Crested Butte Mountain Resort : A Patrollers Paradise

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CrestedButte_TS_corduroy_0110An Interview with John Hickey,Crested Butte Ski/Bike Patrol

IN CRESTED BUTTE, BEING APATROLLER IS WHO YOU ARE. YOU KNOWTHE MOUNTAIN, YOURE A LOCAL, YOURE WELL INFORMED,YOU KNOW EVERYONE, AND YOU KNOW THE BACKCOUNTRY.

Ive been skiing my whole life. I came to Crested Butte after school,have lived in town for two decades, and been part of ski patrolfor 17 years.

We dont have big lift lines, because the mountain is set up in away that lines dont form here. We have so much open terrain our pitches are practically vertical and there are lots of cliffs. Idsay the biggest cliff inbounds is about 120 feet, and Rambo, oursteepest cut run, is one of the steepest in North America; its abouta 55 degree pitch.

Weve hosted US Extreme competitions since 1991. The topextreme skiers in the country and the world gather here. Ive hadthe opportunity to ski with many of them, which is one of the mostincredible opportunities Im afforded. Crested Butte has alwaysbeen a place where the competitors have to prove themselves.

When the right snow has fallen, we open up the Bermuda Triangleand Hourglass. Theyve only been open three times for the finalsof the extreme competition, but every one of the athletes who hasskied it says its some of the best terrain theyve ever skied. Itssteep, littered with rocks and cliffs, and a definite no-fall zone.

We try to groom all of the green and blue runs every night, andthe flagship runs especially are groomed each night. We believein introducing every skier to more difficult terrain than theyanticipated, teaching beginners in a safe manner allowing themto enjoy the terrain without getting in over their head.

WE JUST HAVE A HUGE VARIETY OFTERRAIN HERE AT CRESTED BUTTE: BOWLS,TREES, CLIFFS, GULLIES, AND A LOT OF IT IS NORTHFACING,MAKING THE SNOW BETTER FOR LONGER.

Expanded beginner and intermediate terrain of Painter Boy, GoldLink and Prospector, plus the junior terrain park, are fun for thewhole family. We have a new kids trail with hippo humps andmake a significant effort to groom each beginner/intermediaterun perfectly every night. From a ski patrol perspective, we checkeach run in the morning to make sure they are clearly marked,free of hazards and that theres an easy way to get down.

The guest service and beauty make Crested Butte stand out.Visitors to the resort experience these duel aspects and fit inseamlessly. Crested Butte is an old mining town melded withsome of the most advanced skiing in Colorado, and when youcombine the two, its a great time. Even without the extremeskiing, folks can just enjoy the town and be a part of this closeknitcommunity. Everyone knows everyone, and they welcomethe people who visit.

The base area is unique and is a complement to the mountain andthe historic town. The Muellers have put in Mountaineer Squarewith plenty of family activities available year-round includingnew restaurants and cool, fun hangouts that give guests all themore reason to stay in Mt. Crested Butte during their vacation.

CRESTED BUTTE IS A RESORT, BUT ITS NOT RESORTISH;ITS HOMEY, HAS A COMFORTABLEFEEL, AND IS FRIENDLY WITHOUT TRYING.

We have a lot of characters here in Crested Butte. One is a busdriver, Tuck, and he drives a bus in the winter. He is personable,always willing to tell you a story, and in the summer hes partof the East River Free Trappers. These guys get dressed-up asfrontiersman trappers, participate in the parade, and shootmuskets off, all while wearing their buckskins and leathers.Individuals like Tuck make up the colorful personality that isCrested Butte.

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