Winterfest weekend, which has become a beloved tradition for CC students, has doubled in price this year for the same two days of spring skiing and two nights of celebration in Crested Butte.
Every year, CC students eagerly anticipate the first weekend of Block 7 to ski in outrageous outfits all day and spend the nights in mountainside condos with their best friends. Three years ago, the cost for the skiing and condos and bussing was $90. Since then, it has gradually increased until this year with a price of $190.
The increase in price for this year’s Winterfest is a preventative measure on the part of Outdoor Education and the Business Office to ensure that the FUCC club does not end the year in debt, especially after last year’s deficit of $10,000. Outdoor Education is essentially an advisory for FUCC, meaning that they help FUCC plan and execute events. Ryan Hammes, Director of Outdoor Education, and Tricia Chan, Assistant Director of Outdoor Education, have met with FUCC numerous times throughout the year to be sure that the club is on track with their expenditures.
“The student leaders have been very respectful and responsible this year and want to end the year with a positive balance in their account which has been an issue for the last ten years,” Hammes said.
FUCC events, such as Rail Jam, are expensive. This year’s Rail Jam cost $8,000, a figure much higher than prior years. Although the cost of Winterfest is not a direct result of other FUCC events, those costs put the club at a greater risk for ending the year in debt. Taylor Rastello, co-president of FUCC with Alex Spectorsky, explain that Winterfest is a separate budget from the weekend ski buses and Rail Jam. The cost of Winterfest is covered through the school and the students. Unfortunately, the price of lift tickets for this year have also increased, which contributed to the increase in Winterfest.
“The bit of a price hike this year reflects FUCC and our efforts to be good stewards of the club’s funding,“ Chan said, “Unfortunately it seems that the price is limiting to students and their ability to be at Winterfest, and we’d love more than anything to be able to provide Winterfest at a consistently low price, but our hands are tied with limited funding.”
CCSGA gave FUCC additional funding this year to help cover the cost of Rail Jam, but they decided not to give more money for Winterfest. Initially, Winterfest was predicted to cost $250 per student, but FUCC was successful in negotiating with Outdoor Education and lowering the price by $60.
“It is important for all clubs, including FUCC, to manage their club accounts responsibly, which is what Outdoor Ed is helping to accomplish,” Hammes said, “Thus far I am very impressed with the FUCC leadership. We hope that events like Rail Jam and Winterfest will continue to be a part of the CC experience.”
This year, Crested Butte offered CC 526 spots in condos, which is fewer than the 600 spots that they were offered last year. Even with the fewer spaces this year, there are still about 100 spots that have not yet been claimed. Upperclassmen who have previously experienced the crazy stakeouts at dawn to be the first in line for signups can concur that this year’s signups were relatively tame. Typically, the signups last one day and are completely sold out within a few hours. This year, the reservations were still not filled three days later. The condos that remain unsold will be released back to Crested Butte for them to resell.
Apart from not destroying property, chandeliers, or stealing local buses, there is not much that students can do to keep costs low in the future. In attempts to keep the price as low as possible, the FUCC co-presidents negotiated at length with Outdoor Education, and compromised to drop the cost after hearing feedback form students.
Last year’s Winterfest introduced a number of new expenses including a shuttle bus within town to run after hours, a damage deposit with the mountain lodging, buses to and from CC, and lift tickets. Lift tickets were not included in the initial contract with the mountain, but they were added on at the last minute.
“To the students who blame FUCC for the increase,” Rastello said, “I would tell them that it is easy to apply blame when they don’t understand the situation or limitations the FUCC has to deal with. I would also want to assure them that we did everything we could to make it as low as we possibly could, so that any student who wanted to go, could. In addition, I would like to thank all the students with their unwavering support of Winterfest this year despite the increase in cost. This incredible, uniquely CC event will continue to be a tradition as long as it snows in Colorado.”
This year, lift tickets are included in the contract along with five rooms for CC staff, since having CC staff present is part of the contract. “Essentially the price of Winterfest in the past has not been an accurate representation of the actual cost of the event,” Hammes said. “So this year we have adjusted the price to reflect that.”
“The new [Outdoor Education] administration wants to preemptively eliminate the costs of damages by charging more in advance and trying to break even,” Rastello said. “In addition, previous management of the FUCC incurred tons of superfluous costs, which finally broke the school into micro-managing FUCC’s budget and agenda this year.”