A flash in the dark, then thunder at 11,000 feet. It was predawn on a snowy winter day at Crested Butte Mountain Resort, where ski patrollers wield explosives to assess the snowpack before the chairlifts open up.
Thus starts my story in today’s (Friday, Feb.6) New York Times — “Working Away in Crested Butte” — which looks not at the resort’s extreme skiing but at a group of professionals who have eluded the traditional constraints of geography to foster white-collar careers essentially based in the wilderness.
Yes, a tinge off-subject from my usual adventure travel work for the Times. But this was an interesting story nonetheless. It was eye opening to meet people like Benn Dunn, 35, a risk-management consultant who came to Crested Butte on a ski vacation three years ago. He moved back permanently a couple of months later. Dunn came from Canton, Conn., where he was burdened with daily commutes to Hartford or Manhattan. “I felt like I was spending my life in a car.”
Now Dunn, who is married and has two young children, bikes five blocks to work. He skis in the backcountry above Crested Butte several weekday mornings, climbing mountains to find untracked snow and taking calls and e-mail, sometimes surreptitiously, on a BlackBerry from offices back East. “They don’t always need to know where I am,” he said.
The Crested Butte area, an alpine valley home to fewer than 3,000 people, is certainly not alone in this trend, but it offers a revealing window into the phenomenon of telecommuting from a community formerly cut off from the world.
Read on to see more on Dunn and the other lucky Crested Butte characters who live, play — and work — in one of the most beautiful alpine settings in America. Click to: “Working Away in Crested Butte”