Welcome to a wonderfully weird winter

No one will say that the last few months have not been unusual — okay, really weird. But the fact is that if you are reading this you have likely found a way to escape some of the negative weirdness and ended up at this little village high in the Rocky Mountains that is full of the positive weirdness. For that, you (and we) can be grateful.

What people discovered here last summer was that coming to Crested Butte and the Gunnison Valley presented an opportunity to escape some of the craziness. It is the ideal location to leave worries of pandemics and conflict behind. Because there is space here, people naturally feel safer. Even in winter, there is opportunity to be outside, and people can feel comfortable. Because the local businesses have worked really hard to follow health protocols, people can feel at ease shopping in the stores or figuring out the best way to enjoy our fine cuisine.

One of the best things about Crested Butte has always been its scale. It is not a giant mega ski resort. Instead it is small and charming. It is a postcard. The colorfully painted buildings along Elk Avenue pop beneath the bluest skies above and whitest snow on the ground. Painted buses transport folks between the ski mountain and downtown. When it snows, it comes in fluffy flakes, which bring lasting memories that land on your kid’s tongue.

Crested Butte has always been one of those places that embraces its weirdness. You’ll see little kids riding their little bikes even in the winter. To us, that’s not weird. Nordic skiers skate out to the Poop Loop, so named for the dogs that ski there too, or Middle Earth. Alpine skiers head to places like Body Bag or East LA.

Don’t be surprised if you see people in a costume. Here, you don’t need to have a reason to dress up so seeing a skier jump into Jokerville in a tutu is not uncommon. We have no idea what the event scene will be like this year but if they happen and you are here for something like the Alley Loop or Al Johnson, expect to experience some weirdness. The good weirdness.

That is not to say everything will be smooth while you are here. There is a pandemic going on after all. The ski area won’t have all its restaurants open and you won’t be sliding on to a full chairlift with strangers. Local restaurants may not be able to fill every seat so take-out might be a fun option. The buses won’t be allowing you to pack in and stand next to one another while sharing a burrito so it might take longer to get somewhere. But nothing is that far away around here. No one likes the restrictions in place to deal with the virus, but the fact is that the town and ski area are working hard to keep everyone safe. So we ask you all to respect the plan in place that allows you and others to come enjoy a break from the “real world.”

So maybe the best thing to do on this winter trip is what we normally advise people to do anyway: Slow down. Look at the views. Explore some new trails and stroll down Elk Avenue. Remember to go outside at night and look at the stars. I guarantee you’ll see more than you do from your backyard at home. If you aren’t used to it, the Milky Way can make the night sky pretty strange. Look, things won’t be as fast or “normal” as they have been here in the past — so take that deep wintry breath and roll with it. You’ll be glad you did because when you focus on where you are, you’ll feel grateful. And what better thing can you experience while on vacation than gratitude? Thanks for coming to the valley and have a really good—and weird—time.

—Mark Reaman