VAIL, Colorado - This year's annual meeting of the Vail Homeowners Association started with a look back before looking ahead.
The group is made up primarily of second-home owners. Some spend a lot of time here; others just a little, but most are in town over the Christmas holidays. The association's annual meeting has become a way to update members about what's gone on in town and what may happen in the near future.
This year, the meeting started with Vail Resorts senior vice president and chief operating officer of Vail Mountain Chris Jarnot showing the trailer for the "Spirit of Vail" movie that captures the history of the resort's founding and its first 50 years. That short bit of video informed much of the meeting, as did some remarks by Rod Slifer, who came to the fledgling ski area in May of 1962.
"What an enormous risk (the founders) took, to look at this mountain and say 'I want people to live here, to ski here,'" association president Gail Ellis said. "When I first started coming here, a trip to Minturn felt like you needed to pack a lunch. Now we go all the way to Eagle for a trip to Costco."
While the risk-taking of Vail's first residents came up often during Thursday's meeting, there were also the usual presentations about what's happening in town and on the mountain today.
Vail Mayor Andy Daly gave a quick rundown of the town's accomplishments and its financial situation. Daly took particular pride in noting the town will be debt-free in a matter of days, retiring the bonds that paid for the Vail Village parking structure.
Jarnot explained Vail's "Epic Discovery" summer program. The work will start in the spring on the first phases of the project, mostly around Adventure Ridge on Vail Mountain. Jarnot talked about plans for zip lines, hiking and bike trails, and the "forest flyers" the company plans to build on the mountain.
Some residents asked if the company would separate hiking and biking trails. Jarnot replied that's in the plans.
Looking to the future, Jarnot said "I can't look that far ahead." Slifer said essentially the same thing.
That said, Alex Iskenderian, president of Vail Resorts Development Co., said the town and resort company need to keep looking ahead, especially regarding the proposed Ever Vail project between Lionshead and Cascade Village.
"We need to be forward thinking and innovative," Iskenderian said. "(Ever Vail) is a blueprint for taking Vail to the next level."
Jarnot said he and others in Vail can use the town and resort's history to guide that future. Ellis agreed.
"In the next 50 years what we'd like to promote is that we really can move forward if we take the spirit that started (Vail)," Ellis said. "They had to really, really work hard. If we pledge to do that, to really talk to each other, to identify problems before they become big, contentious issues, we can move forward faster."
Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930 or firstname.lastname@example.org.