It sure seems like it’s all glam and glitz, but don’t let this iconic ski town fool you.
At first glance, Aspen doesn’t seem like it would pack that mean of a punch. Young moms in yoga pants chauffeur toddlers in expensive-looking strollers, men in fur coats sip coffee, and the Prada store radiates in the morning light. Sounds fairly innocent, right? As far as I can tell, it’s all a ploy because leaving Aspen almost always necessitates a vacation to recover from my vacation.
CB is everything that makes a ski town rad, from locally owned restaurants and shops to coffeehouses filled with people who live for adventure.
I was at an eighth-birthday party this spring for the son of a friend I moved to Crested Butte with 15 years ago. The kids all played soccer while the “adults” drank PBR in the shadow of Crested Butte Mountain. Rowan, the birthday boy, approached the picnic table and asked his mom, “Can I open my presents?” One of the gifts was a Magic 8 Ball, a classic toy that’s been around since 1950. He unpackaged the 8 Ball with a throng of kids surrounding him. Then Rowan asked with heartfelt sincerity, “Will I be a pro skier?” He shook the ball.
Once the first chairlift started spinning in 1972, Telluride became the ultimate ski town. And that’s one reason we love it.
Back in the day, Telluride produced over $60 million of gold, silver, zinc, copper, and lead. Though the last gold was extracted decades ago, it seems wherever you go in Telluride, mining still gets in your face. Riding the gondola, one can scan east to west from the ginormous, treacherously toxic tailings pile to the pickax-stuffed museum in town. Me, I’m over the mining heritage. In the end, it’s just a bunch of rusted metal.
There may not be another community in the mountains that so deftly does the destination jujitsu of combining the thrill of outdoor athletics with the buzz of a booming urban environment.
(Photo: Jeff Cricco)
Pete Seibert, a veteran of the 10th Mountain Division, needed $1 million or so in 1961 to build his life’s vision of the ultimate ski resort. He put together a package for investors: $10,000 got you shares in the unbuilt resort and four lifetime season passes for the family.