Erica Mueller of Crested Butte Mountain Resort

Erica Mueller Crested ButteErica Mueller of Crested Butte Mountain Resort on Colorado.FM – The Colorado Podcast

 

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Crested Butte is a real favorite here in Colorado among the Colorado ski, snowboard and mountain biking crowd, hikers, leaf chasers, dog walkers whoever.  It’s just an amazing place to visit at any time of year, both the town and the mountain itself..

So for this podcast episode I made it out to Crested Butte to visit Erica Mueller, who is currently Vice President of Crested Butte Mountain Resort, but more interestingly daughter to Tim and Diane Mueller who began buying ski resorts in the 1980s.

Now, we’ll talk about this more in our conversation, but the Mueller family began their journey in the ski industry with the purchase of Okemo mountain in Vermont, where I’ve actually spent tons of time, in the early 80s.  Erica was just one year old at the time, so she’s literally been in the ski business her whole life and she offers some interesting perspective on what that was like growing up.

After realizing some success there they were able to purchase Crested Butte Mountain Resort in 2004.

We talk a bit about how Erica transitioned from professional snowboarding to joining the family business, addressing the challenges of being in such a high profile position in the Crested Butte community, new changes for this season as well as 5 year plan on growth.

Of course, I’m always picking my guests brains for great local tips and insight – favorite spots, stuff like that and Erica offers some great local knowledge.

Online, you can find Crested Butte Resort at skicb.com and on instagram @skicrestedbutte.

And, of course, we’ll be sure to put any relevant links to find references we talk about in the show notes.

Alright, so here we go, my conversation with Erica Mueller of Crested Butte Mountain Resort.

 


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Show Notes

[03:30] A lifetime in the ski industry

[06:00] Turnaround stories, a focus on client service

[11:30] Not quite ready for the family business

[15:30] Ok, now I’m ready…

[17:45] First season as VP

[20:30] Explaining the recent change in ownership

[25:20] Maintaining a constructive, open relationship with the community

[30:15] Exciting changes, 5 year expansion plan

[33:30] Favorite ski runs and rides

[37:45] Who would Erica like to hear on the podcast – Karen Hoskin of Montanya Distillers

 


Selected Links from the Episode

Connect with Crested Butte Mountain Resort:

On the Web: skicb.com

On Facebook or Instagram @skicrestedbutte.

 

Other References:

Evolution Bike Park

Teocalli Ridge Trail

Doctor Park Trail

Montanya Distillers (Erica recommends the Maharaja)

Steamboat Winter Sports Club

Okemo Mountain Resort

Champlain College

 


Transcript

Erica thanks for making some time. I really appreciate you being on the podcast. I think our listeners are really going to enjoy getting the story from behind. Crested Butte and everything like that.

This just I was doing some research and I really came across some fun stuff. First time was being an Okemo person somebody who moved from the East Coast out to Colorado. I came across this picture of your family that Okemo in Vermont that was taken right right around the time when your parents Tim and Diane bought the resort so it was like in 1982 1982 was this little 1 year old girl in that picture in a little red jumpsuit.

Yes you’ve heard of this scene. Is it on your mantle at home?

We actually show it or welcome orientations for on the phone. So we came from. Yeah.

So excellent. But I saw that you know is just it really hits home that this.

You know business has been your entire life. And you know so I’m really curious know what was life like in the Muller household as a ski resort owner. And you know when did you start to realize that that’s kind of different and pretty special because you know when you’re a little kid it just is what it is. Right. But you know as you get older you kind of things start down on you like wow.

Yeah.

OK so I’ll start obviously I was a year and a half when my parents started chemo in 1982 and so I had I I’ve known nothing else. As you say one of the first times I remember somebody talking to me about it because I really did as a child and I think my brother did too that we didn’t know any different.

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We I thought my parents made as much money as the left operators and they probably did because everything they made they put back into the mountain to make it work. At the time.But I thought everybody was equal they were all part of my family growing up and I knew most everybody at the mountain you know it’s obviously a lot smaller operation when I was younger.

But anyway the story that I’m thinking of I was in daycare and that’s where I my child care was because it was obviously easy it was the daycare right at the resort there then them and I was playing with one of the counselors and she she I think I was on her lap or something and I was like swinging back and forth you know and she had my hands and she was like ‘So Erika and I didn’t really know where that well I don’t think she goes Erica Mueller. So your parents on the mountain.’

And I was like No they only own half the mountain. And she was like well what do you mean. And I didn’t really know what that meant but I knew that my parent that it was a Vermont State Park. Half of it was. And so my parents didn’t own the whole mountain Vermont own part of it.

And my parents owned half of it which is kind of funny and you know obviously as a you know I was probably for maybe it seems like you owned half of it you know I probably confuse the you know what out of her bed.

But I really I didn’t know any different. And I think my parents did an amazing job raising Ethan and I to just just be who we were and you know at school we are in a small town of course like I wasn’t any different I wasn’t special we were never treated any differently that we just we just got to school for free.

Well I think you’re doing some research.

I think it’s worth noting that I mean the industry in the 80s is totally different than what it is now. And on top of that you know these places weren’t booming businesses that your parents bought. They were failing businesses struggling businesses and not you know they didn’t move in and just buy something the way people kind of buy it.

Right. Just to have I mean the you know they’ve they really put everything they had into it and had to be really smart about how they turn it around and forces the whole nine. And then the industry again was just smaller back then.

Yeah totally. So when they bought Okemo it was actually community owned. I don’t know if you found that in your research but it it was owned by a bunch of locals and probably some New Yorkers and people from Connecticut who had been coming up but various shares were out there and so when my dad came across the opportunity they were actually down in the Caribbean and St. Thomas helping my grandparents with their resort and.

And they were looking to move back to Vermont which is where they had bought some property that they wanted to raise us and. And so they had. My dad had to get on the phone and try to get 51 percent of the shares and so he was calling each individual owner of you know various numbers and trying to get to the magical number I think he he got about 60 percent of the people or 61 percent of the shares and he couldn’t afford that much.

So like tell people no I can’t buy the kind of money.

But anyway when they bought it it was I mean it was going into bankruptcy. It was they only had surface left so there was no chairlifts they didn’t have any snowmaking infrastructure was about as basic and elementary as he probably could get at the time and.

And so when they got there actually the first year it didn’t snow till January. So they were like oh my god what did we do. We just put any type of savings or opportunity and we have two young kids and we’ve risked it all you know kind of thing.

 


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They they didn’t have money initially for any more investments to put into snowmaking or grooming operations or lifts at the time so they knew that they had to invest in their people and they had six full time year round employees at the time and they obviously had never run a ski area either so they also knew that they had to rely on their employees like what are we doing how do we make you know what you know and so they it was a big learning year.

And it just started to I think gain success because of their band their attitude their work ethic. Every dollar that they did make they they put back into the mountain. I mean you know we didn’t live a luxurious life by any means nor do we know that we live a good life and we live in a life in the mountains which is awesome but it just you know kind of snowballed over time and they saw more success and they really they kind of made us dance in the ski industry early on of guest service.

There wasn’t a lot of ski areas. Talking about guest service or trying to like make their guests happier or a better guest experience. It was really just about the product. Like how is the grooming How’s the snowmaking especially on the east obviously out here is a little bit different for snow quality.

They so they really started to talk about guest service and you know really welcoming people into our home and and how can we make them feel more welcome and have a great experience because they’re going to want to come back you know kind of things that are natural to all of us now and any hospitality place organization. But at the time it wasn’t really the ski industry’s focus.

Surely these places were a little more kind of hardcore right. And you showed up there was a lift or not even. Yes. If you don’t have a lift and you don’t have service I don’t know what you’re just the hills there and they cut the trees down. They get the trees out of the way. But the industry is it’s hard to even imagine it compared to what it to what it is now.

Yeah. And so they and then only the late 80s I guess after they had you know started to be able to put in some more chairlifts and get rid of some of the pamphlets that they had. They had a ski rider up there. They were you know hosting their PR person was hosting or something at the time and at the end of the weekend they were like well did you notice you have a good time. How was it in there. She was like you know it’s just a little different here.

You know like every replace has skiing in the snow is great in this and that but she was like your people are amazing and there’s something different about Okemo and they kind of just ran with that. And we still try to run our businesses that way. But that was like the the core and the ground of it. And we called it the Okemo difference and still do. And so a lot of our Guest Service Training tune out for them.

Well when you see that that works. No you stick with it. And then the capital type things is you know you can start adding right to that and you can start doing those types of things.

But that service orientation is a culture that I mean it sounds like you’ve you’ve brought to you as you started to grow and so we can kind of bring us up to where we are today a little bit in the sense that so your family acquires Crested Butte in 2004. So at that time you’re still I guess are you at UC Boulder at that time or are you. Are you snowboarding.  Are you looking at the family business or are you still just playing.

That’s a good question. I graduated in 1999 and I did a semester at UVM not really knowing what I wanted to do but I was getting that business administration together for that semester I guess I knew I wanted to still snowboard and I had competed in snowboarding in high school and I was seeing some success with it and I was like you know I want to make a career out of this.

I want to like kind of live that dream I wasn’t really ready to go to school and my parents were very supportive and I found a program in Steamboat the Steamboat Springs winter sports club. And so I moved there and started training with them in the winter of 2000 January 2000 and I guess I lived there full time from 2001 on.

But yeah. So I was competing in snowboarding I made the U.S. team. So seeing you know some fun success for that. In 2002 I did go to Boulder. So I always promised my parents I would go back to school. I didn’t know right off the bat that I wanted to be in the family business.

My brother did. He was like on that path and I knew it. But I guess I wanted to mess around a little more and I just I just wasn’t sure you know my parents always said to us like you don’t have to do this. You need to do what you want you need to do it makes you happy.

And so I guess I tried to explore that a little syllabled or I was going to for that semester I went for exercise physiology or kinesiology and I thought that was where I wanted to go you know into the sports sciences and snowboarding and I don’t know where it was going to lead me but. So anyway I went back to snowboarding again that that next winter and just I guess just kept going at it and I was not ready to fully commit to college.

I did eventually in 2006 say you know what. It’s time to figure this out. Online colleges we’re starting to you know be more prominent and my mom happened to be on the board of trustees for Champlain College in Vermont in Burlington and she was like actually funny you should mention that Champlain as you know really has been growing their online school program you should look into and I’m like oh shoot this could be good I could snowboard and I could live in Steamboat and I could travel the world for snowboarding and get my degree and that’s sort of like a date. I yeah like too good to be true right.

And I was able to to do that. And in three years and spending a lot of papers from Internet connections that didn’t want to support that and like Russia and Italy and you know wherever it was stressful at times that I felt super fortunate to be able to do that. And once I was done with snowboarding in 2010 I could just be done and start working and I guess through that time between I guess 2002 and 2006 is when I kind of decided that you know what my parents are amazing.

They’ve taught me so much. The ski industry is probably one of them most fun out there you know like why. Why would I not want to be. And we’re a very tight knit family so I think it just you know I just had to do it a little exploring and then come back to it.

Well I mean not every business needs you know every person at every stage you bring different things to the table when you come back. You’ve been around the world you’ve seen different places. It’s like you did market research for 10 years.

I totally did. I actually used to collect trail maps from everywhere I went. I’ve got those somewhere.

So it is kind of fun like hey we should bring in you know in Japan this resort had this cool thing with Ramen so.

So it was like say 2010 that you were like. I want to kind of get involved or it’s time it’s time to. I want a job and I want to see the life. I’ve looked at other jobs and yeah that’s another fun so. So. And then you started like how do you kind of enter into the business.

Yeah I I had done for school I had come down to Crested Butte one summer in 2008 and I did an internship program and the marketing department. And it was for school credit it was something I had to do to graduate so it kind of worked out well. They were actually hiring for an intern that summer so you know it’s kind of serendipitous somehow it wasn’t.

This time it wasn’t fully just handed a job which was posted that was posted there.

So I had done that in the summer 2008 and then in 2009 10 that was the winner of the Vancouver Olympics. And so I was gunning for that. And I unfortunately get really bad shined in Beijing and wasn’t able to compete the way I needed to. So I didn’t make the Olympic team.

And as soon as I found that out in the beginning of January it was like I’m done I’m moving across to you and it and I’m ready to start a career and not stress myself out with competing. And it was an interesting time too. You know it’s like this relationship that you’ve had with yourself for and you’re you know competitive spirit for so long all the sudden you’re like oh my gosh what am I doing.

And I guess I knew you know I knew what I wanted to do it was so deep rooted that I came here and the marketing department did give me a job or my dad gave me a job I could say that yeah help them out for the first time for that first winter and then eventually we needed a PR manager and so they put some faith in me and we had a consultant at the time I helped and I worked with her and were in the role of PR in that for a while and now here I am as a vice president. Somehow some way.

So you’ve climbed kind of those ranks you know and that’s been a lot of family business stories are similar in the way that you know you do have you do start your kids or grandkids in some cases or whomever. You know different roles and just let them progress up through the ranks.

I mean I read stories about your brother bussing trays at Okemo and things like that. So like you know you’ve you’ve had your hands dirty in different ways. But last season I guess was that your first full season as the vice president of the.

My brother moved back. Yes he had lived here from 2004 met his wife here had his kids here. And as my parents are getting older they’re you know born in 1950 so do the math. Don’t tell him I said that. But you know they’re not ready to retire anytime soon. I don’t know if they’ll ever fully retire but it’s time for Ethan and I to take on more responsibility and he was a general manager here for a few years and then started taking on more responsive realty with all three mountains. And. And so kind of a natural evolution was for him to go back East.

That’s kind of Okemo is where our headquarters are if we were to really label it a headquarters just because that’s the the base the root of where it all started. And we do have a couple triple peaks is the overarching company name and we do have a few triple peaks employees and they’re all based out of Okemo And so that’s you know for I.T. H.R. and accounting all those systems across the three are streamlined Otherwise each individual resort.

We want to maintain its character and brand and whatnot but so it was kind of a natural evolution that he was going to move back east and.

And so I got to be the lucky one to stay.

But you know it’s pretty important I guess for us as a family run business to have as much presence as we can and each place. You know I think it makes a big impact on your team and your employees to come to work every day just like they do. And you know if we’re busy and lift ups need someone to scan tickets or bus trays and you know some of the first one to be there and. And so just that day to day presence is important. And so like you said I got to be the lucky one to have the data.

You call it what it’s like minus 20 in Ludlow. Like how long did it last so sunny here I came to take a lot of thought.

Actually last year with a big storm that we got in January he was like trying to figure out any possible way because Ethan does come back about a month or week a month I’m sorry. Just to see how things are going and he still does. At the end of the day oversee the general managers. Sure can. So he like trying to figure out how to convince his wife that she needed to have a do a work trip in January last minute work.

But I don’t think she was buying this mission critical. Really fall apart totally. So funny.

That’s that’s amazing.

And but you know the Mountain of course is doing great from everything you read and this town’s doing great. You know depend on your perspective. Yes. And in the industry in general. You know Colorado’s just kind of booming you’re definitely riding a wave. To some degree it’s pretty amazing place to be.

Absolutely. But at the same time like it seems like right when you’re taking on all these new role and new responsibilities is when you guys announced kind of this change in the financial ownership of you know the company like your there is all this you know change from one big investment firm to another and there was this big 14 resort deal was that there wasn’t a challenge. When you first were stepping into that role. Because I know communities are getting tight when ownership changes happen. They want to know things.

But your history with these places and your you know your family history with the town must have been what made the difference as far as communicating with how this deal was going.

And it was it was a lot of communication I think because it is such a confusing deal for people. It’s it was really just getting the message out that nothing would change.

I mean we have a long term lease so to kind of explain it in 2008. Money was getting pretty tight and we as a small family business we didn’t have the banks were tightening up I guess and so for us to have any sort of access to long term capital was getting very challenging. And so my dad and a finance guy that we work with sold all of our assets as a sale leaseback.

So now instead of paying a mortgage quote unquote have to put in simple terms we pay a lease payment to this company or it was the company’s CNL lifestyles. And so as part of CNL and this is the confusing part. And they they had to liquidate their assets in a certain number of years after a certain number of years for their shareholders to stakeholders to get back to them and liquidate all their assets and however they wanted to do it they could either start a new real estate investment trusts or they really ideally wanted to sell the whole portfolio so it was really the whole transaction was at basically like if you put it into simple terms if I owned a mortgage on a house with the bank of the West and Bank of America bought it I would just be writing my mortgage payment to somebody else.

So that that’s really our relationship with CNL. I mean do you know we show them we have to approve capital budgets with them and we show them are operating budgets. But there’s no relationship in the sense of how we operate the resorts and so it wasn’t for a lot of people in the media it was like oh my gosh I crested butte selling or that you know what’s going on. But it really has no change for us. And so it was mostly just the communication of we’re still going to do the best that we can and operate as we always have.

And like you said it’s a long term relationship but it is interesting. If you only read the headlines you would not know what happened. It took me a little digging to really understand like the analogy that that you had trying to reiterate right and I was like oh well that totally makes sense right. It’s just I didn’t find that on the on the headline or in the first sentence but it was right out you know the bottom of the article were not a lot of people get these days by the time they’ve read that far they’re already told.

Just said Crested Butte sold with 14 other 13 other resorts obviously were always in the headline. But in Colorado we were right. So it was interesting. I mean I even had friends texted me like are you moving over right now.

So here you go. Yes.

So there’s been a lot of you know talk about that in town and you know some people I don’t know.

I think at the end of the day you know we’re we’re here in Crested Butte. We’re committed to Crested Butte rumors that we’re selling you know pie kind of because of this happen but now we love this place and we feel fortunate to be a part of the community there.

And it’s I mean it’s clearly an amazing town a lot of the people I’ve had a chance to speak with so far. I like to ask him at the end of course they’re you know kind of favorite place if they get a weekend with the family or and sometimes they mention local things and quite often they just go well. I like going to Crested Butte.

OK. Well what about the town you know so it’s clearly a special place and it’s you know locals favorite for sure. Do you.

I was just sitting down reading last night I was reading kind of one of the local papers when I was eating dinner and I guess there was some you know elections actually coming up in the town.

And so they had all the profiles of you know potential mayors and city council people and everything like that. How do you maintain a you know just like a real solid relationship with the community. I mean you have to align your your growth needs with the town’s growth needs with the towns desires to kind of stay small on one place which you know obviously. Is very difficult to actually happen the words kind of out.

Right. So it’s like I’m I’m not putting the word out. You give this podcast. I exposed how awesome Crested Butte is. Great idea.

So you know how do you like kind of keep that balance with you know the resorts needs the resorts business needs growth kind of needs and the demands from your customers with you know kind of what’s going on in the town. Because I mean even the town itself is growing and I know jobs are provided. There’s all these economic benefits but at the same time you know people who are just like it’s just you know they don’t want change.

They want it to come to Crested Butte and shut the door right now. Nobody else can come in after the road behind you.

Right. It’s interesting and that actually is the main part of my job I’m not as much in the day to day operations. We have a general manager Mike Kratz who has been with us for over 30 years and moved out to Crested Butte in 2005.

So he gets to deal with that stuff and I definitely am more of the community outreach person obviously the face of the mountain. But I would say you know we’re never going to be perfect but I think how in our approach as a family or my approach in general is to be as transparent as possible.

I think we’ve learned that through some hard lessons to be honest especially in this community it’s a lot more critical because it is solely dependent on tourism. This whole valley is I mean yes we have some other industry but it’s very small when you see the percentages. And so you kind of get the big target on your back up here. There have definitely been times when it’s not that fun but at the end of the day you know you run your business with integrity and you know the decisions that you’re making are in the best interest number one in your business.

But also therefore your community because your community is so dependent on you and I’m not saying that we’re perfect or we are you know always have the right answers and we don’t make mistakes but we do stand here with our heads held high knowing that we’re doing the best that we can and we hope that everyone sees that too.

But in terms of the count you know I work with the county quite a bit in economic development and you know community wide staff I do we meet with the town council or the mayors pretty frequently just say hey how are things going. What are you doing. What are we doing. You know just keep those open lines of communication. I think at the end of the day people they can form opinions that may not be based on fact. And so the more you can get the fact out there are the reasons behind your decision. The more people understand. Sure. But like I said we’re not perfect. I’m trying.

I think that’s just that’s life. Right.

There’s a lot of always different interests colliding and the best way is to kind of get together and be open and fair about it as it is to be.

What I hear about the businesses in general so and that’s one of the thing you know I tell everybody and I’ll repeat it here again just in case they’re listening you know. But you know we have an open door policy it’s one of the most frustrating things like if someone has a gripe or a concern and they post a anonymous. Wow anonymously on Facebook or they call the paper or write a letter to the paper to say what’s going on here what why is this happening.

Just call me come in you know like you saw my door was open and I was I was going to have to talk to somebody you get tossed like a duck. So I was by over to say it’s OK. I think what’s going on here. There’s no clear answer here.

No. But you know it’s just it’s kind of people’s nature to not necessarily if it feels uncomfortable they’re not going to come. But I welcome it. I want the opportunity to explain decisions that we make or why we’re you know doing something this way or haven’t dealt with this or you know whatever the concern is or the question maybe it’s not even a concern like I’m pretty approachable or it’s awesome.

So was I just going on what are you excited about for the next. Are there any changes from last year to this year that you’re super excited about with the new season coming in. Or are there some kind of three or five year things that you’re you’re super excited about. Or both.

I’m always excited for the snow to start to fall first foremost first and foremost.

I think I loved to ride my bike and so I’m always a little hesitant to start welcoming winter. But then when it comes it’s like that itch and anticipation that you just can’t shake. It gets pretty exciting so seeing the snow on the peaks is pretty fun. I think you know for this coming winter there’s there are a ton of huge changes I think really what we’re getting excited for is in the future.

I’m kind of putting together right now a five year plan now that the economy has stabilized a little bit. Obviously things are going a lot better for us here in Crested Butte than they have been or than they were after the downturn of the economy. And then Colorado in general they’ve kind of discarded a lot of voters out buying

But anyway so we’re you know putting together that five year plan we are currently in the NEPA process the national bimetal protection act process with the Forest Service for expanding some terrain and Forest Service land so that’s for us that’s pretty exciting. We hopefully will have a draft guess environmental impact statement this winter. So seeing the results of the studies which we know there are many concerns or any concerns but to see that out in public I think will be exciting and and to kind of get some rejuvenating. And you know the excitement about potential expansion and capital investments coming in here will be a pretty fun few years to be a part of.

What was the last what was the last like kind of major expansion has a mountain been in this state for a while.

In terms of the ski terrain terrain.

Yeah we did a few years ago we opened up some more extreme terrain kind of on the back side of the mountain actually very it will be lift accessed with this new expansion once that hopefully does get through the approval process but right now it’s hike out. And so this area called teow too. So we did open that a few years ago it was about 40 acres of more extreme terrain so it wasn’t anything major.

But you know especially for locals who have ski back there may be are you know have wanted to ski back there it was pretty cool and it’s some really neat terrain and different views that you don’t always see from the mountains so that was pretty cool. But other than that our footprint has been pretty much the salmon has been the same really since we got here I guess we added the prospect a lift which really services some slope side homes and stuff on the other side. Back of the mountain.

But the majority think the difference is this. So maybe in the next five years or so you know again pretty exciting because it’s the first maybe a more major. Yes the answer.

Yes and it’s going to be just about 300 acres or skiing and it’s you know intermediate skiing all the way to double lock time. And so it’ll be good for all of our guests that we read.

Pretty neat. That sounds fun. So on a powder day where without you you know you can lie to me you don’t have to give away your stash secret though like favorite runs like favorite area of the hill cache.

That’s a good question.

I pretty much just follow my husband.

He’s lived here for longer than I have. You showed me the way he’s looking thought. No.

How about with the kids when you’re when you’re if you’re with the kids and everything. What’s your kind of best routine area.

Well I don’t have kids and my nieces and nephew that’s OK.

You know it’s been actually fun. My oldest niece is almost 10 and then almost eight in the most three. So it’s been when they did live here up until last year. It’s been fun to see them expand their terrain. You know now instead of just going up the red lady left we’re going up the silver queen and they’re taking me through you know all these little tree skiing areas that you just have no idea even exist you know because for an adult it’s not even on your radar. But they’re you know trash and threw and fallen down and laughing. And it’s it’s quite a joy for me and a powder day. Gosh that’s a great question.

I think you’re always trying to time it with the terrain openings to get there early as well. Where do you go. It’s just how soon you can get there. Everyone’s always like to have a radio you know where patrols going on like now.

No I don’t. For those who don’t get up faster than anybody I have gotten a couple of special runs.

It has been glorious. But you know I think this this mountain has so much to offer in terms of fun terrain there’s really no other place I’d rather be on a powder day and like you said I have skewed a lot of areas. Now that’s probably an that’s a really good question.

We’re always like it’s about time. I mean I think actually probably one of the favorite from like a full experience actually is even just off the queen on the front side either like sunset Ridge or coming down the funnel and then you’re overlooking town you kind of feel like you’re going to ski into the town of Crested Butte or maybe off a cliff into the town of Crested Butte and you’re not. But you just feel like you’re right above and I think that’s a pretty neat sensation. It’s a little bit different.

And then you know on the other side like when you go out to Teo 2 and you’re overlooking absolutely nothing. You know not a single house not of any type of development is just natural national forest or even wilderness. And there’s something special about that. I think also I’d like to take it all in just the past.

What about you know you mentioned them you know the mountain biking around here is just amazing. I mean again I know it’s hard. But if you just had one day to head out on your bike is there any talk.

I’d probably do a Teocalli Ridge. Yeah that’s one of my faves. I get it.

I haven’t done that one. I’ve read about it. I’ve been doing some research and I don’t think I’ve done that one.

Yeah it’s pretty awesome and I have some snow on the ground of an uphill. Don’t get me wrong I like my bike for some of it.

But the downhill is amazing. I think Dr. Park is another top one for me that I could do over and over again and never have a dull day. And then honestly like the most I ride is here out my back window of my office and ride the evolution bike park it’s right there and I can get a quick lunch lap in or you know maybe a four o’clock laugh before I head home and I’m so proud of the trails that we do have here and what our crew has done. And it’s definitely not as trafficked as you know some of the more popular ones but I kind of like that.

You know a lot of times you know your favorite hike is the one on your back door is this the one you get to do right without having to drive it without having to really think too much about it. If you can just you just want to go and escape. Get it out. Absolutely not. You don’t have to plan. You know it right.

The last question I like to ask people on the podcast who would you love to hear on this podcast.

Go to I think well somebody. I’ll say somebody locally because I think she’s an amazing woman and has done a really cool thing with her business. Now she’s starting a new business. But Karen Hoskins from Montanya Distillers. OK she makes rum which is kind of an anomaly. There’s not many rum distillers especially in Colorado. And she’s just fascinating has done a ton of traveling in India and Nepal and has a great outlook and positive person. She’s just beautiful inside and out I guess I’ll talk to her.

That sounds like a great recommendation because I was funny I was walking around town getting dinner again like I mentioned last night. And I walked by there and I was like all distillery I was like rum I can’t think I’ve ever seen it at least again like you mentioned in Colorado. You’re starting to see a lot of distilleries joined the brewery movement.

I definitely don’t think I’ve ever seen a rum one. So now I’m going to put my head in there later tonight and see what that’s all about. They should get a Maharajah. OK.

The recommendation has been noted. Well you know I really appreciate you taking time. It’s been fantastic to come here and visit you on your home turf and get to soak in your office view a little bit. To back and see. I definitely will. And now that I know I know the doors open I’ll all come by and put my head and say hi to her. But thanks again I really appreciate that. Fantastic to meet you. You bet. Bye bye. All right. Thanks.

Thanks for listening I hope you enjoy this conversation with Erika on Colorado.FM – The Colorado Podcast. I really had a lot of fun having the chance to meet her and get out to visit her on her home turf there. Get as always you can find links to any related content in the show notes in this podcast episode and if you enjoyed the episode please subscribe in his pockets on iTunes. Leave review if you have a few moments. If you prefer to get our updates via email or use a podcast service other than iTunes such as ditcher or Android you can learn more and subscribe at Colorado.FM/subscribe.

So thanks again I really hope you enjoyed this podcast episode and will talk to you soon.

 

 


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