The eyes of Texas are on Basalt, like it or not |

The eyes of Texas are on Basalt, like it or not

A woman crosses Midland Avenue in downtown Basalt on Thursday, June 25, 2020. Basalt was declared the best Colorado mountain town by a Texas magazine this week. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)
Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times

Like it or not, Basalt, the eyes of Texas are upon you.

Basalt topped its Roaring Fork Valley neighbors of Aspen, Snowmass Village and Glenwood Springs as well as Steamboat, Vail, Beaver Creek and Breckenridge this week to earn the crown of best Colorado mountain town by a publication for well-heeled Texans called PaperCity Magazine.

The honor comes at a time when many mountain-town residents are sweating the presence of so many visitors from Texas, Florida and Arizona during the height of a pandemic.

Basalt Councilman Bill Infante brought the accolades to the attention of other council members Tuesday night.

“Oh, we’re doomed,” responded Basalt Mayor Bill Kane, tongue in cheek.

Infante joined the fun.

“The good news is we’re number one. The bad news is maybe we may see more visitors from out of town,” he quipped. “But I suppose that could be good for business.”

PaperCity billed its story as, “The Definitive Ranking of Colorado’s Mountain Towns — Summer Edition.”

The article rated the mountain towns starting with the least favorite on a list of eight. Breckenridge was dinged because of “big crowds.”

Snowmass was second to last because it is “galaxies removed” from Aspen’s charm and atmosphere.

Glenwood Springs was No. 4 on the list, gaining high marks for its authentic downtown, complete with restaurant row and nearby tourist attractions.

Then came Beaver Creek, Aspen and, at the top, Basalt.

“Basalt winning best Colorado mountain town over spots like Aspen and Vail may seem like a bigger upset than Rocky over Ivan Drago back in the day,” PaperCity’s article said. “But this town with a population of 4,100 needs to make no apologies. It earns the No. 1 spot with aplomb.”

The fishing is spectacular, the article noted. The hotels and hiking also drew high marks.

But the kicker was “the charming town center” that makes for a perfect mountain town base, the article said. That might sting a little for longtime Basaltines because Willits rather than downtown was recognized as the town center.

“You can walk to a Whole Foods, a half dozen unique restaurants, a few interesting bars, a City Market, a charming bookstore and mountain biking and adventure stores,” PaperCity’s article said.

Willits has arrived.

Crested Butte and Telluride were conspicuously absent from the list despite the fact that they’re crawling with Texans this summer.