(Last Updated On: October 1, 2013)
CBMR has done some great things for the local community. But, there are still some improvements to be made. After many conversations with many very frustrated locals, I wrote this letter to CBMR in efforts to try to represent the voice of the community both reasonably and respectfully. Let’s hope that we see improved communication from CBMR soon!
I am writing this letter on behalf of many people in the local Crested Butte community. We feel that communication needs to improve between CBMR and the community that surrounds it.
First, we would like to commend CBMR for some of the improvements that have been made over the last several years. In particular, we really enjoy the summer bike access. We love the bike park and all the new trails. We also have really enjoyed the Friday evening Free Twilight Lift Rides. Your bike program has been exceptional, and summer lift access has been great. Along with the summer programs, we really appreciate the significant lowering of winter season’s pass prices. This lowering of prices makes your mountain more accessible to the community, and it is a huge move in the right direction.
However, there are some specific things that CBMR has done that seem to take a step backward. For example, many community members view the offering of $499 season’s pass (as opposed to the standard $599) at Front Range locations during Labor Day weekend as unfair. I have also heard of one specific instance where someone from Gunnison, who was present at one of these locations, tried to buy one of these passes, and was turned down. He was told that the $499 price was not meant for local community members.
Furthermore, CMBR’s uphill skiing policy has changed significantly, without significant notice to the public. In July, few, if any, community members knew that CBMR was going to start charging an extra fee to existing pass holders that wanted to use the mountain for uphill access. In the past, this access has been free (or nearly free) to pass holders. This service has been a great thing for the community. When an email blast went out to the public just before Peak + passes were about to conclude their summer pricing at the end of July, that was the first we had read anything tying passes to uphill access. The new charge for uphill access was also not well-emphasized. In fact, it was so underplayed, that I personally put this email aside thinking that the uphill access fee must only be for operating hours. Even more confusing is the fact that there is a whole separate $100 option for uphill access only, not including summer access, which is not published anywhere. There is no mention of this option on the pass website, and many people in the community may have purchased Peak + options wanting the uphill access, but not really needing the summer access.
The overall arching theme here is that communication from CBMR to the community really needs to be improved. Lack of proper communication on CBMR’s part is leading to a lot of confusion and some animosity among members of the local community members toward CBMR. CBMR has paved a new positive path by lowering pass prices, but then has continued to alienate the community with some of its actions since then. Personally, I love supporting Crested Butte Mountain Resort. But, it is hard to do so when some of CBMR’s actions seem to negatively target the local community.
Here are a few recommendations to help CBMR build trust back into the community:
If pass prices are to be reduced at certain sales on the Front Range, advertise them to everyone. Make them accessible on your website or publish them in the newspaper. And, make this price available to anyone present.
- Changes to the uphill policy should be very evident. There was no mention of a change in uphill policy in flyers that were sent to the public before the end of July. The email blast that was sent out specifically to previous uphill travel users at the end of July says this: “Upgrade includes unlimited Winter 2013/14 Adventure Park, chairlift and uphill access, Summer 2014 chairlift access, and discounts of 10% on Zipline Tours, CBMR Rental & Retail, & Adult ski and snowboard group lessons”. Other than this, there was no mention of uphill access or specific explanations to changes in uphill travel policy. Instead, this email should have been titled “New Changes Coming to CBMR’s Uphill Policy”, with specific pricing notifications inside. The public that has previously used your resort for uphill travel in the past should have been given specific notification that uphill access was available for a flat $100 fee OR through Peak + upgrades. Furthermore, the public should have been notified of this change much earlier than the end of July, when the cheapest rate for Peak + upgrades was about to expire.
- To improve communication regarding changes in uphill travel policies, CBMR should have a page designated for uphill travel. This page can include pricing structures, explain what additional services that will be provided as a result of this fee, and have a copy of any rules and regulations surrounding uphill travel. It can also contain a link to some of the CBMR Ski Patrol media feeds which have been great resources and sources of communication for uphill users in the past.
- CBMR would highly benefit from a community liaison. We believe that CBMR wants to improve and also wants to benefit this community. But, it is clear that community response to some of these changes has not been well-thought out. Crested Butte, as a community, can be positively receptive to changes if they are properly notified of the changes in advance. A community liaison can help anticipate community response, and begin educating the public about upcoming changes in policies or fee structure.
We, as a community, love living in this ski town. We are proud of where we live, and we enjoy recreating at Crested Butte Mountain Resort. Let us, as community members, be your best advocates by keeping us intentionally well-informed on changes in policies and fee structures, rather than seemingly alienating us from them. We look forward to improved communication from you toward the community in the future.
Thank you for your time,
Brittany Walker Konsella
& the Crested Butte Community
Update: We are in conversations with Ethan Mueller, Vice President and General Manager of CBMR. For now, Mueller has asked us not to publish any of the dialogue. But, we hope to share his perspective soon.