CRESTED BUTTE - Sweat beading on his brow, Tim Mueller stops climbing the snowy road up Snodgrass Mountain and takes a breather. The clouds break momentarily and there across the upper East River Valley is his ski area. From the distance, Crested Butte Mountain Resort looks steep. And small.
"Too small," he said, leaning on his ski poles.
As much as from the two-hour climb, Mueller's weariness lingers from the fight to grow his resort. He has spent four years and nearly $2 million working to expand the ski area he bought with his family in 2003.