A warm Christmas | VailDaily.com

A warm Christmas

Kaye Ferry

I’m writing this from Florida while I visit my family over Christmas. We’ve done this for the majority of the Christmas holidays since I was in college, when my grandparents first moved here for the winters.

While I’ve gotten used to it and actually enjoy a little warm weather at this time of the year, there’s something about Santa on a surfboard and palm trees decorated with Christmas lights that don’t seem quite right.

I visited with a friend the other night at the town of Vail Christmas party. She’s about to spend her first Christmas in a warm climate and is doing so with great trepidation.

Even though a good portion of the world celebrates these holidays in warm weather, somehow snow seems more appropriate than sand. Of course, if you relate to the religious reason for the holiday, Bethlehem was hardly at the North Pole. Somehow, the vision of a camel pulling a sleigh doesn’t work either.

All of that aside, Christmas really isn’t about where you are, anyway. It’s about being with family and friends and sharing the holiday season regardless of your religious affiliation. That is one of the peculiarities of this community. Most of our work force is not only away from their families, but many of them are spending their first Christmas away from home.

While a strange phenomena – one that is particularly disconcerting the first time – it never gets any easier. Add to the fact that the typical holiday in a resort town doesn’t even remotely resemble life in the “real” world.

No, in the real world, a holiday is just that: A day of relaxation and a break from routine. The only change in routine for the employees here is everything cranks up several notches. Just when the rest of the world is lying back and enjoying life, they’re putting it in full gear. Just when most everyone else is settling down and relaxing, resort employees are working extra shifts, getting less sleep, exercising a minimum, staying off the mountain, dealing with the crowds and accommodating the demands of customers from all over the globe.

They’re generally doing this with a smile on their faces, an eagerness to please and a willingness to give up a holiday in a familiar setting with their own families. They do this because they’ve made a commitment to this community for this season, which we all know turns into the next, and the next, and the next …

So, during this holiday time, take a moment to notice those waiting on your table, fitting your boots, adjusting your skis, making your beds, cleaning your rooms, parking your cars, bagging your groceries, working on the mountain, taking your drink order, selling you tickets, giving you directions and generally filling in all the blanks to make your vacation a pleasant one.

For it is truly the employees in this community who provide the experience that makes guests want to return time and time again. They’re a good part of the reason that generations of families return to Vail for the holidays.

So when you see them, say thanks. Let them know you too appreciate the effort they’re making to ensure a wonderful Christmas season.

Returning to Christmas in Florida for a minute: I won’t even speculate as to the reason, but I have NEVER seen so many decorations in one place.

HE DID IT AGAIN: Yep! At the very poorly attended VRI report to the community, Adam Aron did it again. He acknowledged my presence in the room and AGAIN erroneously referred to the business community’s supposedly negative attitude towards the Front Range skier. How many times does it have to be said? It’s the parking! Remember that old KISS. Keep it simple stupid. This one is ITPS. I just omitted the last word.

Did I say poorly attended? I counted 31 people including Adam and a good percentage of those were VRI employees. Maybe no one wants a 30-minute answer to a 20-second question.

MORE ON JAKE BRAKES: I met a guy who used to drive trucks for a living. Most of his routes were from the East Coast to California, and most of those routes on I-70 over Vail Pass. So I got a lesson on jake brakes.

To begin with, they have nothing to do with the brakes at all. They’re a mechanism for slowing the engine down. Compression forces air into the engine cylinders and slows the vehicle down. It also causes the much-hated noise. But it not only helps reduce speed, it helps control the very real danger of fire.

He told me the big problem with Vail Pass is the combination of the steep grade and the length. With 80,000 pounds behind each cab, it’s virtually impossible to control speed without the use of the jake brake.

Do your part, call them and write them:

To contact the Town Council, call 479-1860, ext. 8, or email towncouncil@vailgov.com.

To contact Vail Resorts, call 476-5601 or e-mail vailinfo@vailresorts.com.For past columns, vaildaily.com-search:ferry.

Kaye Ferry, a longtime observer of Vail government, writes a weekly column.

for the Daily.