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Beaver Creek battle beyond belief

A few years ago, our family of five spent a month or so traveling Europe by train.Our thirst for sharing the European world with our boys was quenched with such sights as the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the canals of Venice, the walls of Berlin, the Coliseum of Rome and the frozen volcanic sands of time in Pompeii. Yet one place – one thing – still stands out in their young, impressionable minds as the “bestest memory of the trip.”That particular memory began with a 30-minute boat ride along the shores of Lake Lucerne, Switzerland, followed by a half-hour cogwheel train up the world’s steepest railway (grades up to 48 percent) to the top of Mt. Pilatus, where Dad found the Eichoff Brewery – the highest beer tap in the Alps. What the boys found, however, and for eternity is etched in their minds as the highlight of our entire journey, was the wheeled toboggan that snaked its way through the beautiful narrow valley that masquerades during winter as a ski slope.Yep, it was the Mt. Pilatus Alpine Slide.History, beauty and culture on a grand scale provided by parents for their own kids’ personal benefit were replaced in an instant by oversized skateboards with brakes on a concrete track.Yet we have never looked back with so much as an ounce of regret. In fact, they let me stand in line for my first ride with 12 ounces of the Eichoff’s finest in a frosty mug. We had a blast and would return for a myriad of reasons, the alpine slide included.We have also enjoyed alpine slides as a family in Jackson, Wyo., and over in Breckenridge. The one in Jackson has a mini-golf course, climbing wall, bungee jumping and horse rides with hotels, restaurants and bars scattered throughout a shopping area.Sound familiar?I truly do not understand what all the hubbub is about.For five months of the year the Haymeadow area is covered with thousands of tourists and locals, many screaming shouts of joy and jubilation as they slide to a stop where a few thousand more are milling about, having snowball fights, watching others slip and slide, eating, drinking and shopping in the many establishments offered, and just generally enjoying their vacations or day’s off. When the lifts close, the snowguns blast away for hours at decibels higher than Cacioppo at a Menconi fundraiser. (Man, I miss that guy.)Take away one month in each shoulder season and it is again covered for the other five months, but not nearly as dense, with mini golf, climbing walls, bungee jumping, horse rides, people shouting “Yeehaw,” laughing, hiking, drinking and shopping in the many establishments offered, and just generally enjoying their vacations or days off.Again, what’s the big deal?By any chance do you suppose a few of the vocal members of that other homeowners association up the road have second homes in Beaver Creek? They sure sound like the same over-funded sycophants, full of veiled threats and enough stretching of the facts to cover their lawyer’s backside up until the moment a judge takes a look and says, “Quit wasting my time.”And let’s be real clear here while passing the line-toeing bottle. I have never worked for Vail Resorts nor shall I ever. I do not work for the Vail Daily, have met the new publisher only once, share a few beers with the editor occasionally and rarely agree with any of them on anything, so therefore have no reason to promote this slide other than the fact that I believe it will be a wonderful amenity for Beaver Creek, which by the way is a year-round resort run by a board of directors, not a town run by a mayor.Claiming this is a “declaration of war” is a tad extreme, don’t you think? What’s next, daily fears from an aging insurgency planting IEDs disguised as baby marmots to impede construction? Come on, people, chill out. It’s just a slide for kids and adults to have a little summer fun.This certainly isn’t the end of the world. But if you’re taking it that seriously, then perhaps you need to find another world to enjoy. Threatening to move away accomplishes nothing more than our never having to listen to your personal issues again. Or you could turn this into a positive action for all of Beaver Creek and the rest of Happy Valley by providing input for the design, visual appeal, marketing or even the name of the silly thing.How about the Gerald R. Ford (Pre) Memorial Slide? Or maybe just “The President,” or “The Ford,” or “The Jerry” or something along those lines? How many of you remember where the Rose Bowl came from? Not many, I’m sure, but instead of people always wondering about its origins. The name for this alpine slide could be one that sticks for eternity.Just like my kids’ memories.Richard Carnes of Edwards writes a weekly column for the Daily. He can be reached at poor@vail.netVail Daily, Vail Colorado CO


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