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Acting as one, the Vail Valley is stronger

Michael Kurz
Vail, CO, Colorado

As those of you regularly read this column know (and I’m sure that since the mountain closed my readership has gone up substantially, maybe by three or even four readers), the Vail Valley Partnership’s updated mission is to achieve and maintain a position as the business vitality center for the Vail Valley.

Our new vision statement pushes that concept forward somewhat: to be a major force in the creation and maintenance of an adaptive, resilient, vital economy that provides opportunities and stability for Vail Valley businesses and (by extension, to) residents.

Vail Valley, Vail Valley… it’s even in our name. Why not just the Vail Partnership, or just Avon, or Edwards, or Gypsum, or Eagle? Because it’s time we started to face facts. It’s not just one economic entity or just one municipality, or just one resort that can take on the challenge of economic sustainability and make “365” happen. It’s up to all of us, from Vail to Dotsero. We need all businesses and allied associations and agencies to start working collectively as one.

This means putting to rest ingrained prejudices about our neighbors up and down Main Street. Even if Main Street is an interstate highway.

Today’s reality is that many of Vail’s workers, municipal employees, business owners and first responders live in Avon, Edwards and Eagle. The economic engine that is Vail Resorts provides county coffers with the revenue needed to maintain, operate and improve the quality of life in the county. “Gypsum’s airport” brings visitors destined for Beaver Creek. People from Eagle spend money in Vail. And we all recreate and enjoy the terrain that showcases this place, both geographically and in our hearts and minds.

Beyond the day-to-day practicalities of cooperation, we all share the same concerns as they pertain to successfully operating our businesses and managing our homes while we all face issues such as high fuels costs, labor force acquisition, worker housing and the need to establish a year- round, sustainable economy. Yet many still seem to be bogged down in attitudes and outlooks that often present unnecessary roadblocks to progress. We say, that way of thinking is archaic and obstructionist.

As we grow, we are presented with opportunities that, if seized by all stakeholders, no matter where they live, can take us down the yellow brick road to increased prosperity. There is strength in numbers and with a united, valley-wide community working together, we can responsibly serve all our business, community and political constituents and work toward the real goal of making this place thrive.

Perhaps we should all take a moment to reflect on a principle learned in grade school ” to play well with others. Of course, we all know there are schoolyard bullies, but they rarely triumph in the long run and can always be defeated by a well-organized vanguard of like-minded individuals. The Vail Valley is a world-class destination and to keep it that way it will take a spirit of collegiality and commitment.

“Nothing ventured, nothing gained.” Perhaps if we venture to act as one, we’ll gain. This isn’t Washington, D.C. We don’t have to posture, protect turf, pander to outmoded ideas or be intransigent for the sake of slapping our cronies on the back. … We can actually look forward and pull together.

So the next time you hear the Partnership discuss its vision, remember our vision includes you. No matter what “valley” you live in. Working together, we can get there.

Michael Kurz is president and chief operating officer of the Vail Valley Partnership. Reach him at 970-476-1000.


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