Crested Butte's Colorful Mayor

Meet Alan Bernholtz. The mayor of Crested Butte and the founder of Crested Butte Mountain Guides.
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Meet Alan Bernholtz. The mayor of Crested Butte and the founder of Crested Butte Mountain Guides.
Cold Front 1103

Name: Alan Bernholtz

Age: mid 30s

Location: Crested Butte, Colorado

Claim to Fame: The founder of Crested Butte Mountain Guides, Bernholtz moved to the Butte 15 years ago, spending his first season flipping eggs on the mountain and sleeping in his Ford Econoline 350. He managed to get on ski patrol after two seasons but was fired a few years later for, among other things, hijacking the company car for a weekend trip to Jackson. "By the time they fired me," he concedes, "they had plenty of good reasons." He's since cleaned up his image, starting the Crested Butte Avalanche Center, becoming a certified mountain guide, and getting elected twice to the town council.

He Did What? Bernholtz is known for injecting some flavor-and pyrotechnics-into some of CB's more staid events. He was the first racer to don a costume (the Tin Man) for the grueling annual skin up-ski down Al Johnson race. Other times he's set himself on fire for the descent. Then there was last year's Mardi Gras parade. Unhappy with the commercialized floats, Bernholtz attached two trailers to his Suburban, put a band on one, built a kicker on each, and then lit the jumps on fire and rode through town jumping the gap.

About his mayoral run:  "I run a campaign on a common sense platform," says a man who routinely sets himself ablaze-in public. "I joke around, but people know I take being on the council very seriously. I love Crested Butte and I want to help build a sustainable economy and keep it a great place to live."