Norton’s Notions: “Crested Butte Bike Week and More on Affordable Housing”

A couple years ago I wrote that Crested Butte Bike Week was a “Dead Dog on the side of the road.” The Chamber’s Ashley UpChurch is now having me eat those words.

The Chainless Race attracted 350 participants. Adaptive’s Bridges event tallied 300. Brandon Ontiveros’ Big Mountain Enduro had 275 racers. Amy Nolan’s CB Devo events were enjoyed by 150 kids. The grueling Fat Tire 40, at 40 miles and 6,000’ of climbing, posted at 140 racers. 50 people showed up for Ben and Janae Pritchett’s Colorado Backcountry clinics and tours.

In all, over 1300 mountain bikers rode or raced in some organized event last week. Ages ranged from six to who knows how old? And that number falls shy of all the supporters. On the Upper Upper on Friday morning I ran into parents from Boulder who were catching a ride while their kids trained for the Devo event.

All those events must have hurt lift rides on the mountain, right? No so. CBMR reports year over year bike scans were +20%.

Some Dead Dog! Welcome to summer in Bike City!

Eyes are on the Mt Crested Butte Council as it takes another kick at the affordable housing can, now being back to a full complement of council members. The CB News classifieds last week had 14 columns of “Help Wanted” and a total of eight (not eight columns, just eight) units for rent, each of which seemed unaffordable to a whole lot of people working here.

I have already begun hearing complaints about miserable service levels in town. No matter how good a server is, she can’t do the job of two or three people at a busy understaffed place. I feel sorry for the people doing their very best at an impossible task and leaving customers unsatisfied.

I was in a meeting with federal and state land managers last week. In the area of unintended consequences caused by our lack of affordable housing, sites on our public lands are now being used for semi-permanent housing. We are all welcome to camp on public lands but we are not welcome to live on public lands. Adding to the enforcement headache is that many “campers” aren’t around during normal working hours—they’re working. So federal and state agents have to work evenings when the sites may be occupied, incurring overtime the funds for which their agencies must scramble to find.

After hearing this I took a bike ride at Hartman. I passed a half dozen occupied camps. No one was home at any of the camps, not a surprise during a beautiful day. But there were also no vehicles at any of the camps. I thought to myself this is the very thing I was just hearing about.

The agencies are legitimately irritated that our valley has not gotten ahead of our housing problems. We have kicked our problem down the road for them and others to handle.

And here comes the 4th of July…

You can always reach me at

via Crested Butte News

Gatesco Inc Logo
Andrew Hadley Logo
Sprout Studio Logo
REG Logo
SGM Logo
CK Inc Logo