Blumenthal: Part-timers’ board prevents conflicts | AspenTimes.com

Blumenthal: Part-timers’ board prevents conflicts

Mel Blumenthal
Second View

Mel Blumenthal

A few weeks ago, a couple of local buddies and I headed over to Crested Butte to hike the Devil's Punch Bowl followed by fish tacos at The Last Steep and designer coffee at Camp 4, where I purchased a new baseball cap for my collection emblazoned with its local rallying cry, "Coffee, It Makes You Poop."

For those who've never visited Crested Butte, I highly recommend the trip, particularly during the summer. It's a very different town from Snowmass and Aspen in all ways, with the possible exception that we all have ski lifts running to the top of our respective mountains. It's a vibrant environment with lots of funky and historic architecture, which some also say aptly describes its resident population.

There's also a very rich and active cultural scene in and around the town, which will soon include an exceptional, state-of-the-art, multipurpose performing-arts center currently under construction in Mount Crested Butte. What a great amenity that would be for Snowmass if we could just similarly direct our creative juices and economic resources as the wise leaders and supporters of Mount Crested Butte have done.

Always on the alert for a bit of unrest among the natives, I came across a recent controversy reported in the Crested Butte News involving, believe it or not, a kerfuffle between a full-time and part-time resident, which apparently opened long-simmering wounds that are not unfamiliar to the natives and part-timers in Snowmass Village.

According to the jungle drums, a very active Crested Butte full-time resident and volunteer said something offensive to a longtime, well-endowed part-time resident who got his hackles up. So he spent some of his hard-earned dollars and bought an ad in the local paper relaying his story involving the rude and offensive behavior of the volunteer directed toward a friend of his and the friend's wife, also part-time residents, who successfully bid $9,000 on an auction item that was part of the festivities at a local music-festival charity gala. The volunteer approached the bidder, and rather than thank him for his generous contribution, she said, "I hope you can afford it."

This contretemps apparently unleashed long-simmering antagonisms, leading him to state that part-timers are "fools to fiscally support (their) valley in the face of the disdain and lack of appreciation from those who receive most of the value (the full-time residents). We pay taxes that support your schools, we patronize the local businesses which provide jobs that generate more taxes, and we contribute to (local charities such as the gala)."

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At the end of all this, he asks, "Wherein the problem lies?" and then answers his own question with "The problem is you!" He then sums it all up by stating, "The community doesn't deserve his friend's money, his money or any other part-timer's money."

This us-versus-them attitude was taken as fighting words by the natives and generated lots of editorial space and letters to the editor.

Fortunately for us in Snowmass, about six or seven years ago our elected leaders foresaw the likely probability of similar conflicts between full- and part-time residents and established the Part-Time Residents Advisory Board, whose mission is to keep communication flowing between our town leaders and part-time residents in order to proactively identify and address potential conflicts that otherwise would fester and similarly cause angst and conflict between both resident groups.

A reminder to all our part-time residents: If you have a community issue that needs airing and resolution, bring it to the attention of the town's Part-Time Resident Advisory Board before it turns into a similar messy us-versus-them conflict.

Last week on another backcountry adventure, three buddies and I headed up to the top of Vail Pass for a three-day hut trip at the Shrine Mountain Inn, Walter's Up cabin to be precise, with a brief shopping excursion along the way in Red Cliff at the Green Bridge Provisions & Liquor Store on the bottom floor of the Green Bridge Inn, "Gateway to the Real Colorado."

Although as always I was on alert for a bit more sturm und drang to fill out this week's column, none emerged with the possible exception of the few essentials I forgot to bring along and the critical stares from my buddies due to several furtive iPhone email checks since surprisingly there was cell service at this high-altitude location.

Those minor bits of angst aside, I strongly recommend a summer bonding experience in the backcountry. The 10th Mountain Hut System affords a vast variety of accommodations and adventure levels for both novices and experienced trekkers. By the way, the wildflowers and mushrooms (for those who know what is and is not edible) are still in profusion and breathtaking in this high-altitude location.

I'm always open to your comments at secondview@earthlink.net.

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