Vail Will Wait on Spending at Crested Butte

    Vail Resorts released part of their capital spending plan for the next fiscal year late last week, and while the company pledged funds towards updates at its four newest resorts, specific plans for Crested Butte were not mentioned.

    Stevens Pass, a resort outside Seattle, WA that was picked up by Vail around the same time as Crested Butte came out as the big winner, receiving two new chairlifts. Vail also said they’ll be making “significant investments” in snow-making operations at Keystone, Beaver Creek,  and Vail.

    Okemo Mountain, one of the former resorts owned by Triple Peaks - along with Crested Butte - will receive upgrades to two restaurants. Meanwhile, at the other two Triple Peaks Resorts, Vail has decided to not operate aging chairlifts: the Teocali Chair at Crested Butte and the Duckling Chair at Sunapee.

    Photo: The Teocali Chair at Crested Butte Mountain Resort will not run this year. Courtesy of Peter Landsmen

    Listen to the story:


    Hospital Opens New Senior Care Center

    Gunnison Valley Health (GVH) held a ribbon cutting ceremony recently to celebrate the opening of their new residential Senior Care Center. The new facility is located on Gunnison’s west side, next door to the hospital’s Assisted Living Center. Shortly after the ribbon was cut, 43 residents moved into their new homes.

    The 52,000 square foot facility cost $23 million to build, none of which came from taxpayers. It’s broken into three neighborhoods, with one designated for memory care patients.

    Photos (Top) Officials and residents of the Gunnison Valley Health Senior Care Center cutting the ribbon to their new facility. (Bottom) More than 100 volunteers, including law enforcement, firefighters and EMTs, helped 43 residents into their new homes. Courtesy of Gunnison Valley Health.

    Wade Baker, VP of Administrative affairs at GVH, told KBUT that it’s been a long time waiting on the new facility, which is designed to feel more like a home than a hospital. The old building, circa 1976, is from a different era of senior care.

    According to the 2018 State of the Valley Report  published in October, the Gunnison Valley is aging, with 10.7 percent of the population now 65 or older. That figure has more than doubled since 1980. AARP says that by 2030, 1 in every 5 Americans will be 65 or older.

    Listen to the story:


    Highway 135 Shooting - What We Know

    On Thanksgiving Day, Patrick Langhoff, a 59-year-old Mancos, Colorado resident, was traveling north on Highway 135 towards Crested Butte to spend the holiday with family when his car went off the road.

    Other than reports from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation that Langhoff “brandished” a gun, there is little known officially about the circumstances that led to his death after an interaction with a Colorado State Patrol Officer.

    Much of what we do know is thanks to the in-depth reporting of Chris Rourke of the Gunnison Country Times. In addition to officials, she spoke to witnesses of the scene and members of Langhoff's family. She caught up with KBUT's Christopher Biddle. 

    Listen to their conversation: 


    Increased Backcountry Tourism Sparks Local Conservation Efforts

    By Laura Anderson, Western Slope Resources Reporting

    According to the Colorado Tourism Office, since 2009, Colorado has seen a 41 percent increase in tourism, double the national average, totaling 86 million visitors in 2017. 

    However, an increase in visitors means impacts to this fragile high-alpine resource are inevitable, exacerbated by the fact that many of the tourists who come to use the high country lack knowledge of how to protect it.

    Local organizations in Gunnison County are working to ensure that visitors are educated about how to use and preserve these delicate ecosystems, as Ashley UpChurch, executive director of the Crested Butte/Mount Crested Butte Chamber of Commerce explained.

    Photo: Descending Purple Mountain on the Ruby Range Traverse, one of many recreational destinations in Gunnison County. Credit Mark Robbins

    “We want to make sure that we’re educating those tourists that we’re bringing in and making sure they’re treating our backcountry appropriately as we’re bringing them in to help our economy,” said Upchurch.

    To kickstart the process, the Chamber and the U.S. Forest Service placed eight porta-potties at high-traffic trailheads surrounding Crested Butte. The hope was that they would cut down on the amount of human waste in the woods. Human waste that organizations, like the Crested Butte Conservation Corps (CBCC), must haul back to town sanitation facilities.
    The CBCC was founded two years ago by the Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association (CBMBA).

    Listen to the story:


    Housing Authority Director Talks Future Without 6A

    According to a report from the One Valley Prosperity Project, the median cost of a home in Gunnison County is 28 percent higher than the state average. Since 2015, rental prices have tripled or even quadrupled. In Crested Butte, only nine percent of residents can afford the median cost of a home.

    There is likely no one person more familiar with these figures than Jennifer Kermode, the Director of the Gunnison Valley Regional Housing Authority. Our reporter Christopher Biddle caught up with Kermode to talk about the new Gunnison Valley Housing Plan - which is in the final stages of approval - and the future of affordable housing after voters denied a mill levy tax measure that would have funded projects.

    Kermode says she isn’t surprised that the measure failed, having witnessed similar measures in Summit COunty that required more than one pass in front of voters. She called it an “educational process.”

    Photo: Jennifer Kermode. Courtesy of the Gunnison Valley Regional Housing Authority.

    Listen to the story: 


    Transportation Commissioners Worry About The Financial Road Ahead

    By Scott Franz, CO Capitol Coverage

    State Transportation Commissioner Rocky Scott says his lunch conversation at a Colorado Springs steakhouse took on a sobering tone Monday when the discussion turned to the state’s road funding woes.

    “I don’t think we’re going to solve this before I leave the commission,” Scott said.

    Three weeks after voters rejected two transportation funding measures, Scott and some of the other commissioners who oversee the state’s road improvement budget still sound resigned.

    They say the state has a $1 billion road funding shortfall each year and a growing list of projects competing for money.
    And they’re still struggling to find a way to convince voters to pitch in for improvements.

    Listen and read the whole story...

    Police Shooting Closes Highway 135 on Thanksgiving

    By Christopher Biddle

    There was an officer-involved shooting on Colorado Highway 135 on Thursday that resulted in the death of one person. That’s according to a press release from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. Around 10 minutes after 4 p.m. on Thanksgiving day,  a Colorado State Patrol Officer was dispatched to a one vehicle crash about 4.5 miles south of Crested Butte, at mile marker 23. The suspect was pronounced deceased following the shooting that occurred during the incident. No officers were injured.

    Highway 135 was closed due to the investigation for two to three hours before alternating lanes of traffic were allowed to pass. The 7th Judicial Critical Incident Investigative Team (CIIT) is investigating the incident. No other information was available by Friday evening.

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