Vail Valley skiers get creative during recession
April 7, 2008
BEAVER CREEK, Colorado ” North Carolina resident Bob Mead used to take a limousine to and from Denver International Airport. Now he rides in a Colorado Mountain Express Van.
Due to the recession, Mead, his wife and three children sleep late and ski in the afternoon instead of hitting the lifts on Beaver Creek Mountain at 8:30 a.m., he said.
“Do we want to pay $500 a day or $250 a day?” Mead said. “So we ski half-days.”
As Wall Street tumbles and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke talks of the possibility of a recession, some skiers on Beaver Creek Mountain had no doubt they were experiencing one.
But they differed on the extent to which the recession ” with its job loss and costly groceries and fuel ” affected their ski vacations, lunch choices and skiing equipment.
Jeff Hoyt, of Edwards, is making more money than he used to make as chief maintenance engineer for a company that manages timeshares. But his pay still isn’t keeping up with the cost of living in the Vail Valley, he said.
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Does that mean Vail is in a constant recession, because really, whose salary is keeping up with the cost of living unless you’re on a corporate board?
Hoyt also may make tough economic times look worse than they are ” even for him.
The alleged recession wasn’t the reason Hoyt was riding decade-old Olin Catalyst skis Sunday ” it was the sentimental value, he said.
“It’s kind of like my wife ” something you got to hang on to,” said Hoyt, claiming to have a nicer pair at home.
Wendell Sprouse, of Virginia, sat outside Coyote Cafe sipping a glass of beer. The recession wasn’t keeping him from his apres ski relaxation.
“I don’t know if it’s affected my beer intake any,” Sprouse said. “Fortunately the recession hasn’t cut into that.”
Sheri Morse was waiting in a black fur coat for her husband to finish skiing on Beaver Creek Mountain. The recession wasn’t what kept her off the mountain.
“It’s because I’m a horrible skier,” said Morse, of Cordillera.
She planned on getting a “hot stone massage” at Park Hyatt’s Allegria Spa.
Snowboarder Kevin Quiambao, of Avon, was wearing a blue tie to make it easier for his friends to spot him ” not because he can’t afford a scarf.
“I figure it keeps me warmer than a scarf,” he said. “Plus it makes me look all jazzy.”
The cost of housing has risen and so has the cost of fuel, said Henry James, who has lived in the Vail Valley for six years. (Yeah, and I’m William James.)
But everything’s expensive in the Vail Valley, he said.
“It’s always been expensive,” he said.
Several college students were eating candy bars instead of buying a $10 lunch from the Beaver Creek Village. The chocolate keeps them going on the slopes amid a recession and because they have no money ” they’re students at the University of Colorado, they said.
“I’m on the candy bar diet,” CU student Keith Gleason said.
You think Boulder is expensive? Try living in Vail.
Kim Moore normally gets a six-day ski pass, but this year she got a four-day pass, she said. She and her family also were sharing a home with her brother and sister-in-law ” 10 people in all ” though she acknowledged she was “not really roughing it.”
“We’re fortunate,” she said.
Editor’s note: For “Altitude Sickness,” skiers and snowboarders on Vail and Beaver Creek mountains are asked irrelevant questions. They range from the politically incorrect to the downright ridiculous, so blame your answers on the high elevation.
Staff Writer Steve Lynn can be reached at 748-2931 or firstname.lastname@example.org.