And a year has gone by |

And a year has gone by

Tom Boyd

Sitting on my desk, tucked safely in a corner, is a tall, thin, bound volume.It is slightly torn, slightly tattered. It is dull gray in color and unassuming in stature, though taller than the trade magazines, media guides, stylebooks and dictionaries that prop it upright. Stenciled on its binder is this moniker: THE VAIL TRAIL 1965-1966 OCT.When the cacophony subsides for a moment in this office, when the drive toward deadline hesitates, I’ll pull down this big gray volume and open up its pages. I’ll read the Skipper’s old columns, look at pictures of Vail’s old guard, check out the picture of my dad jumping the cliffs under Chair 4, and take a moment to stop, think, and get back to the Vail Trail’s roots.Later this year, this paper will celebrate its 40th anniversary. But right now, we have a different sort of anniversary coming up.It was a year ago this week that a large group of people, most of them unfamiliar, gathered in the Vail Trail’s offices and told us the Knox family newspaper had been purchased. The Knox dream had come to a close, and 24 hours later, we were working for Colorado Mountain News Media (CMNM, for short), which owns the Vail Daily. We had new offices, a new publisher, and a completely new environment around us.For the first few weeks we spent most of our time getting on our feet, figuring out where the power outlets were, learning new computer programs, and generally trying to get by without David O. Williams, who had left a huge gap in leadership with his departure.As I sorted through the rubble left over from the purchase, and looked at ways to rebuild, I often thumbed through the dusty old volumes left in my care. If a small newspaper is run well, I think, it conjures a sense of spirit in a community. It acts as a kind of forum, a kind of public park in print, where all the different people in town can gather. In the pages of our community paper, we see ourselves, and we see our neighbors, and we create a history of who we are.In the old volumes, I see all the neighbors in Old Vail, a town like there had never been before and there will never be again. The grainy, black-and-white photographs come alive in my mind, they scroll like old movies and fade to Technicolor. Glossed by the sheen of time, these days have taken on mythic status. I wonder, when I look back, what happened to that town. How did we grow from that little place to become what we are today? Is there anything left of that old spirit, and if so, can we breathe it back into life?Ironically, it is CMNM which is giving us the opportunity to try. The new company, big (by Vail standards), and overseen by a far-away base in Reno, Nevada, has picked up the little ol’ Vail Trail and put it back on its feet. Go ahead, they say, give it a try.And that, if anything, tells me what the new Vail is all about.A year after being taken over, we have figured out where all the power outlets are, we’ve learned the new computer programs (well, most of them anyway), and most of all, we’ve figured out the corporate shuffle and turned it into a dance.So we dance the dance, and we also wage our small battles.Imagine, for a moment, if the Vail Trail weren’t here who would be left to disagree with Don Rogers and Steve Pope? What would this valley be if there was no one to step in and stand up to those two when they veered off course, as they recently did with the Eaton open space deal?Without the Vail Trail, there would only be one version of the story, probably told by someone who doesn’t remember the way it used to be, or doesn’t care. Without us, the legacy fades, and the reader, in the end, would suffer. VTTom Boyd can be reached at

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