Have fun, but be safe this New Year’s Eve
December 31, 2013
VAIL — It's not complicated. Our Powers That Be want us to enjoy New Year's, yet avoid the kinds of stupidity that make us candidates for a Darwin Award.
Take drinking and driving, for example. It's bad. And deadly. And expensive.
If you intend to consume alcohol tonight, you'd do well to plan to take the bus, arrange for a designated driver or an alternate ride.
Vail will even let you leave your car in the town's parking structures overnight. You need an overnight parking authorization receipt, available from the staffed parking booths or from the Vail Village or Lionshead welcome centers, said Suzanne Silverthorn, Vail's communications director.
You have to pick up your vehicle by 11 a.m. the next day.
And beginning at midnight, outbound service on Vail Transit and Eagle County's ECO Regional Transit will be free. The last ECO bus will leave the Vail Transportation Center around 2 a.m. Vail's in-town bus system is scheduled for stops every 15 minutes between 10:30 p.m. and 2:30 a.m.
The Heat is On
Patrols by the Gore Range DUI Task Force will be one of 76 Colorado law enforcement agencies and the Colorado State Patrol firing up sobriety checkpoints and increased patrols. It's all part of their latest Heat Is On campaign, running through Jan. 2.
On New Year's Eve 2013, 501 people were arrested on Colorado roads for DUIs and there were two alcohol-related fatalities.
"New Year's Eve is a time to celebrate the year that's past and to look forward to the future," said Amy Ford, CDOT's communications director. "Historically, it can also be a very dangerous time to be on the roads and we want to do everything we can to keep Coloradans safe."
Once upon a time, not so long ago, New Years Eve in Vail Village was fun the same way getting a skull fracture in a mosh pit was fun. Thousands of holiday revelers packed into Vail Village and, in the spirit of the season, began doing what people do when they're full to overflowing with youth, testosterone and alcohol.
Vail's leaders decided that while they don't want to be a complete buzz kill, they needed to rein things in a little.
In 2001, not long after some spirited lacrosse players threw a piece of flaming furniture off a balcony during Vail's July 4 Lacrosse Shootout, the town of Vail implemented what it calls "public safety measures" for the Fourth of July and New Year's Eve holidays.
The stated goal was to reduce crowding and underage drinking in Vail Village.
Since then, the Vail town council has reserved the right to relax or reinstate their "public safety measures" when circumstances warrant, but still take a dim view of flaming furniture.
SUP not SUV
Ken Hoeve loves his stand-up paddleboard so much that when it comes to riding in 2014, why wait?
So, the man who invented stand-up paddleboard duck hunting is leading a New Year's Day run down the Shoshone stretch of the Colorado River. He and his buddies have been doing it for about two decades, and you're welcome to join them. Mostly it's kayaks, but pretty much anything that floats is welcome, Hoeve said.
It starts around noon. To get there, take the Shoshone exit on eastbound Interstate 70. If you're coming from the east, take the Grizzly Creek exit and double back a couple miles to Shoshone.
Vail has developed its torchlight ski-down and fireworks display into an artform. It starts at 6:15 p.m. and the fireworks immediately follow. Your best viewing venue is Golden Peak. Beaver Creek's fireworks begin at 6:45 p.m.
If you want to stick around Beaver Creek, the New Year's Eve Family Bash is from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. It's $40 to get in and benefits the Vail Valley Salvation Army. This is a good one for folks who feel making it to midnight is a stretch. The first balloon drop is 10 p.m. There's a midnight drop, as well.
Vail's annual New Year's Eve party returns to Dobson Arena with DJ Logic and Mix Master Mike, a former Beastie Boy.
This one is for adults 21 and older and starts at 9 p.m. Tickets are$99 for general admission, $249 for gold VIP and $399 for Platinum VIP.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.