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March 25, 2014
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Vail Daily letter: Can’t afford Vail

Next year the unrestricted pass to our local Eagle County Mountain will cost $729. Now,that does come with the benefit of skiing at Breckenridge, Keystone, Canyons, Heavenly, Northstar, Kirkwood, Afton Alps, Mt. Brighton, A-Basin and now five consecutive days in Japan. Of course you have to load up the car, drive over a pass or two, maybe drive across country or even fly overseas. If you can afford to travel endlessly then $729 really wouldn’t concern you, but if you live in Eagle County and you work in Eagle County then you really don’t want to leave Eagle County to ski in someone else’s backyard. The Vail executives of yesteryear would have known and understood this. However, since moving the executive offices to Boulder, away from the resorts and the people that serve those resorts these executives have lost all touch with their resorts and the people that help support those resorts.

Just look at the quote in the March 12 Vail Daily by Vail Executive VP and Chief Marketing Officer Kirsten Lynch. She said, “There’s a reason we sell the Epic Pass in 80 countries and all 50 states. This is the one pass that lets you chase the powder at the world’s finest resorts, including Japan. This is the pass for true skiers and riders.”

I would love to gallivant around the world chasing powder but I am a member of the working-class poor that Vail Resorts has created in Eagle County. All I want to do is stay in my own county and have access to my local mountains without having to take out a second mortgage on my home. And, I hope Ms. Lynch isn’t implying that I am not a “true skier.” Since “the Epic Pass” is for the “true skier” and I can no longer afford this “Epic Pass,” it implies that I am not a “true skier”

I think I am a “true skier”! I started skiing at 4. I wore leather tie up boots and cable bindings. We had leather safety straps on our skis and poles. We waxed our own skis and would make the then-six-hour trip to Vail from Golden. I loved skiing so much and was enough of a “true skier” that I joined the National Ski Patrol, an organization started by Minnie Dole of the 10th Mountain Division.

Where is the ski pass for the Eagle County local, the local that serves Vail’s guest their dinner, cleans their toilets, and starches their sheets? The Eagle County locals that welcomes your guest at the Jet Center and drives them to the resorts? What about the local accountants, carpenters, grocery clerks, the people that serve all the people that serve your guest?

I’m afraid for the first time in decades I will not be able to ski in my backyard resort, I can’t afford Vail anymore. It’s a shame, too. I was hoping I could welcome the world in 2015.

Heidi Hanson


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The VailDaily Updated Mar 26, 2014 05:15PM Published Mar 25, 2014 06:45PM Copyright 2014 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.