I have been reading with sincere interest over the past couple of months the many letters sent to the Vail Daily regarding Vail Resorts' decision to discontinue daytime grooming this season.
There have been numerous letters from local residents, second-home owners and tourists with comments expressing disappointment, frustration and dismay regarding this new policy change.
While the efforts of those that have written to the Vail Daily should be lauded, I wonder if Vail Resorts has really taken notice to their customers' concerns.
Conversations overheard on chairlifts and in other venues throughout the area often include this topic.
Both Vail and Beaver Creek are known for striving to provide excellent customer service to all who enjoy winter sports. I also wonder if the other resorts under their umbrella of ownership and operation have also implemented this policy change, unless this has been an exclusive service only for our local mountains.
Nothing has changed necessarily for me, in that I habitually awake early every morning to enjoy first chair, first tracks and sparse crowds. I do enjoy groomers, but I also ski powder, crud and ice in conditions as Mother Nature gives us.
One recent letter to the editor discredited those that have submitted complaints about this policy change, but he missed their point. Vail Resorts serves all types of skiers and snowboarders, from beginners to extreme experts.
As illustrated by the volume of letters regarding this topic, there are many that have obviously become accustomed to daytime grooming and are truly disturbed that this has been abruptly discontinued.
Many think that there is a sole financial reason for this change. Manpower, equipment, fuel and related maintenance are definitely a financial factor to be considered by any organization.
Though, I have heard via the mountain grapevine that two skiers collided with snowcats this past season. Vail Resorts employees also share this belief, but are not exactly certain about details or corporate decisions when queried.
If the official reason is past user ignorance and carelessness, then please clue us in. If not, please let us know if this is a financially motivated decision. Also, it would be good to know if this decision is being reconsidered or if this is the way of the future.
The Vail Daily is an ideal forum for us local residents and tourists alike to voice concerns, but please consider going to the source to discuss your concerns about something that obviously bothers many persons, even with threats of not returning to our ski resorts in the future because of this.
One could assume that Vail Resorts is reading the Vail Daily regularly regarding its public relations, but I urge any and all persons that are concerned about this issue to write to Vail Resorts directly in addition to the Vail Daily. Letters can be sent to their leader, Rob Katz, at 390 Interlocken Crescent, Broomfield, CO 80021 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editor's note: Chris Jarnot, chief operating officer of Vail Mountain, explained in an interview for a Vail Daily story and in a column he wrote in February that Vail grooms as much as it did in the past but now stops at 8:30 a.m., when the mountain opens, instead of 10:30 a.m. as it did in previous seasons for safety reasons, and grooming quality has not diminished.