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(Crested Butte) In keeping with a pledge to save paper and aluminum, Crested Butte Ski Mountain will replace the traditional lift ticket with a tattoo next year. According to a marketing source in Vail, the actual substitution will come in the form a tattoo to the forearm or in some cases to the forehead.

People who buy a Gold Pass will receive a gold tattoo designed to last through the April closing date. This tattoo will allow them to board lifts on any date during the season. Persons purchasing a Silver Pass will likewise receive a silver tattoo that slightly limits access to the mountain. TheBronzePasswillbereplacedbyabronzetattoo,inkeepingwithantebellum uniformity established in the first years of the operation.

Single and multiple day skiers will receive a temporary tattoo on the arm or leg when they arrive to ski. Designs likely to be popular include the ever-popular “Mom”, the multi-colored butterfly, “Hell’s Angels-Frisco” or various military insignias.

“There are no plans to tattoo derrières at this time although we have had a lot of requests to do just that,” continued the Eagle County source. “A lot of the ladies from Oklahoma would love to show the neighbors.

“Once again CB stands alone as the prototype of skiing in the 21st Century. Just wait until Aspen and Park City find out what we’re up to.

Although sources here admit that things could get chaotic at first, they feel the new system has many merits. Beginning in June, several hundred tattoo artists from 17 states and 12 foreign countries will attend a week of seminars aimed a facilitating the move. Then, in July lift operators will undergo two weeks of concentrated instruction on the ancient art of tattooing. They will then prick and ingrain their co-workers with gold tattoos just for fun.

By August all employees will be tattooed and the slope faithful will be scheduled, not for pass photos, but for seasonal tattoos of their own. Even the drunks that hang out all day in the lift area bars will get tattooed. It’s that or they don’t get happy hour prices.

“We are certain the idea will fly,” said the source. “The tattoos will no doubt become status symbols and if the snow is scarce, one can still show off his or her design in the bars or on some faraway Caribbean beach.

-Dude Skuldiver

“If I am a little over-dressed, I make up for it by being immensely over-educated.”

– Oscar Wilde

Snow shovelers’ union weighs options

(Crested Butte) The local Brotherhood of Snow Removal Engineers will vote tonight on whether or not to support a wildcat strike that has already taken a heavy toll in ski resorts all over the West.

The 400-strong membership is upset by “intense seasonal demand and heartless lay-offs” that generally occur by mid-April. The local chapter is particularly affected by late season storms high up in the mountains that may not reach town. According to contracts, workers must be on full alert yet may never see a dime in pay.

Union leaders insist that members are at a distinct negotiation disadvantage after things start to melt. They compare the position to an emaciated snowman pleading for action on global warming while everyone knows he will not be here in the balmy dawn.

“They sweet talk us all winter but then when the weather changes we are discarded like long underwear and tire chains,” said one snow shoveler from the roof of Outquack Condos at Mt Crested Butte. “We have to eat all year too. It’s not fair to squash the existing social strata just because the snow has stopped.”

Management sources all over Colorado say they cannot afford to employ the snow engineers when there is no snow. They add that expensive plows and blowers require summer maintenance and that the core of veteran snow workers is kept on throughout most of the year.

“We think that is quite gracious of us,” said Ed Vail, operations manager at Aspen. “By very definition these snow monkeys have put themselves out of a job when the weather breaks. “If the rich weren’t here to provide employment for the poor we’d all be communist,” he said.

The Eastern arm of the BSRE, favoring frozen wages rather than a walkout, will not follow suit leaving sidewalks clear and roofs de-iced until a viable arrangement can be concluded.

“Things are quite different back east,” said a union spokesman. “Snow removal personnel there have other options such as farming and manufacturing. We have no factories and our growing season is about two weeks,” he calculated.

In addition, Rocky Mountain champagne snow must be handled carefully so as not to blow the cork and bruise the contents. It is easily damaged and cannot be thrown around indiscriminately. Workers here are highly skilled and depletion in the ranks is a constant threat. Snow removal workers from all over the world are in solidarity with the local Colorado unions. Some have threatened not to handle any snow originating from the United States until management comes around.

“All we want is justice for our workers, a half hour for lunch, accident insurance and our self esteem,” said a Swiss counterpart from Geneva. We want an end to icy ladders and equipment vouchers. We want our place in the sun. We will not stand still for piss tests anymore! “Pee for fun not under the gun,” he smiled.

Meanwhile police have arrested five people in connection with an alleged plot to burn down all the snow in the county as an act of defiance against someone or something.

          – Frosty Mirth

Things not to do while visiting Western Colorado this winter

Welcome visitors. Ski season is peaking out. Here are a few tips on how to get along better with the residents without surrendering impulsivity, dollars or your great sense of humor.

Never order the moose steak. These animals have just recently joined our Rocky Mountain fauna guest list and it would be rude. Try the beef or trout but if you must have wild game tell your waiter to bring you a rack of antelope ribs. We are closing out these flimsy mammals to make room for new merchandise this spring.

Don’t talk about “climate catastrophe” in public. It offends the sleepwalkers. It is also a good idea not to discuss anything that might force these people to think. Leave politics for the bar flies and bench philosophers.

Do not talk about Tommy knockers, cave spirits, Jackalopes, hidden gold or haunted mine shafts. It is a sensitive subject with most of us and does not concern you. Better to talk about the weather, sports or what you’re having for breakfast tomorrow with your green chilies.

Don’t dress up like a cowboy unless you have a horse in tow. If someone challenges you to a gunfight go to your hotel and wait there until the smoke clears. Oversize belt buckles can get you in real trouble if you get too close to the magnetic pull of the Continental Divide.

Cozy up to an ATM machine upon arrival. Always take out the highest amount allowable. It could snow and close the banks. Be sure to locate a pharmacy if you need prescription drugs. With the legalization on marijuana they are soon to be a thing of the past.

Never bitch about the roads. We know they’re bad and we also know about priorities, corruption and the difficulty transporting asphalt over the Great Divide. The roads are better on the Front Range because that’s where the money resides.

When entering a marijuana dispensary be cool and keep it simple. When leaving, don’t linger. Don’t smoke in the car or on the pavement. Pot may be legal but there are regulations and common sense restrictions. Try the cantaloupe stew or the pinto bean poppers when traveling to the pot store. Crime has dropped significantly since using marijuana is no longer a crime.

Don’t approach celebrities. Give them their space and their privacy. That includes self-made celebrities and those who think they are of that cloth. Never listen to the advice of a newcomer. They are just tourists with local post office boxes.

Never say anything like “Well, you can’t eat the scenery” or “Why are there all those deer on the highway at night?” Instead say: “Pass the jalapeños, Roy.”

Be nice, genuinely nice. We have all seen tourists trying to be cool. It’s ugly. Nice will get you everything you need. Relax and enjoy. You could even lie and tell locals how much you enjoy watching CU football. Coloradans are among the happiest people on the continent. Don’t rock the stage coach.

If you’re going for a drink go to the noisy bar not the fern bar. There are 20 rivers whose headwaters begin in Colorado. That makes us very thirsty. Purchase rounds whenever given the chance. Happy hours are worth it and should relive the pressure on the imbiber’s wallet.

Never forget your coat. Just because it’s 50 degrees at 3 o’clock doesn’t mean it will stay at that level. Once outside the bar the outstanding microbrews won’t keep you warm for long.

The sun and altitude won’t hurt you unless you are abusive. Drink lots of water and hold off on the booze for 24 hours after your elevation shift. Wear sunscreen but leave the fur boots and doggie sweaters at home.

Do not wear shirts and caps that say Texas or Oklahoma on them. Most people already know where you came from by the way you speak and do not need constant reminders.

Don’t pet dogs in back of pickups unless you are intimate with the dog.

Always return waves from other motorists on back roads. Take dirt roads over highways and forget the classic four-wheel-drive passes until at least mid-June.

Don’t tailgate. Yes, we know we are throwbacks with one-lane roads everywhere. Honor all stop signs since we can’t afford proper traffic lights. Your SUV is not bulletproof. Don’t drink and drive.

Never preface a sentence with “Back in (Moline) where I come from we…” Remember that one third of the state is owned and managed by the Feds. If someone asks your opinion on that just order more green chilies and a Coors.

Remember: The actions of these hick cops will stand up in court when you get back to civilization.

Summer will return say meteorologists

No matter what it feels like in February, summer will make its’ annual descent on the Rockies starting May 25 this year. On that day the temperature will reach 83 degrees at about 2:17 in the afternoon. The popular season is expected to stick around until October 16 accentuated by the repeated dustings of snow in the high country.

“Our Dirt Smells Even Better Under Eight Feet of Snow”

Crested Butte Soil Quality- Phase Two

Acknowledging that it would be next to impossible to prove that the scent of the earth’s crust is superior in Crested Butte, advocates of this phenomenon say it may help explain the unbridled popularity of the town with second homeowners.

(Gothic) Last summer a popular mountain biking promotional claimed that the dirt in Crested Butte smelled better than other dirt found elsewhere. The tongue-in-cheek announcement created a few laughs and shed some positive light on the sense of humor within the community.

Does Crested Butte dirt smell better even under all the snow?

Despite the fact that other locales expressed cynicism and that an accepted measure for determining dirt aroma is not available, the originators of this olfactive declaration are standing fast on stunning dirt fragrances.

“We’re on board with great smelling dirt under the snow,” said one copywriter involved in the original statement. “It just makes sense.”

“If I was going to drop $500,000 on a house I only used for two months per year I’d damn sure want to know the dirt smelled better than in Vail or Aspen,” said one local jokester.

-Small Mouth Bess

Marmots growing much larger, exhibiting taste for meat

Suddenly carnivorous, once vegetarian marmots are growing larger than ever before. To compensate for the bizarre growth these hungry animals may need more than seed and insects. Traditionally leaf-blossom and legume eating, these grand marmots often engage in frightening jungle behavior.

Yellow-bellied marmot in natural habitat on Red Mountain Pass. Growth spurts over the past years have resulted in a giant species much to the confusion of scientists and the chagrin of those on  the lower food chain.

They were once seen as cute and harmless, insignificant in a world of fast cars and even faster landslides. They were those meaningless herbivores, although they never really warmed to the name. The razor-sharp bicuspids would attest to a very different agenda.

Things may be very different soon.

Alpine biologists say it’s some more of that climate change business up high. More time to eat, less to sleep due to weather. Fur trappers, who pepper these hits in search of prey say the animals have always harbored vile resentment but until recently were too little to eat people.

“My partner Jeb got caught out alone in Bostwick Park when three or four of the marmots surrounded him. Fortunately Jeb distracts them with mirrors and trinkets then made his escape down the south wall of the Black Canyon.”

“He was never so happy to see the bright lights of Cimarron,” exhaled the trapper.

Civic leaders are calling for military action in the face of the burgeoning threat. They say they are at risk of being overrun in many of the more remote villages in the Rockies. Many have already called in airstrikes on their positions which they called insecure and tempting to the resurgent ravished rodents.

Already other predators like fox, coyote and deer have recorded incidents of bullying, hole (claim) jumping and seizure of foodstuffs to verify their claims.

The once cute, docile whistle pigs were wonderful neighbors who kept to themselves, scampering about among the boulders, the wildflowers, the scree and the tundra. They have had their day in the sun. Now they want their day in the sun, get it?

And they probably don’t like people talking or writing about them while they are hibernating either. In that light we will surrender the pen and bow out of the conversation gracefully with this above warning.

Scientists fear that when the rodents reach about 200 pounds the food chain will detour drastically leaving even urban residents at risk of vicious confrontations in their homes or on the street.

-Atila Diggins

(Continued on Hard News)