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Our View: Time to move on from chairlift, EagleVail

Kudos to the Forest Service and Vail Resorts for halting the pursuit an ill-advised idea to add a chairlift from EagleVail to Beaver Creek.

A chairlift in the neighborhood has been envisioned since EagleVail was built. But 40 years ago, Vail Resorts, the Forest Service and the Division of Wildlife deemed the area elk habitat. And for at least 30 years, the Division of Wildlife — now Colorado Parks and Wildlife — has been saying it wouldn’t support a chair going through the sensitive wildlife habitat.

In the last year, the issue of disappearing wildlife in the valley has come to the forefront. Local elk populations have dropped 40% over the last two decades. Wildlife officials point to both recreation and development as reasons for the drop.

And wildlife was just one of the reasons to nix the idea. The undertaking would be large for a project of questionable necessity. The lift would have been 11,250 feet long, making it the longest in North America — a bit longer than the 11,012-foot Slide Brook Express at Sugarbush, Vermont. 

Myriad issues of traffic and parking, including how they affect Homestake Peak School, added to the complications. The increase of property values was enticing to homeowners on the east side of the neighborhood; but what would it do to EagleVail’s neighborhood identity as a bastion for young families and workers?

Somehow, the proposal stuck around for years, even after a proposed sales tax that was partially intended to fund the lift failed in 2016.

As recently as April, some members of the EagleVail Metro Board and EagleVail Property Owners Association were pushing for a $15,000 study to identify major flaws in the idea.

The flaws were so obvious, no money was actually required. Thank goodness Vail Resorts and the Forest Service put an end to this dream that somehow would not die. We need more community leaders taking a stand to protect our dwindling wildlife in the valley.

That includes continuing to examine the effects on wildlife of the Berlaimont proposal near Edwards and the Booth Heights workforce housing proposal in East Vail. We are not saying those projects should be rejected — the East Vail proposal in particular addresses another big problem in our community, worker housing —  but we need to seriously consider the wildlife protections measures that are suggested by the experts such as Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

We also urge local leaders and recreationalists to uphold the regulations around the new Everkrisp trail and the planned lift expansion into McCoy Park. In fact, we would like to see Vail Resorts and trail advocates take measures to go beyond the required actions — something akin to the above-and-beyond steps taken to create Trail Ambassador programs and signage for seasonal closures on valley trails.

Let’s leave this chairlift idea behind once and for all and move to solving real problems in our community — including housing and wildlife protection.

The Vail Daily Editorial Board is Publisher Mark Wurzer, Editor Nate Peterson, Assistant Editor Ross Leonhart, Eagle Valley Enterprise Editor Pam Boyd, Special Projects Director Edward Stoner, Business Editor Scott Miller and Ad Director Holli Snyder.

Our View: Don’t panic about the most recent I-70 survey

This newspaper last week picked up a story from our colleagues at the Summit Daily News about an Interstate 70 user survey. The news seemed dire: People seem to be coming to mountain communities along I-70 less often.

The survey was conducted by RRC Associates for the I-70 Coalition, a nonprofit group dedicated to improving conditions on the interstate. More than 450 people who park at park-and-ride lots near Morrison were interviewed, and their responses do seem sobering: Roughly two-thirds of respondents said traffic congestion has affected how often they travel to the mountains.

That’s not good news and will reinforce those calling for the state and its recreation industry to do something about I-70 congestion. And that’s where the real problems would arise.

The fact is that I-70 congestion is almost entirely a weekend problem. Any realistic solution, from highway widening to building a technically feasible but wildly unaffordable rail line, would be likely to create more problems than solutions.

Even if the billions needed for any kind of real solution could be somehow pried out of either state coffers or users’ pockets, do we really want a 24/7/365 solution to what’s roughly a 100-day problem?

The prospect of a roughly 60-minute train trip between Edwards and downtown Denver would almost certainly put more pressure on home inventories and prices. An even quicker trip between Frisco and Denver would add more pressure on that area’s housing inventory and prices.

Increased land costs would also further hamper efforts to create workforce housing for locals.

That’s just one possible downside to easier access to the mountains.

And with the full understanding that the economies of mountain resorts depend on visitors, do we really want to open up our communities to the potential of thousands more guests?

Visitors are always welcome, of course, but what does easier access do to the character of our communities?

Weekend traffic on I-70 can stink much of the time — and is actually heavier in the summer — and with the state’s continued population growth, that isn’t going to change. But the reality is that people still come. Incremental changes — from toll lanes to tire laws to continued work to keep the interstate open during snowstorms — can help, without endangering the reasons people come to the mountains in the first place.

The Vail Daily Editorial Board is Publisher Mark Wurzer, Editor Nate Peterson, Assistant Editor Ross Leonhart, Eagle Valley Enterprise Editor Pam Boyd, Special Projects Director Edward Stoner, Business Editor Scott Miller and Ad Director Holli Snyder.

Our View: Let’s talk about an economic driver for Eagle

The Eagle River Park celebrated its grand opening over the weekend.

The $6.2 million project will provide an exceptionally beautiful entrance to the town. It will, no doubt, become a well-loved amenity for river recreationists as well as for locals and travelers who want to dip their toes in the Eagle River. It will be a wonderful addition to the town’s outdoor recreation offerings.

But we have a hard time buying the narrative that the river park will be the major economic driver Eagle needs. Even if it increases the number of visitors to town during high water and special events, can this park really make a big impact on the community’s coffers?

The reason why it can’t is simple — to really increase the town’s sales tax revenue, you need places for people to buy stuff. Eagle’s retail opportunities are limited. When the river park opens, Eagle’s existing stores, restaurants and bars may see an uptick, but it’s a big stretch to think the park will bring substantially more money to the town’s budget.

The biggest problem Eagle — and many other communities — face is leakage. People can’t buy everything they need in town so they travel to larger cities or purchase things online. You address leakage by bringing in more retail options, but that solution brings its own issues. The Eagle River Station debate in Eagle about a decade ago is a great example.

There is potential out there for Eagle to meaningfully increase sales tax, but it may not be politically attractive. Eagle officials could reach out to their counterparts in Gypsum to see if they would be willing to re-examine a revenue-sharing agreement. The towns negotiated such a deal shortly after Costco committed to building in Gypsum and Eagle was contemplating Eagle River Station. The deal died when Eagle voters approved the Eagle River Station plan in 2012 and Gypsum pulled out of the agreement.  

A lot has changed in the past seven years. The retail landscape of America doesn’t include a lot of brick-and-mortar development. As time goes on the possibility of extensive commercial construction in east Eagle seems increasingly unlikely. Many of the principal players who negotiated the original deal between Eagle and Gypsum are no longer with the towns, and while institutional memory is vital, it can also be focused on past actions instead of future possibilities.

Negotiating a revenue-sharing plan — which sends the majority of the sales tax to the town where it is collected but gives a percentage to the neighboring community — would provide better services to residents of both towns. The idea is that both communities benefit from the successes of their neighbor.

While a lot has changed during the past decade, the interconnectedness of Eagle and Gypsum is constant. New homeowners from the Haymeadow development will shop at Costco. Residents from Buckhorn Valley drive through Eagle to get to Interstate 70. Kids from Gypsum skate at the Eagle Pool and Ice Rink and kids from Eagle enjoy the indoor pool and climbing walls at the Gypsum Recreation Center.

As we prepare to enjoy the newest downvalley amenity, it’s a great time to look at ways to ensure there will be more of them in the future. Eagle and Gypsum should work together to make that happen.

The Vail Daily Editorial Board is Publisher Mark Wurzer, Editor Nate Peterson, Assistant Editor Ross Leonhart, Director of Special Projects Ed Stoner, Business Editor Scott Miller, Eagle Valley Enterprise Editor Pam Boyd and Advertising Director Holli Snyder.

Our View: Working to bring communities together

On Friday, the 10th edition of Vail Vida Latina will be printed in the Vail Daily. The project is a collaboration involving local schools, organizations and nonprofits providing content in Spanish. Also, www.vaildaily.com is now available in Spanish via Google plug-in.

The Vail Daily hasn’t printed content in Spanish in years, and the idea to relaunch efforts revolved around our mission statement, “Bringing communities together,” which is printed on the cover of the newspaper every day. According to county data, about one in every three people living in Eagle County is Hispanic or Latino and nearly 30 percent of county residents speak a non-English language.

It is with this knowledge that the Vail Daily is striving to meet the needs of our Spanish-speaking population by providing a community connection that has been lacking across the valley for years. The Vail Daily is hoping to be that connector based on our availability — it’s hard to move around the valley and not see a bright blue box somewhere. And, now, also online.

While the translator plug-in for the website isn’t 100 percent accurate — it touts 90 percent accuracy — it is still a step in the right direction. Contributors to the Vail Vida Latina print section on Fridays strive for accuracy for the section’s readers.

The print section started as a collaboration with Battle Mountain High School, where teachers and students there were the first contributors. A huge thank you goes to Battle Mountain teachers Paola Baglietto Jacquemin, Miguel Salinas and Julieta Cavallo for helping get this project off of the ground, as well as their students who continue to write powerful feature pieces.

Since the first week we’ve printed Vail Vida Latina, we’ve added contributors from Eagle Valley High School, Red Canyon Elementary School, Walking Mountains, Mountain Recreation, the Vail Valley Foundation, Neighborhood Navigators and MIRA. We are looking to connect members of the community seeking the Spanish population, so if your organization would like to be included, please email assistant editor Ross Leonhart at rleonhart@vaildaily.com to start the process of being added.

Since printing Vail Vida Latina every Friday, we have received positive feedback from the community.

“A great idea. A very good way to create community,” one Facebook commenter said.

“People are messaging me right and left, people I haven’t met, saying how this is amazing,” one of the contributing teachers said. “The paper is consistently running out on Friday at the school.”

Our circulation manager David Hakes has been hard at work making sure papers are where they need to be on Fridays. Hakes also deserves credit for bringing up the initial question about how we could serve the valley’s Spanish-speaking population.

As a county, state and nation, it is important to look at how we can bring communities together, and that’s what Vail Vida Latina is designed to do.

The Vail Daily Editorial Board is publisher Mark Wurzer, editor Nate Peterson, assistant editor Ross Leonhart, director of special projects Ed Stoner, business editor Scott Miller, Eagle Valley Enterprise editor Pam Boyd and advertising director Holli Snyder.

Our View: Let’s hit the refresh button

Hey, you, fake tough guy — you kiss your mother with that mouth?

Yeah, you. You know what you did. You created a phony Facebook profile, calling yourself Super Dave Osborne, and then went on the Vail Daily’s website and wrote unspeakable things about Avon’s mayor in the comments section of a letter, all because you disagreed with her public vote on the controversial Hahnewald barn relocation.

You’ve been 86ed from ever posting on the Vail Daily again, but not before degrading a local elected official and making her look up a word on the internet that she wishes she never saw. 

The mayor, in an email to the Vail Daily, wrote: “To allow comments like that to remain on your website is … I don’t even know what to call it.”

Here’s what we’ll call it: Shameful. Disrespectful. Disappointing.

And here’s why: Is this really what we want the discourse to be like here in our beautiful valley? Is this how we want to talk to each other?

It’s not just the trolls — all verified Facebook accounts — who continue to pop up in the comments section of stories, letters and columns on the Vail Daily website.

Have you been on Eagle County Classifieds lately? Or Twitter?  

Too often, simple arguments about even the silliest things devolve into profane name-calling and ad-hominem attacks.

It’s symptomatic of the ugliness of our national political discourse, but that doesn’t make it OK.

As the source of community news in this valley, it’s our top priority to foster engagement. We want to shape the conversation around important issues and we welcome a diversity of opinions. The last thing we want to do is stifle discussion or be an echo chamber

We’re also well aware that the internet is a shame machine, and that it’s naive to think that trolls won’t migrate to our little corner of the web here in Happy Valley.

But a Facebook user telling another on the Vail Daily’s page to “f— your s—stain of a president” … well that’s not exactly in line with our mission statement of “Bringing Communities Together.”

We bring this up during a week where the local school district and the hospital are challenging students and community members to take a five-day break from social media and video games

The Disconnect to Reconnect challenge stems from some alarming trends when it comes to technology overuse and the correlation between social media and the rise of ADHD, depression, apathy and anxiety among our kids. 

Maybe most alarming is this: In her book “How to Break Up with Your Phone,” researcher and author Catherine Price writes that, “On Average, Americans spend more than four hours a day on their phones. That amounts to about 28 hours a week, 112 hours a month, or 56 full days a year.”

No wonder we’re all screaming over each other on social media. It’s because we’re not actually talking to each other.

If this is you, well, maybe this week’s challenge is a good place to start. The next time you want to attack someone on social media who you’ve never met, ask yourself: Would you say the same thing to that person if you were standing in line at Starbucks together? Or riding up the lift together?

Probably not.

We can all do better. Don’t feed the trolls. Call out baseless, offensive attacks when you see them. And, if nothing else, put down your phone the next time you want to spout off on Facebook. We’ll all be better for it.

The Vail Daily Editorial Board is Publisher Mark Wurzer, Editor Nate Peterson, Assistant Editor Ross Leonhart, Director of Special Projects Ed Stoner, Business Editor Scott Miller, Eagle Valley Enterprise Editor Pam Boyd and Advertising Director Holli Snyder.

Our View: Be careful, patient as valley’s road sweep continues

We’re an eager bunch in the Vail Valley. Once the chairlifts and gondolas stop running, we get eager to dust off our golf clubs, bikes, one-wheel skateboards and other playthings.

The problem, of course, is that golf courses, bike paths and sidewalks aren’t always ready to accommodate our desires.

Street sweepers have been busy the last few weeks, clearing sand from roadways and intersections. That’s good news for motorists and road cyclists.

Much of that work has been done, although there are still some sandy patches here and there, particularly going into private driveways.

Our valley’s sidewalks and recreation paths are a different story.

One staff member who lives in Vail reports that the paths there are mostly clear of winter’s grunge. But another co-worker reports that the paths between Avon and this newspaper’s Eagle-Vail office are a mixed bag.

This isn’t a complaint about the road maintenance people trying to clear a winter’s worth of sand. It’s a big job, and as much as many of us would like the sand cleared right now, they won’t get to everything all at once.

This piece is more of a call for patience.

It would be nice to have all the golf courses open and all the streets and recreation paths cleared. But you may have noticed we aren’t quite done with winter weather yet. We may need a bit more traction sand spread about over the next few weeks.

With that in mind, let’s give the sweeper crews some understanding — as well as a wide berth when they’re working in and along roadways. Motorists also need to watch for cyclists, boarders and others. A bit of inattention from a driver can quickly ruin a cyclist or boarder’s week — or worse. And for those of us on bikes, skateboards and similar devices, be careful out there. It doesn’t take much sand — or an inattentive driver — to ruin an otherwise good day.

The Vail Daily Editorial Board is publisher Mark Wurzer, editor Nate Peterson, assistant editor Ross Leonhart, business editor Scott Miller, Eagle Valley Enterprise editor Pam Boyd and advertising director Holli Snyder.

Our View: Try on those home rule shoes, Eagle

It’s time for Eagle to catch up to nearly every other municipality in Eagle County and become a home rule town.

Actually, it’s probably past time but for the first time in decades, the community is getting serious about the idea.

Eagle and Red Cliff are the only statutory towns in Eagle County. As Eagle Town manager Brandy Reitter notes, the statutory rules laid out in Colorado law work well for communities of 500 to 1,000 residents. But when communities grow larger than that, the one-size-fits-all regulations established by the state don’t reflect the individual community needs.

“We have outgrown those shoes and our toes are poking out,” is the metaphor that Reitter uses.

This fall the town plans to bring the home rule issue to voters. First the town will seek approval to form a home rule charter committee and then voters will have the opportunity to elect representatives to the committee. The group will then have until the municipal election next spring to write the charter and put it to a vote.

We won’t know the provisions of the charter until the committee fashions them, but it’s a safe bet that expanding the town’s revenue options will be part of the deal. If Eagle wants to continue projects such as a river park, a new water treatment plant and an expanded trails system, those revenues will be desperately needed.

Topping the list of available options is a real estate transfer fee. As a statutory town, Eagle isn’t allowed to impose a fee at the time of a real estate transaction, although such fees can be part of a subdivision improvements plan. For example, a 1 percent real estate transfer fee paid by buyers in Eagle Ranch finances wildlife mitigation, an affordable housing program, and the Eagle Ranch Homeowners Association. Likewise, the town has negotiated a real estate transfer fee for the proposed Haymeadow subdivision.

But those deals don’t carry through to real estate sales that happen elsewhere in the town and that means Eagle isn’t cashing in on a large revenue stream. In the neighboring home rule town of Gypsum, for example, finance director Mark Silverthorn reports that a 1 percent real estate transfer fee generated more than $1 million dollars in 2018.

That could be a game-changer in Eagle, where more than 2,000 new residential units are currently in the pipeline and reliance on sales tax revenues is more pronounced than ever. New large-scale commercial development isn’t looming on the horizon for Eagle which means the town will continue its dependence on existing sale tax generation. More particularly, Eagle will continue its dependence on a single retailer — City Market. Nearly half of the town’s sales tax comes from food sales and it isn’t hard to figure out where people are buying their groceries.

The home rule charter discussions will flesh out these issues and other topics that are particular to Eagle. Those talks are overdue. In the end, Eagle residents will have the final say on the charter and the proposal might not get their support in the end.

But it is definitely time for Eagle to get its feet measured. The existing shoes are really starting to pinch.

The Vail Daily Editorial Board is Publisher Mark Wurzer, Editor Nate Peterson, Ad Director Holli Snyder, Assistant Editor Ross Leonhart, Eagle Valley Enterprise Editor Pam Boyd and Business Editor Scott Miller.

Our View: Colorado’s red-flag law is reasonable, necessary

It’s not about the guns — it’s really about mental health. That’s what the NRA and gun-rights advocates trumpet every time there’s another mass shooting in the United States or when confronted with the grim statistics of gun violence in this country.  

So, you’d think, given that rhetoric, that gun-rights advocates would be in favor of Colorado’s new red-flag gun law, which seeks to temporarily — not permanently — remove guns from mentally disturbed individuals deemed a danger to themselves and others.

Here’s how the law works: A family member or law enforcement official can petition the court to temporarily seize firearms from an individual who the petitioner claims is unsafe to be around guns. If a judge agrees with that testimony, he or she would issue an Extreme Risk Protection Order and police would go to the home and remove the guns. After 14 days, the person who has had their guns taken could appear in court — with guaranteed legal counsel — and make the case for why he or she should get their weapons back. The judge then must rule whether to extend the seizure and prevent the person from purchasing more guns for up to 364 days.

What this law essentially amounts to is a 14-day timeout for individuals who potentially might kill themselves or shoot others. Supporters of the bill, including local Democratic state Rep. Dylan Roberts, refer to it as a “suicide prevention bill” more than anything else.

And mental illness, as we know all too well in Eagle County, is not a static condition — which is why a two-week timeout is a reasonable, logical approach to curbing gun violence.

But, as you might expect, there’s nothing reasonable when it comes to the toxic debate on gun control.

Opponents of the new law say it’s unconstitutional, that it lacks due process for the accused and that it infringes on personal property rights. Supporters say that an Extreme Risk Protection Order law, which 13 other states have enacted, is a small, actionable step to prevent future gun tragedies.

Is the law perfect? Will it be able to prevent another mass shooting or every suicide by gun in Colorado? Absolutely not on both counts. But it’s certainly a worthy choice over the alternative, which is to do nothing.

And doing nothing in a state where we’ve had not one but two mass shootings and one of the highest suicide rates in the nation is flat-out unacceptable.

Twenty years ago this week, here in Colorado, the national narrative on gun violence changed in the course of a day when two students killed 13 others at Columbine High School before turning their guns on themselves. But Columbine failed to change anything when it comes to gun control in this country. In fact, it’s the opposite. The data from Gun Violence Archive, which tracks gun death statistics, bears that out. As does this one simple statistic: Columbine, which was the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history at the time, no longer ranks in the top 10 in terms of mass shootings in the country.

This, despite numerous polls that show the majority of Americans support stricter gun laws.

Vail Police Chief Dwight Henninger testified in favor of the bill, but Eagle County Sheriff James van Beek, who initially expressed tepid support for such a measure last year, came out in opposition of the new law with a 3,100-plus word Facebook post. Van Beek, among other things, said the law “is like putting a Band-Aid on the probability of a wound and not allowing its removal until an injury has occurred.” He went on to write that the “entire process is ludicrous.”

No, what’s ludicrous is to let the cycle of gun violence continue to go unchecked.

We need saner gun laws that reflect the grim realities of gun violence and mental illness in our state, not the same tired rhetoric about liberty, personal property and the right to bear arms that’s unconnected to a “well-regulated militia.” Especially in Eagle County, which is among the western mountain communities that are now being labeled the “suicide belt” and where we lost 17 people to suicide in 2018, up 183% from 2016. And especially in Colorado, where we know the cost of gun violence all too well from the mass shootings at Columbine and the AMC 16 movie theater in Aurora.

This new law reflects that reality and is a reasonable step in the right direction.

The Vail Daily Editorial Board is Publisher Mark Wurzer, Editor Nate Peterson, Ad Director Holli Snyder, Assistant Editor Ross Leonhart, Eagle Valley Enterprise Editor Pam Boyd and Business Editor Scott Miller.

Our View: Let’s work out the kinks on CORE Act

Pressure on Colorado’s public lands is growing as the state grows. Ramping up preservation for at least some of that land makes sense.

Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet and Rep. Joe Neguse, whose Second Congressional District includes roughly the eastern third of the Vail Valley, in January, introduced the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy Act. That sweeping public lands bill, which would protect 400,000 acres of public land, combines elements of four previous wilderness and preservation bills into one measure.

Locally, the high point of the bill is protection for the Camp Hale area, which would become the nation’s first “National Historic Landscape.” The bill would also create roughly 73,000 acres of new wilderness, primarily through additions to existing areas. 

The bill would create new wildlife conservation areas, recreation management areas and, in the Thompson Divide area near Carbondale, withdraws of about 200,000 acres from potential oil and gas development.

The four-in-one approach combines years of work on what once were separate legislative proposals.

Much of that work has been done by wilderness advocates who want the most restrictive protection possible for as much land as possible.

That approach has run into opposition over the years from groups as diverse as snowmobile clubs and local water districts.

Locally, wilderness advocates spent a lot of time with representatives of the Eagle River Water & Sanitation District. Those discussions were needed to protect the local district’s ditches and structures if those facilities ended up in wilderness areas. 

Bill advocates say the CORE Act keeps open for motorized access a number of areas that once were proposed to be closed to that use.

Groups representing motorized off-highway users have remained skeptical about any proposals that might close off previously-open areas.

While there are plenty of questions to answer, our public lands need more attention than they’ve had for some time.

As we’ve seen at the Maroon Bells and Hanging Lake, unfettered access to public lands can result in permanent damage to some areas. The Booth Falls Trail in Vail is likely in line for some form of additional protection, too.

On the other hand, snowmobilers, hunters and others are right to be wary of proposals that might close areas currently open to those uses. Mining and drilling are another story, one not really told in Eagle County these days.

The bottom line, though, is that public land use is evolving and our laws need to reflect that evolution. We need public hearings on the CORE Act and similar measures in other states to ensure the people — and not just special interests — have their voices heard. Those hearings might just help make a better bill.

The Vail Daily Editorial Board is Publisher Mark Wurzer, Editor Nate Peterson, Ad Director Holli Snyder, Assistant Editor Ross Leonhart, Eagle Valley Enterprise Editor Pam Boyd and Business Editor Scott Miller.

Our View: Vail Mountain snowmaking expansion will aid more than terrain

Some here in the high country have long maintained that skiing is too big a business to leave it to the whims of Mother Nature.

That quip came from the days long ago when resorts started investing in new and better grooming for ski slopes. But even the best grooming can only do so much in scant snow years.

That’s why it’s good news that the U.S. Forest Service recently approved a Vail Resorts proposal to expand its snowmaking capacity on Vail Mountain. When the multi-year project is complete, nearly 25 percent of the mountain’s skiable terrain will be covered by snowmaking. That includes upper parts of the mountain accessible via Gondola One out of Vail Village.

That’s good news for Vail Village business owners, who in some years look longingly west down Meadow Drive toward Lionshead Village, watching early-season skiers flock to the Eagle Bahn Gondola there.

But the expanded snowmaking is good news in other ways.

Perhaps at the top of the list is the diversity of terrain the expansion will make available in the season’s first weeks.

That could provide a big boost to both the resort and the town. Absent abundant snowfall years, the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas are often a relatively soft spot in the ski season. More available terrain will help bring more people to Vail. That means people working at shops and restaurants have a better chance of putting in more hours during those weeks. More stable paychecks help both individuals and the community at large.

Somewhat hidden in the news of the snowmaking expansion is the foresight shown years ago by resort executives. Snowmaking requires water, of course, and pretty good amounts of it. Company officials say they hold water rights that will allow the full expansion without seeking new supplies.

The western U.S. has been in a drought cycle for roughly 20 years. And ski areas need to investigate ways to adapt to a changing climate.

Boosting snowmaking at Vail is good news in a host of ways. And, given our valley economy, we need to be able to help Mother Nature in any way we can.

The Vail Daily Editorial Board is Publisher Mark Wurzer, Editor Nate Peterson, Assistant Editor Ross Leonhart, Ad Director Holli Snider, Business Editor Scott Miller and Eagle Valley Enterprise Editor Pam Boyd.