Britta Gustafson: Do it once and do it right with the Snowmass entrance

"We thrive when we plan in advance to do it once and do it right."

Britta Gustafson
Then Again
Britta Gustafson for the Snowmass Sun

There is something winsome and captivating about rounding that final bend off of the rustic, rural Brush Creek Road to find the town of Snowmass Village nestled so harmoniously into this mountainous valley. 

With Mount Daly as our signature backdrop, and a rich natural centerpiece, with the rolling golf course and homes tucked throughout the hillsides, the charm of this mountain town has managed to remain quite inviting. And many of us recognize that our entryway must match in pitch and tone. 

As a nod to our agriculture and ranching roots, as well as our Western heritage, which preceded our ski resort development, it seems appropriate that just beyond the preserved wetlands space, our rodeo grounds are inviting and memorable and certainly in character. The nature of our “gateway” is, in essence, our first impression, the physical location that underscores our identity. And it should be valued as such. 

Over the years the town has worked hard to maintain the rural character of the Brush Creek Valley all the way down to Highway 82, thus ensuring that magical sense of detachment from the rest of the world and arrival into our special mountain town.

Improvements to this space have been part of the conversation for decades; after all it is where we set the scene, make or break that initial striking moment. How we approach it will help define us moving forward. 

As we consider improvements, will we continue to celebrate our established philosophy of “just big enough”? We owe it to ourselves to be mindful in creating shared multifunctional spaces that support our interests and do it in the “world class” way in which we know we are capable. 

The approach, both physical and visionary, is an opportunity to inspire a renewed effort to implement quality improvements. This is a space where we can finally do it right the first time and save us all the headaches, heartaches, failures and of course the money needed to plan in advance for a do-over. 

Local government services are inherently meaningful because their work relates to building and improving our community in form, function and philosophy. 

The least progressive approach seems to be when an elected or appointed group begins to dig their heels in on any issue without full, flexible consideration, or with vested interests. 

As a community we want to have faith in our leaders, as they prove that they can establish a foundation of trust by showing us that they are thorough, aware, and practical. And we expect that they will have the ability to actually listen to the wants and needs of our community members who have reaffirmed several times that the space is an incredible asset and beloved location.

Haste to accomplish “something” and rushing things has historically led us into spirals of mistakes and poor results. It’s true that the impending updates to our entryway have been under consideration for many years; however, our community and those most directly affected often start to chime in once the vision begins to feel imminent. When plans are in place and the hypothetical starts to feel possible, the impact of particular details comes under the microscope of scrutiny.  

A sign marks the entrance to Town Park off of Brush Creek Road in Snowmass Village, a major part of the “entrance to Snowmass” scenery.
Kaya Williams/The Snowmass Sun

This is your moment when the truly competent diplomats who want the best for our community and intend to make decisions with integrity will shine. 

Do it once and do it right. That’s what we expect from our officials who have been engaged in planning this space for decades.

Irresolute attempts to accomplish appeasement don’t do justice to us and to our resort community. We can always do better, with collective input and ego-free aspirations. 

And as always, it is our responsibility at this moment to consider the impact of today’s decisions on tomorrow’s landscape and future community needs. We thrive when we plan in advance to do it once and do it right.

Let’s exchange a piece of my mind for a little peace of mind; after all, if we always agree what will we talk about? Britta Gustafson appreciates an open mind; share yours and email her at