Jayson Simon-Jones in the Crested Butte Backcountry
Photo: Jeff Cricco
Crested Butte is one mountain that meets my criteria, although it should be noted that CB has evolved from a ski area wholly owned by one family, the Muellers, to one that’s now only managed and operated by it, due to a sale-and-lease-back arrangement with CNL Lifestyle Properties, a Florida-based real estate investment trust. The other ski areas I’ll visit are Wolf Creek, which has been owned and managed by the Pitcher family for most of three decades, and Taos, New Mexico, founded by Ernie Blake in 1955 and now run by his offspring, with son Mickey, 66, at the helm and two grandchildren in senior management positions.
But before I can even think about the latter two ski areas, I need to keep up with 29-year-old Erica Reiter (Mueller is her maiden name) who rides exactly as you’d expect someone who won the 2006 U.S. national parallel GS title to ride. I gather my courage and point my skis down the steep face in front of me, following those trenches and hanging on as we head for the bottom.