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Crested Butte, Colorado

PO Box 990
Crested Butte, CO 81224
Tel: 888-349-6184

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The Innkeepers

Sandy and Michael

Sandy Fails and Michael Garren moved to Crested Butte from Austin, Texas, as wide-eyed young adventurers in 1981. Since then, we’ve worn many hats in this amazing place, but innkeeping ranks among our favorite roles.

Sandy is a writer and editor (formerly of the newspaper, now of the Crested Butte Magazine). She wrote three local books, including Crested Butte: The Edge of Paradise and Where the Road Ends, and now plays with fiction with members of her local writers group. She’s a long-time fan of hiking, skiing and hanging out in the mountains. Her black-diamond skiing days have given way to mellow Nordic excursions with friends and Luke the dog, plus occasional forays to the ski slopes to watch son Chris jump off of large natural objects.

Through the ’80s, Michael worked at the ski resort in several capacities, from retail to accounting to running the owners’ private retreat in the mountains. Then, for five years, we co-owned the local newspaper, the Chronicle & Pilot, with Michael as publisher and finance guy. His climbing and mountaineering days are in the past, but he is still an avid road bicyclist, Alpine skier, Nordic skier and scuba diver. After thirty winters in Crested Butte, Michael has been transitioning toward warmer adventures. Not surprisingly, his latest passion is sailing. He has two sailboats, one on a lake near Crested Butte and another in San Carlos on the Sea of Cortez. He's also a closet musician who studies jazz harmony and scales and improvises beautifully evocative music hidden away with his keyboard.

Like most long-time locals, we’ve volunteered for a host of non-profits. Sandy is president of the Crested Butte Friends of the Library and volunteers for Hospice and Palliative Care of the Gunnison Valley. In the 1990s we helped start the Crested Butte-El Salvador Friendship Committee, which supports Crested Butte’s sister village, Izotalillo. (We occasionally serve coffee grown in Izotalillo and brought back from our visits there.)

Our multi-faceted front desk staff

Here’s a quick introduction to the diverse and talented people who'll greet you at the Old Town Inn:

Erika Fitzgerald
Erika has more happy energy than six children at Christmas. At the tender age of 19, Erika moved to Crested Butte from Bethlehem, New Hampshire. She fell in love with the town, the people, the mountain and then John Taggart, the man she ended up marrying. Now 28, Erika can’t imagine calling anywhere else home. She loves to play outside year-round (watch out if you try to follow her on the ski slopes!) but is just as happy indoors crafting away. Papier mache is her newest hobby, but if there are art supplies involved, she’d probably love it. During Crested Butte celebrations like Mardi Gras and July 4th, you might also catch Erika downtown playing with fire, dancing and twirling her flaming batons in the ancient art of poi. Also, ask Erika about her new custom piñata business!

Chris Garren
Chris graduated from the University of Denver in June ’09 and has since conducted advanced studies in adventuring. Shortly after graduating, he and Eli bicycled 4,300 miles cross-country (Washington to Maine), camping along the way. In between front-desk stints at the Old Town Inn (where he implemented our reservation system), he climbed the Moose’s Tooth in Alaska, completed a half-Ironman triathlon and then traveled throughout Southeast Asia and Nepal. This spring Chris spent a couple of months working and discovering at Finca Bellavista, a sustainable treehouse community in Costa Rica. Since he grew up in Crested Butte, Chris can give you the inside scoop on local climbing spots, swimming holes, pizza joints and ski stashes.

Drew Holbrook
If you want to know about these mountains, ask native son Drew Holbrook. He grew up playing in them, winter and summer. After high school, Drew skied on the varsity Nordic team at the University of Vermont, where he graduated with a degree in economics and minor in ecological economics. While living in Argentina and Chile for two years, Drew worked at Ski Portillo as a receptionist and then ski instructor and at Eco Camp in Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia. Now back in his home haunts, Drew balances playtime with his work in the hospitality realm. Good-hearted and low-key (except when he’s flying down something on his telemark skis or mountain bike), Drew also mixes a wicked-good cocktail as bartender next door at Le Bosquet.

Tyler McIntyre
Raised in the Midwest, Tyler discovered Crested Butte after he came west to attend college in Denver. Though he left the state to finish his accounting degree (and certificate in international business studies) at Arizona State University, he hightailed it back to Crested Butte after graduating in December 2010. Formerly a soccer star, Tyler also loves to surf, rock climb, travel and boogie down. Gregarious Tyler also enjoys thinking and reading; stop by the front desk for some good conversation while he’s working. With Chris, Tyler worked for two months at Finca Bellavista in Costa Rica and explored Central America.

Eli Becker
Eli is an exuberant young man, who has a zest for all that life has to offer.  He is originally from the great city of Chicago but now calls Crested Butte home. He has also lived in Denver, Philadelphia, and Florence, Italy.  He received his bachelors’ degree from the University of Denver in Photography. He has spent time traveling and taking pictures all over the globe including: an epic cross country bicycle ride with Chris Garren, and his most recent journey to Nepal and India.  Eli plans on attending the massage school in Crested Butte to gain skills in the healing arts, while continuing to work at the Old Town Inn for the foreseeable future.

Our recent alumni, in case you’d like to keep up with them:

Marilyn Mears, who worked for the Old Town Inn for many years, left last fall to pursue other interests, but she’s still spreading hugs and laughter around Crested Butte and Gunnison.

Mark Abramson, long-time night manager of the hotel and the master of Sabio the elderdog and Mackenzie the sweetheart wolf-dog, has launched a new career in the field of long-term care insurance.

Jari Kirkland continues to win adventure races, triathlons, and endurance ski and bike competitions around the world. She makes occasional cameo appearances at the Old Town Inn in between exotic race venues.

Laura Puckett decided five jobs was too many and narrowed it down to three: assistant directing the Crested Butte Nordic Center, coaching the Crested Butte high school track team, and honing her writing skills.

Photo Gallery

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