Although Western is a far journey from most students’ homes, the tight-knit communities of Crested Butte and Gunnison make it a harder place to leave than to arrive in.
Crested Butte is a historic mountain town located an easy 30 miles north of Western State Colorado University on Highway 135. Attractions around Gunnison such as Hartman Rocks, Blue Mesa Reservoir and the Gunnison River Whitewater Park already make it a recreational Mecca. By adding Crested Butte and the surrounding backcountry to Western’s list of outdoor offerings, students have unlimited opportunity for adventure.
After students fulfill their on-campus living requirements, many find housing in Crested Butte after realizing they spend more time commuting there than they would to Gunnison.
“After two years of living in Gunnison and three seasons in a row of commuting to Crested Butte for work I decided to give living in CB a shot,” said Evan Marcus, a senior.
“Whether you are trying to take in the culture or trying to disappear into the woods for a few hours, the options are right at your door [in Crested Butte],” Marcus added.
Crested Butte and Gunnison are now more integrated than ever with the recent addition of free RTA busses that run to and from multiple stops in each town 17 times per day. RTA’s service serves as a key enabler for students to venture off campus and commute to work.
Both towns provide for each other by sharing essential services and functions. Crested Butte offers world class skiing, mountain biking and supports the valley through a thriving tourism economy. Gunnison has the valley’s hospital and airport—in addition to Western and its own world-class recreational areas.
Every student will spend time in Crested Butte for many reasons, whether to ski at Mt. Crested Butte, mountain bike on some of the 400 miles of singletrack, go shopping at many of the unique stores or to take a significant other on a special date, just to name a few.
Senior Louissa Rozenaal is one of many students who have fallen in love with Crested Butte, Gunnison and everything in between during their time at Western.
“I can’t really picture living anywhere else right now … there’s a big piece of my heart and soul in this valley,” she said.
Story by Peter Noon
Photos by Jeremy Wallace