If you love Crested Butte the way I do and are in the constant search for powder and a different way of life you may want to order this book. Sounds like a great read.
Corey Dwan – REALTOR
Benson Sotheby’s International Realty
P.O. Box 210
433 Sixth Street
Crested Butte, CO 81224
970-325-3219 World Wide Cell
Off the Shelf: In Search of Powder by Jeremy Evans
Read the beginning of Chapter 1, “Shangri-la” from one of our featured gift books, In Search of Powder: A Story of America’s Disappearing Ski Bum by Jeremy Evans, Foreword by Glen Plake:
“Shangri-la, as described by James Hilton in Lost Horizon, is a place where the mind, body, and soul is at peace, where sparkling emerald grasses spray across a mountain valley broken by tumbling waterfalls, where the people who inhabit this utopia are as virtuous as the essence of its existence. For decades this refuge, rumored to be in a secret region of Tibet, has baffled those who have sought its coordinates, but the fortunate who have found it never needed a map to locate it. In 1973, an impressionable college student named Johnny Davis, escaping a disjointed childhood in Kona, Hawaii, stumbled upon his Shangri-la.
It began on a sunny September day in the Colorado Rockies inside a yellow International Scout being steered by Spencer Weaver, another Hawaiian. Johnny’s skis—his most valuable possession—rattled as they pressed against one of the windows. Bruce Albon, a blond, blue-eyed Minnesotan, and his roommate Johnny Bright were also along for the ride. The wide-eyed American boys were headed toward Montezuma Basin, a large swath of year-round snow that spills down the north face of Castle Peak.Gunnison and Western State College, where they all lived and occasionally attended classes, were being replaced in the rearview mirror by matchsticks of aspens splattered against hillsides rising above the Slate River. Colder nights had caused the leaves to start changing, turning the river canyon into a bucket of gold. The curves along Colorado State Highway 135 were quickly piling up, and each time the road bent into a new direction Johnny felt something special was awaiting him. Then after one final upward swoosh, just past the hamlet of Almont, a sight he never thought imaginable splayed beyond the windshield.As the Scout entered a high mountain valley, Johnny and his dim green eyes were fixated on the hulking shoulder of 12,162-foot Mount Crested Butte. Piano keys of higher peaks rippled on the horizon, forming one arm of a suspended 13,000-foot horseshoe that flanked the valley. Wild horses galloped in fields that pushed up against the abrupt rise of the Elk Range. At the horseshoe’s handle were homes with tin rooftops, shimmering in the distance.“I didn’t even know a town like that existed,” says Johnny. “Crested Butte is a jewel in the back of a hidden valley. But there is some forbidden fruit in the back of that valley, too. If you bite off too much of it, you could lose sight of some of the other things a man ought to see in his life. In some ways, though, I missed the true grandeur of it because all I could think about was skiing on the new pair of skis I bought for fifty bucks at the ski swap. So we went skiing in Montezuma Basin, then we hiked into Aspen and got drunk for two days.”
Johnny is vividly recalling all this thirty-one years later in a Portland coffee shop, a tremendous recollection, really. His fists are clenched around a glass of water, and his grip is so intense that ice cubes slosh against the sides of the glass, causing a soft clinking sound during a pause in our conversation. “So you want to hear a story about a ski bum?” As his chin dips slightly toward the table, he grabs the glass of water and takes a sip. He sets the glass down, looks up, stares at a blank vanilla wall and says, proudly, “Well, I got a story about a ski bum.””
Jeremy Evans is a former daily newspaper reporter whose eight-year journalism career garnered numerous writing awards for his outdoor and sports writing. He is currently a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Powder and Skiing magazines. Glen Plake is an iconic figure in American freestyle skiing and extreme sports.