Mountain Love

March 6th, 2008 by Doug Schnitzspahn

MGcoverSkiPress editor and talented writer Peter Kray took over the editor position at Mountain Gazette this year and he has been hard at work updating the magazine to reflect the changes in mountain-town culture. I don’t envy him the job. The Gazette has long been a bastion of free-thinking, non-consumer mountain town authenticity and former editor M. John Fayhee, who is still contributing as editor-at-large, infused the Gazette with a swaggering, Beat-inspired sensibility that gave the publication credence with mountain-town curmudgeons. But the truth is that mountain towns have irrevocably changed over the past decade. Those crunchy, isolated escapes where soul-seekers went to live off their own elk meat and backcountry ski all winter continue to transform into expensive real estate inhabited by retirees, trust-funders, and core outdoor sport junkies (66% of the homes in Summit County, Colorado, are second homes). Those cultural shifts are an inescapable dynamic of the mountain town experience now, and Kray has made changes that he thinks will make the mag more relevant, incorporating both the classic mountain town freaks and the new blood. So it’s no surprise that Kray, a Colorado native and thoughtful writer who is as “authentic” as they come, has been inundated with letters accusing him of sucking the soul out of the publication—the letter writers have taken the most umbrage with the new real estate column, which is supposed to highlight property that dirtbags could actually afford. I have been lucky enough to work with Kray over the past few months, writing a “deep winter” gear piece, a February cover story on “mountain love” that examines how difficult it is to maintain relationships in mountain towns where the communities themselves are so transitory, an interview with Black Diamond’s Peter Metcalf, and an upcoming piece on the lost art of sharpening a cross-cut saw. And… I have been assigned one of the dreaded real estate columns.

Comments are closed.