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Crested Butte - death of a ski mountain

post #1 of 51
Thread Starter 
Crested Butte has been a favorite ski mountain of mine for many years. It was bought out by a east coast ski guy and some of the changes have been positive but others have been devastating.

Did you know that CB now grooms everything that can be groomed from stem to stern, even on powder days? Actually, I did find 4 trails that had not been groomed on a significant powder day but I had to search for them.

I talked to an instructor about it and he said that anyone wanting to ski powder has to head for the extreme areas of the mountain. He went on to say that all tourists are intermediates and don't want to ski powder. He concluded by saying that Crested Butte, as the new king of corduroy, is what a family ski resort should be.

I have always believed that skiing powder is what it is all about. Learning to ski it, along with crud, chop, tracked powder, whatever you want to call it, is one the great pleasures of life. I pointed out to the instructor that there is much more to skiing for good skiers than limiting them to extreme terrain. I also pointed out to him that I noticed that most of the ski school classes were packed onto the the few ungroomed slopes and they were having a blast doing face plants. One afternoon, we left the ski mountain at the end of day with good fresh, soft snow because it had been snowing much of the day. By the next morning, they had reduced it to corduroy crunch. We couldn't believe it. When did soft snow become bad?

IMHO, CB has become a panty waist, over-groomed ski mountain that has lost its majic. CB will never be a Beaver Creek or Deer Valley and it shouldn't try. It has one of the finest local communities and it is sad that someone wants to take one of the great Colorado ski mountains and turn it into a beginner's hill. Winter Park, in my opinion, is the best family ski resort in Colorado and they cetainly don't groom everything that can be groomed.

I don't believe that most tourist skiers want a ski mountain reduced to corduroy. I think most want a challenge and to have fun trying different conditions. Some grooming is of course necessary and good, but to routinely groom every trail that can be groomed, is way over the top. Every local that I talked to didn't support the policy, nor did most of the ski area employees that I talked to about it.

I won't be going back to CB until this silly idea is changed. Hopefully it will be soon!

I would enjoy other perspectives on the all grooming all the time policy in case I'm missing something or need to be more open minded about it. I wonder if over grooming will actually cause more injuries because lesser skiers will go much faster than their ability to handle it?
post #2 of 51
The ski instructor you talked to was right... it's a business and if they lose one skier like you they will gain 3 more.
post #3 of 51

50/50 ??

One of the nicest days I ever had skiing with my wife was at Stowe over on the Spruce Peak meadows.

Big time powder dump and somehow the day turned out fine .... wife hates powder ...

The groomer only did half of the wider trails and that let me have my stuff on one side while she cruised a few feet away on the groomed.

One of those rare days when we were virtually alone all morning.
post #4 of 51
Those "east coast guys" who own Crested Butte also own Okemo (in Vermont) and Mt. Sunapee (in New Hampshire). Both of those places are groomed to death -- the only moguls you'll find at either one are formed by snow-cats. I was astonished to actually find some fresh powder at Okemo a few weeks back, but then again, it had been snowing through the night so they probably couldn't keep up with it. All that said, they are two of the most popular ski areas in New England -- massive snowmaking systems and reliable cordoury equal profits on the East Coast at least. On that "powder day" at Okemo mini-bumps had formed all over the mountain and the crowds disappeared. Most people simply don't have the technique to handle variable conditions, so the more "cookie cutter" terrain that you provide, the more people will come and the more $$$ you make.
post #5 of 51
Welcome to The wonderful world of Dumbing down skiing. The sad fact is that The Crested Butte Management has a good point. Most vacationing families want a nice groomed run. Bumps crud and other conditions are just to much work. People don't want to take the time to learn how to really ski.
It's happening all over, Even Snowbird now grooms some runs that a few years ago would have never been groomed. On the other hand what a lot of people don't know is how much of Deer Valley never gets groomed. Deer Valley is Known for it's groomed runs. What they do groom is near corduroy perfection. There are plenty of mogul fields and snow allow to be in it's natural state at Deer Valley. The last few years Park city has been doing the same as Crested Butte runs like willies are now groomed They even groomed a run right in the middle of Blue Slip Bowl and McConkey's Bowl. To me grooming a bowl is near sacrilege.
post #6 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by sir jman
The ski instructor you talked to was right... it's a business and if they lose one skier like you they will gain 3 more.
and therefore it's the best course of action?:
post #7 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle crud
and therefore it's the best course of action?:
Unfortunately, yes. For a struggling mid sized ski area to have any chance of surviving, they have to cater to the masses.

Powdr
post #8 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Powdr
Unfortunately, yes. For a struggling mid sized ski area to have any chance of surviving, they have to cater to the masses.

Powdr
wasn't there any chance of making it like Silverton or wherever it is in CO near Durango where they "powder farm" a low-volume operation?

or simply a small community hill like Turner Mtn in Montana?

or a bigger co-op like Bridger Bowl in Montana?

I'm always surprised at the way people fail to think creatively about what may work. in a world of ski hills moving ever toward the uber-groomer hispeed detachable sixpack with valet parking and Segway use within all lodges, it would seem sensible to try to be more niche oriented and draw a more long-lasting value (a longer lasting customer base) even if the next 5 years of boomtown would make McSki seem wise.
post #9 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Powdr
Unfortunately, yes. For a struggling mid sized ski area to have any chance of surviving, they have to cater to the masses.

Powdr
I doubt that Crested Butte will ever achieve success as a 'family mountain"--it already suffers from a remote location (much easier great places to get to in CO and elsewhere), and very inconsistent snow--in fact, it's big pull has always been (and I suspect if it is to thrive, will always be) it's plentiful, steep, expert terrain. Couple that with the outdoor enthusiast year round local scene at CB and it still seems like a haven and a draw for true experts.

All the grooming in the world isn't going to get the big dollar intermediate family to pass over Summit County for Crested Butte. In fact, after seeing the downright global crowd of Jackson Hole last week-I'd say that a reputation for having plethora of challenging snowy terrain was a huge draw.

Liam
post #10 of 51
I just returned yesterday from 10 days of skiing at CB. It wasn't all groomed on the front side. Most of the blacks were left at least half ungroomed and bumped. There were plenty of all bumped runs as well. Most blues were groomed but not all.

We only had a couple powder days. On those days there was fresh to be had on all of the front side blacks, 50% of blues, 70% of Paradise Bowl, All of East River and of course all of the Extreme areas.

I don't get it MJB? If you are that good why don't you ski the non groomed half of the blacks or go up to Headwall or Northface? Do you really need to ski ungroomed greens and blues?
post #11 of 51
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MattL
I just returned yesterday from 10 days of skiing at CB. It wasn't all groomed on the front side. Most of the blacks were left at least half ungroomed and bumped. There were plenty of all bumped runs as well. Most blues were groomed but not all.

We only had a couple powder days. On those days there was fresh to be had on all of the front side blacks, 50% of blues, 70% of Paradise Bowl, All of East River and of course all of the Extreme areas.

I don't get it MJB? If you are that good why don't you ski the non groomed half of the blacks or go up to Headwall or Northface? Do you really need to ski ungroomed greens and blues?
I don't know what you're talking about. I did a quick check of their morning grooming report. They had their groomers on 100% of the green and blues, including Paradise Bowl, and over 50% of the black runs. And this was after 5 inches of new snow. There are fewer bumps at CB than on the face of the average teenager.

What's the personal attack all about? My ski level is not the issue. I can only conclude that you, as an eastern skier, are so conditioned to grooming that you didn't notice it or that you're not that familiar with skiing western mountains. Go to Taos, Jackson, or Mary Jane and then come tell me about grooming.
post #12 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by MJB
I don't know what you're talking about. I did a quick check of their morning grooming report. They had their groomers on 100% of the green and blues, including Paradise Bowl, and over 50% of the black runs. And this was after 5 inches of new snow. There are fewer bumps at CB than on the face of the average teenager.

What's the personal attack all about? My ski level is not the issue. I can only conclude that you, as an eastern skier, are so conditioned to grooming that you didn't notice it or that you're not that familiar with skiing western mountains. Go to Taos, Jackson, or Mary Jane and then come tell me about grooming.
It wasn't a personal attack. I am just telling what I just experienced there. Your "conclusion" about me is incorrect. I have been skiing for about 27 years and have skied most resorts in Utah, Colorado, and a few in Europe. I understand grooming. That was my first trip to CB so I can't compare it to the way it was before. I'm not saying that it is the same as it was before. I'm saying that it didn't seem overly groomed to me. I can understand if you feel that CB has lost some magic, but come on, it is not a "panty waist" mountain. My point is...who cares if the greens and blues are 95% groomed. There is plenty of ungroomed and challenging terrain there off of the North Face and High lifts.

Most of those blacks that they have marked as groomed on their site are only groomed on half (one side) of the run. There were plenty of bumps to ski from what I saw there (yes, this Eastern skier knows what a bump looks like even though my knees don't like them as much these days). The only two blacks on the front side that were completely groomed flat when I was there were Jokerville and International. East River was the same thing. All but one run were at least half bumped for a majority of the run.

You asked for other perspectives. This is mine.
post #13 of 51
MattL you are a fly-in skier who visits "resorts" and CB obviously has changed its mountain for you and others like you. of course you see no problem with it. why don't you try living in the west (but not in this lifetime, please, we have enough groomed runs thank you!) to understand that off-piste is a big part of the experience out here, perhaps more than icy moguls and pristine grooming are back in your home areas.

ask this same line of questioning on Paula's Ski Lovers and you'll find more people agree with MattL.

ask this same line of questioning on TGR and you'll find more people agree with MJB.

since I'm stuck here at EpicSki I'm trying to cover the bases.

MattL, if you were ever lucky enough to be a local/regular at a small western ski hill, you'd understand MJB's perspective. I'm willing to bet that MJB understands your perspective very well, and has his own perspective based upon experiencing people from your perspective in greater number than one might want.

the west is being ruined by Right and Left Coasters (and flyover country "Big City" people) who feel the need to bring their sophistication and creature comforts with them, and impose them on their new neighbors as if they are "saving" their new home locale. these "saviors" are obnoxious, IMO, and I wish they'd stay back on their coasts or in their "big city" lives. you want city amenities? stay in the city! don't leave it!
post #14 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle crud
MattL you are a fly-in skier who visits "resorts" and CB obviously has changed its mountain for you and others like you. of course you see no problem with it. why don't you try living in the west (but not in this lifetime, please, we have enough groomed runs thank you!) to understand that off-piste is a big part of the experience out here, perhaps more than icy moguls and pristine grooming are back in your home areas.

ask this same line of questioning on Paula's Ski Lovers and you'll find more people agree with MattL.

ask this same line of questioning on TGR and you'll find more people agree with MJB.

since I'm stuck here at EpicSki I'm trying to cover the bases.

MattL, if you were ever lucky enough to be a local/regular at a small western ski hill, you'd understand MJB's perspective. I'm willing to bet that MJB understands your perspective very well, and has his own perspective based upon experiencing people from your perspective in greater number than one might want.

the west is being ruined by Right and Left Coasters (and flyover country "Big City" people) who feel the need to bring their sophistication and creature comforts with them, and impose them on their new neighbors as if they are "saving" their new home locale. these "saviors" are obnoxious, IMO, and I wish they'd stay back on their coasts or in their "big city" lives. you want city amenities? stay in the city! don't leave it!
That is exactly my point. The majority of grooming was on GREEN and BLUE runs! I'm not advocating grooming "off piste" and CB certainly isn't doing that. I'm also not for "over" grooming. CB may be more groomed than it was in the past, but it isn't all groomed.

I highly doubt that the guys at TGR would boast about rippin up the ungroomed blues and greens.

Thanks for reminding me that I don't live out West! I don't want to ski Eastern like conditions when I visit. Believe me I wasn't happy when I went to Fernie last year and skied boilerplate for a week.
post #15 of 51
yo Mattyboy.

how do you learn to ski offpiste if you don't do it on gentler slopes?

you see from a very biased view, man. VERY biased.
post #16 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle crud
yo Mattyboy.

how do you learn to ski offpiste if you don't do it on gentler slopes?

you see from a very biased view, man. VERY biased.
Ski the blue ice of the East Coast!
post #17 of 51
now you want the relatively poor low-income no-amenities western small ungroomed ski hill regular to fly to Pico Peak and train with the local jr racers?
post #18 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle crud
now you want the relatively poor low-income no-amenities western small ungroomed ski hill regular to fly to Pico Peak and train with the local jr racers?
Nah, you can take a bus.
post #19 of 51
Crud,

You're correct on the "don't bring your East Coast values to our West Coast terrain" point. I think you're wrong, however, on the lack of creativity of SAM in seeking unique profit models. Actually, wrong may be too strong a word. Overly optimistic may be more appropriate.

I don't know, but I assume that you are familiar with the business model that SAM is implementing in CB. There is simply no way a Silverton/Turner/Bridger model can bring in as much capital as the groom-em-to-death & throw up a million condo's approach can -- Jackson Hole is an enigma in that respect.

Note that I don't agree with what is going on out at Crested. Am I surprised at what they're doing? Not in the least.
post #20 of 51
Well, I just can't resist jumping into this one.

My name is Bob and I'm a western skier (I've never skied ANYWHERE east of Illinois).

I actually LIKE skiing on groomed runs.

There, I said it. I feel better for having admitted it.

Now, I don't mind skiing powder or crud. I actually do quite a lot of it. I ski at a resort that has a huge mix of both groomed and ungroomed, but I've never seen one single western resort that didn't have a pretty large percentage of ungroomed terrain available for those who were willing to go tackle whatever the conditions might be, off the piste so to speak.

Nevertheless, groomed runs are great. I wish my resort groomed MORE because they do such an outstanding job of it. I can't remember a single day in the last 20 years of skiing Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico when I couldn't have found PLENTY of ungroomed terrain anytime I wanted it.

And if the complaint is that Crested Butte (or any other resort) is grooming a bunch of new powder, well, why is it so heinous for a service provider (ski area) to do what the majority of its customers request?

While all of us macho western powder hounds want untracked everywhere, there is a healthy proportion of visiting skiers who simply aren't able to ski powder very well. These are very nice, hard-working, tax-paying families who don't have the luxury of spending endless days learning to ski powder. They get to ski a week or ten days a year at best. These people buy lift tickets. Without them, most of the ski resorts we "powder skiers" frequent would fold. These visitors are entitled to an experience THEY enjoy every bit as much as hard core powder skiers are.
post #21 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by iskitoofast4u
....Jackson Hole is an enigma in that respect..
Nope, not even JH can avoid the 'progress'. Witness the Four Seasons hotel and all the grooming being done on everything to the lookers right of the Bridger Gondola. They've gone mainstream.

Powdr
post #22 of 51
Bob - I'd hope you would know that I understand and agree with your position and that I ski groomers too. sometimes even by choice. heck, I've spent entire days on groomers. by choice, that is. on days where there was fun off-piste snow to be skied. now with that said, IMO the point I made above always needs making. the point you made (and made very well) is a point shared by a vast majority of skiers from the "slice of the market" or "economic participant" perspective (not a sheer number perspective) and therefore often goes without saying.

ISTF4U - it's pretty obvious that from a "business" (American-styled fastest-biggest profits) perspective catering to the lowest common denominator is a "successful" model. from a skier's perspective, there are many different ways to achieve "success" in a ski area's operational philosophy. for the season pass holder and other frequent regular, "staying open" would be the minimum, obviously.

I'd again suggest the Montana areas as comparable "success" stories, with Snowbowl being a fair example of the for-profit styled primarily-expert-terrain ski hill.
post #23 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Powdr
Nope, not even JH can avoid the 'progress'. Witness the Four Seasons hotel and all the grooming being done on everything to the lookers right of the Bridger Gondola. They've gone mainstream.

Powdr
that's Syrup of Ipecac to my eyes/ears/mind/stomach!:
post #24 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle crud
ISTF4U - it's pretty obvious that from a "business" (American-styled fastest-biggest profits) perspective catering to the lowest common denominator is a "successful" model. from a skier's perspective, there are many different ways to achieve "success" in a ski area's operational philosophy. for the season pass holder and other frequent regular, "staying open" would be the minimum, obviously.

I'd again suggest the Montana areas as comparable "success" stories, with Snowbowl being a fair example of the for-profit styled primarily-expert-terrain ski hill.
UC,

As usual you have managed to "beat" me on a technicality! I can only imagine how tough you must have been/are to litigate against.

Of course I agree with you. My point, however, was that CB's management is looking for the BIG dollars that come from massive real estate development. Those dollars, unfortunately, are for the most part firmly ensconced in the "we love groomers" family demographic.
post #25 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by iskitoofast4u
UC,

As usual you have managed to "beat" me on a technicality! I can only imagine how tough you must have been/are to litigate against.

Of course I agree with you. My point, however, was that CB's management is looking for the BIG dollars that come from massive real estate development. Those dollars, unfortunately, are for the most part firmly ensconced in the "we love groomers" family demographic.
Someone needs to help me understand the issue a little better.

Are you guys talking about runs that *could* be groomed with modern equipment but haven't been in the past? And now Crested Butte has suddenly started grooming them instead of leaving them in their natural state?

Here at JH, there is very little on the mountain that is shallow enough to groom that the mountain isn't already grooming on a fairly regular basis. There's almost nowhere that current state-of-the-art groomers CAN go that they haven't been grooming - snow permitting - for about five years. That still leaves enormous sections of the mountain - including to the right of the Bridger Gondola, that are never groomed.

That's what I don't personally understand about the complaints of "dumbing down" or "intermediatizing" some of these ski resorts.

JH still has the same expanse of steeps it's always had and no amount of effort by the ski corporation has been able to change that. Yes, they're doing a better and more frequent job of grooming what they can but there is only so much they dumb down for the intermediates. Practically every upper-level ski resort I can think of is in the same boat.

Is CB somehow different in that regard?

Edited to add that I have a more fundamental question... If there are runs that they hadn't been grooming in the past and they've suddenly started grooming them now, how steep are these runs? Are they REALLY expert runs? Because my own definition would be that the "expert" classification kind of begins in steepness at about the same pitch where it becomes too steep for groomers to operate anyway.
post #26 of 51
Thread Starter 
The Ernie Blake ski area model at TSV is the one I most respect. He was told that he could never have a ski resort there because it was too steep. He decided then that he would create the best possible ski school. He hired Jean Mayer from the French national ski team and started that ski school. He didn't try to change the mountain. He changed the people who wanted to ski it by providing them an opportunity to develop the necessary skills. If people don't want to take the time and energy to learn to ski western conditions, maybe they should stick to ping pong or some other lesser activity. Skiing is a difficult sport to master and it is about challenge and fun. You don't just put it in drive and take off.

He also provided opportunites for others to build lodges and businesses so that they to could share in the profits. It wasn't about getting rich fast, or even getting rich at all. It was and still is about the skiing.
post #27 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by MJB
The Ernie Blake ski area model at TSV is the one I most respect. He was told that he could never have a ski resort there because it was too steep. He decided then that he would create the best possible ski school. He hired Jean Mayer from the French national ski team and started that ski school. He didn't try to change the mountain. He changed the people who wanted to ski it by providing them an opportunity to develop the necessary skills. If people don't want to take the time and energy to learn to ski western conditions, maybe they should stick to ping pong or some other lesser activity. Skiing is a difficult sport to master and it is about challenge and fun. You don't just put it in drive and take off.

He also provided opportunites for others to build lodges and businesses so that they to could share in the profits. It wasn't about getting rich fast, or even getting rich at all. It was and still is about the skiing.
now that's what I'm talking about.

++++++++++++

ISTF4U, lay off the flattery. I'm not hiring.
post #28 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Peters
Someone needs to help me understand the issue a little better.

Are you guys talking about runs that *could* be groomed with modern equipment but haven't been in the past? And now Crested Butte has suddenly started grooming them instead of leaving them in their natural state?

Here at JH, there is very little on the mountain that is shallow enough to groom that the mountain isn't already grooming on a fairly regular basis. There's almost nowhere that current state-of-the-art groomers CAN go that they haven't been grooming - snow permitting - for about five years. That still leaves enormous sections of the mountain - including to the right of the Bridger Gondola, that are never groomed.

That's what I don't personally understand about the complaints of "dumbing down" or "intermediatizing" some of these ski resorts.

JH still has the same expanse of steeps it's always had and no amount of effort by the ski corporation has been able to change that. Yes, they're doing a better and more frequent job of grooming what they can but there is only so much they dumb down for the intermediates. Practically every upper-level ski resort I can think of is in the same boat.

Is CB somehow different in that regard?

Edited to add that I have a more fundamental question... If there are runs that they hadn't been grooming in the past and they've suddenly started grooming them now, how steep are these runs? Are they REALLY expert runs? Because my own definition would be that the "expert" classification kind of begins in steepness at about the same pitch where it becomes too steep for groomers to operate anyway.
I can't speak for the past grooming prcatices of CB, and I'm certainly not an expert on the resort, but that is exactly my point. There aren't that many expert runs on the front side to begin with, so if they are grooming more of them it has little effect. There is still a vast amount of "extreme" terrain that isn't groomed and couldn't be.

I think they did a good job of grooming the green and (many) blue runs. So the green runs are "more green". What is so bad about that? They are suppose to be beginner runs.
post #29 of 51
Interesting discussion here, folks.

And I really like Bob Peters' contribution about targeting a monied demographic. And since a lot of revenue at so-called "destination resorts" comes from the coasts, it's vital to look at the "average" skier these places target. In the case of CB and its sister resort, Okemo, they are looking at families with both a decent amount of disposable income and not necessarily the "power skier" types. In other words, they're looking for the folks who want the frills: the impeccable grooming, the higher-quality food in the base lodge, the paved parking lot with a shuttle to the lodge, etc. It's worked incredibly well for them at Okemo, so why not at the Butte?

And it reminded me of a trip report posted on DCSki.com by a more-or-less typical target skier, per CB's new management: a middle-aged person who skis with his family and wants to be able to share his day of skiing.

This person went on a trip to The Canyons and was largely impressed with the place, save for one thing: he was somwhat turned off by the dearth of groomed black diamond runs. Note that elsewhere in his review he remarks that most double-blue runs at The Canyons are the equivalent in steepness and challenge to Mid-Atlantic double-blacks, but he still laments that, on the wider blacks, ASC doesn't groom half of the trail:

Quote:
"...the Canyons might consider partially grooming some of its single black diamonds. The groomed sides of the trail would allow groups of mixed ability levels to ski together, and also permit advanced intermediates to taste some of the black terrain, knowing that a “paved” bail-out corridor would be available if needed."
Now I can see the logic in this from the consumer's standpoint: allow families of varied abilities to ski together on the same runs, and allow for some ego stroking for folks who think they are "almost expert."

But I can also see the logic in leaving the blacks "untamed," as it keeps a clear delineation between high-level intermediate and expert skiing abilities. And in the west, where you have everything from easy groomers to cliffs, trees, and chutes, it's a good idea to provide a bit of a litmus test - keeping the blacks in the realm of the expert skiers. Even for ASC, doing so at The Canyons is a bold move, and while they may not always adhere to this non-grooming stance on all of their black runs, it certainly keeps the various ability levels out of trouble.

But back to Crested Butte. Frankly, over-grooming the blacks is happening, and that's the desired outcome for their management. And yes, it's painful to see another of the more rough-and-tumble western areas get "resortified" (the gentrification of the ski resorts?), that's who owns the place now. Luckily, there are other areas in Colorado, Utah, Idaho, and throughout the west that are still more lessaiz faire in terms of grooming and coddling their skiing populations. So take your money where you think you'll get the most enjoyment.
post #30 of 51
CB is in a tough situation. At the heart of the problem is that it's a destination resort. It competes in an absolutely brutal market against the likes of Aspen, Steamboat, and Telluride. Even worse, it can't draw much from the major metropolitan area because the front range resorts have made skiing so cheap and accessible. It has to "import" and compete against JH, Utah, and Taos.

So... what do you do?

Option #1 is to operate as a ski area with no "resort" component. Well, that idea is practically dead on arrival. No one is going to stay in Gunnison and commute up there. I doubt any hotel, or at least one substantial enough, would open in the town of CB. It would be extremely difficult to make that kind of operation sustainable, let alone profitable. It's possible to go that route though - sell off all resort property at the base area to private owners/homeowner associations.

Option #2 would be a limited bedbase. Perhaps a few hundred beds, perhaps along the lines of Aspen Highlands. But you'd have to create a "boutique" style area and I just don't think that could be pulled off with the current accomodations.

Option #3 is to continue what they're doing but change the programs to fit the area. It's the easiest thing to do with highest payoff potential. So what they're doing is continuing to have a large bed base and thereby keeping the huge overhead costs. Club Med, while a nice addition to the resort, really doesn't pump a huge amount of money into it - the European travelers are there because of the all-inclusive nature and aren't buying private lessons or even beer. So they're trying to attract the free and independent travelers with deep pockets. Ain't nuthin' like a family of four on vacation to do that - group lessons for the kids, privates for Mom and Dad, rentals for everyone and dinner at the local, mountain-owned restaurants. It's no secret Crested Butte subsidizes flights from Gunnison to Texas.

So far that idea has only had limited success, but I really think it's the best way to go. If they can run a profitable operation on 700,000 skier visits a year, then I'm all for it.

Reading into that, I'm saying that they could potentially be more successful with less skiers. You know what? That's awesome. All that crap in the middle of the mountain is lame terrain and should be groomed anyway. Give me the Banana chute, Headwall, and North Face. That's all I need. I could care less about some black bump run if I can ski a sustained 40+ degree gladed pitch with sharp, pointy rocks sticking out of it. To me it's not even a sacrifice, and if it means there's even less people on the mountain then it would be amazing.
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