI’S GOURMET NOODLE • 349-7401 411 Third Street, Downtown
Italian Offering generations of family recipes in a cozy, relaxed atmosphere. Featuring unique pasta sauce combos, traditional and regional Italian, seafood, veal and elk. Reservations recommended.
Lunch / Dinner
Ad pg. 110
MAXWELLS • 349-1221
MCGILL’S • 349-5240
PITA’S • 349-0897
Fine Dining. CB’s newest steakhouse. HDTVs for watching the games. Hand-cut steaks, seafood, pastas, lamb, pork, burgers, salads, appetizers, kids’ menu. Extensive wines & beers.
Old-Fashioned soda fountain. Malts, shakes, sundaes, banana splits, libations, home-cooked breakfasts and lunches prepared to order. Historic locale, casual atmosphere.
Gyros, kabobs, sliders, fresh made hummus and baba gannoush, pita nachos and homemade soups. Greek and tahini salads, spanokopita and curly fries. Outdoor dining. Happy hour specials. Serving everyday.
Lunch / Dinner
Breakfast / Lunch
Lunch / Dinner
228 Elk Avenue, Downtown
226 Elk Avenue, Downtown
Ad pg. 109
Ad pg. 110
WEST END PUBLIC HOUSE • 349-5662
RYCE • 349-9888
120 Elk Avenue, Downtown Bringing you the best culinary treats from Thailand, China, Japan and Vietnam. Spacious riverside dining room and an atmosphere that is perfectly casual. Ryceasianbistro.com for hours and menu.
Lunch / Dinner
3rd and Elk, Downtown
Ad pg. 108
2nd and Elk, Downtwon
“Elevated,” affordable comfort food. The ONLY house-smoked BBQ in CB! Fresh oysters, small plates, steaks, fresh seafood, salads, sandwiches, burgers, kids menu, and much more. Eclectic wines, craft beers, and specialty cocktails. Large bar with HDTVs, 8ft. digital screen upstairs to watch the game or play X-Box Kinect! Two great patios.
Lunch / Dinner
Ad pg. 108
Ad pg. 111
WOODEN NICKEL • 349-6350 222 Elk Avenue, Downtown
Steaks, prime rib, king crab. USDA Prime cuts of beef, Alaska King crab, ribs, pork and lamb chops, grilled seafood, burgers, chicken fried steak and buffalo burgers.
Ad pg. 12 summer | 2012
Join us at
Crested Butte’s First GastroPub • Elevated Comfort Food • • house smoked bbq • • Colorado & Global Craft Beers • • Full Bar & Specialty Cocktails • • Eclectic Wine List •
creekside & patio dining Private Dining Rooms large parties Weddings
201 Elk Avenue 970.349.5662
fine cuisine • spectacular views • Eclectic American Cuisine with Global Influences • Dinner Nightly at 5:00pm Intimate Dining • Private Parties • Patio Saturday & Sunday Brunch 10am - 2pm 435 Sixth Street • (970) 349-9699
30 CRAFT BEERS ON TAP + BEST PATIO IN TOWN! SLICES, DEEP DISH, THIN CRUST + SPECIALTY PIES SUBS, APPETIZERS, BIG JUICY BURGERS HUGE SALAD BAR TEQUILA, SPIRITS, WINE + HDTVs LUNCH + DINNER EVERY DAY OPEN FROM 11 A.M. ‘TIL 10 P.M.
Dine-In • Take-Out • FREE Delivery
223 Elk Avenue, Crested Butte brickovencb.com seafood
wines from around the world
beer on tap
trent bona photo
hand cut steaks
226 elk avenue crested butte 970.349.1221
summer | 2012
Dinner Nightly â€˘ Downtown Crested Butte
EW N ION! LOCAT RD
Bar and Grill
Gyros • Homemade Soups Shrimp, Chicken & Tofu Kabobs Hummus & Pita Nachos • Salads • Smoothies • Shakes NEW KIDS MENU • CUSTOM ORDER CAKES
BAR MENU Sliders • Wings • Chips & Queso
HAPPY HOUR DAILY 3-6PM
$2 Wells, $4 Drafts, Happy Hour Food Specials Weekend Bloody Mary Bar • Outdoor Patio • Rootbeer on Tap Open for lunch, dinner and late night!
970-349-0897 • TAKE-OUT AVAILABLE 302 ELK AVENUE • DOWNTOWN CRESTED BUTTE
Dine In • Take Out Full Bar Late Night Food Smoke Free Outdoor Dining Fish Tacos Cilantro Chicken Salad Spinach Salad Artichoke & Cheddar Soup Cajun Chicken Pasta Steak Great Burgers Kid’s Menu Chalkboard Specials
“We’ll meet ya’ at the Steep.”
Friday, Saturday 11:00AM - Midnight
Sunday - Thursday 11:00AM- 11:00PM
off season late hours subject to change
970-349-7007 208 Elk Ave. Downtown Crested Butte, Colorado
summer | 2012