One of Crested Butte’s nicknames is Colorado’s Last Great Ski Town, but could that era be ending? A Vice News video published last week noted a concerning trend in the town known for its iconic ski resort, as many can’t afford to live in the town for a variety of factors.
Some interesting points and stories from the video:
- The couple that appears at the start of the video originally lived in New York City and moved to the ski town following the start of the pandemic. They were enticed by being Epic Pass holders prior to the move. They do not work in town and work remotely instead.
- Vail Resorts bought Crested Butte back in 2018. Before then, the mountain was owned by Triple Peaks LLC, which also ran Mount Sunapee and Okemo in New England. While housing was tough to come by in the remote town ever before the sale, Vail’s ownership and Epic Pass’s affordability and accessibility have accelerated the process.
- Real Estate agent Paul Brown noted that the prices of smaller homes in Crested Butte had increase hundreds of percentage points from the 1990s. While a home could sell at around $60k in the ’90s, the price has increased to nearly $2 million dollars now. In 2020, the median home price went above $1 million, a 38% increase in one year. House availability is low too, with 30% fewer houses available than the year before, and long-term rentals are rarely an option. Paul Brown even fears being priced off the town at some point too, in spite of having a lucrative position.
- In June, the town officially declared an affordable housing emergency. Other recent measures include a moratorium on short-term rentals, the town bought a bed and breakfast to convert it to affordable housing for seasonal workers, and legalized individuals to park and camp mobile homes and vehicles on private property. A tax is also being considered on private homes. At the town meeting regarding the motion, one of the second homeowners hilariously compared the measure to the French Revolution and the concept of “eating the rich”.
- “There are so many generous, smart, creative, educated……CEOs…” Restaurant and Rental Owner Kyleena Falzone defended the second homeowners against the tax, claiming that such a move would push them away. She owns two popular restaurants in town, and she rents out two houses in town to her employees and is building more units to help them out. She admits many of her employees still live in tents, vans, and couch surf in the surrounding towns, and that she uses some of her short-term rentals to supply out of towners that are part of the Zoom Boom.
- One of the Kyleenas employees, David Stephen, lost his rental after his landlord didn’t renew his lease. He now finds a random spot in the wilderness to camp his truck to sleep, or couch surfs at a friend’s place.