“Thanks for sending the story, Jerry. I was invited to the opening, but couldn’t go. My wife and I, and our young son, were living in Gothic when billy arrived for the 1972 RMBL summer session and never left…. He used to babysit Sam for us when we gave ourselves a night in town. The years we were there, he lived – basically squatted – in an unbelievably squalid old miner’s cabin, no electricity, totally uninsulated, but with an old cookstove for heat. He used to put his feet in the oven to keep warm…. We both had lots of mice, being the only warm spots in a cold valley; the Laboratory asked us not to use kill traps, so we used live traps. But billy had so many mice he stopped baiting the traps; he’d set them all and just wait till mice wandered into them. We’d take the mice in the traps down to the East River and flip them over to the other side. But since the river was frozen over in a lot of places, that didn’t work, and we’d get to recognize some of the regulars by little tears on their ears or other distinguishing marks. Every few weeks the mouse encounters would diminish, and we’d figure the weasel or the pine marten had made its way back to the neighborhood on the big hunter circuits….”

Anyway – nice to hear from you.  

George Sibley


Great story. Billy would never go in that place and he does not drink anyway, but it is nice to see him memorialized. Very fitting and well deserved.  I’ve been hearing fondly told stories about Billy Barr since about 1972. I assume the developers are taking care of his retirement now.  

Wally Berg


Named for Crested Butte legend, environmental researcher and advocate, Billy Barr, new lobby lounge and bar celebrates local history and serves as a community anchor at the base of the mountain.

Crested Butte, Colo. Feb. 24, 2023 — Elevation Hotel & Spa – the only ski-in, ski-out resort located at the base of Crested Butte Mountain Resort (CBMR) – announces today the latest addition to its hospitality experience, Billy Barr. The full-service lobby bar and lounge will open to the public this month.

Named for local environmental researcher and advocate Billy Barr, and featuring decor thoughtfully inspired by the unique mountain culture of Crested Butte, the new concept will serve as a casual destination for locals and guests to gather for a coffee between runs or après ski cocktails and bites. Design details include memorabilia from the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory (RMBL) and Crested Butte Museum, including vintage art, skis, boots and snowshoes.

Since 1970, Billy Barr has been living in a secluded cabin in the ghost town of Gothic, Colo., just north of Crested Butte. Barr has been meticulously collecting daily snowpack data and wildlife observations that have helped shape climate science in the Rockies. Now in his early 70s, Barr continues to gather data for the RMBL, and puts more than 200 miles on his skis every season. The 2016 short-film The Snow Guardian is dedicated to Barr and his work tracking climate change.

“We are honored to celebrate Billy Barr’s legacy with the launch of this concept,” says Nick Klaus, managing director for Elevation Hotel & Spa. “We are grateful that Billy lent his name for our new lobby bar and hope it serves as a gathering space that the local community can enjoy for years to come. We hope to highlight Billy’s environmental work and the overall impacts of the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory in this space through unique events and programming, while offering guests a comfortable, accessible place to enjoy a cocktail or snack.”

The Billy Barr serves as a celebration of Barr’s legacy and acts as an experiential venue for visitors and locals to learn about the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory (RMBL), the area’s oldest non-profit and one of the largest and oldest field stations in the world. Inspired by Crested Butte’s history and the community’s strong environmental ethos, the Billy Barr was designed in partnership with design firm Winteriors and features memorabilia on loan from RMBL and the Crested Butte Museum.

“Billy Barr is part of what makes Crested Butte so special. For 50 years he has been his own unique individual, doing ground-breaking science around snow,” says Ian Billick, executive director of RMBL and Mayor of Crested Butte. “He has generated more international exposure for Crested Butte than any other person or institution, including RMBL. It is great to see Elevation ensure local awareness around just how special he is.”

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