Bows, boxes and baubles, oh boy!
Marketing executives of Vail Village have long capitalized on our allure of Swiss and Austrian influences. Our newly renovated cobblestone streets reflect that strategy. Personally, I think that the new cobblestone are awkward. More often than not, I catch the heel of my shoe in an uneven wedge. But I like the European feel. Planners, marketers and villagers alike, we have a common goal. Rebuild Vail. Make her one that we all can feel comfortable in as we walk her streets. Can those who wear stilettos, moon boots and clogs still share a common path? I think so. Those different souls can be walking on one common avenue to the sole purpose of Vail. As we look at the cranes, backhoes and machines digging up the old roads that we all have come to depend upon, how are we feeling about such change? Have you found a new avenue to one that might not before now have existed? I haven’t. I miss my good deal on parking that was near the Marriott in Lionshead. I could park for the day (weekends included) for $10. No more. Yes, I am a bit sore about this one. One of the last “honest” haunts of parking for locals, lost to a crane and the tools of tomorrow. What to do now with the revenues that Vail has from the convention center “yes” vote a few years back, now a “no”? Build more parking. For example, allow your guest to get to ski school. I think of the baseball movie filmed in Iowa. They said, “Build it, and they will come.” Do you remember that film? “Field of Dreams.” It got under your skin. Vail needs to get under the visitor’s skin. I say, let’s make good from the overwhelming loss of the convention center not passing. Let’s put all of the money already allocated from past voters agreeing to a convention center toward more parking in Vail. Simple math, really. Vail Mountain is our future. No. 1. Denver guests and out-of-staters want to park and play. No. 2. Downvalley people want to park and play, too.That’s why we work so hard, all day, any day, all night, to be in the Vail Valley. The more who work, park; the more who pay to ski, eat, shop, enjoy and buy; the more that Vail has to offer. But in addition to this group, could Vail add another dimension?Eagle County ID required? The revenue now held in Vail’s coffers could well be applied to an open lot with a small discount for those downvalley folk so loyal to our mountain. Just a thought. I happen to be one of those folk. I enjoy my jaunts down the cobblestone streets of Vail Village. I just rambled down Bridge Street the other day and up to Golden Peak. Some family members are giving our daughter the gift of ski school for Christmas. It is a fabulous local program offered by Vail Resorts for kids of Vail and downvalley called Build Your Own Team. Local parents can get a team of six kids together and have the same teacher and group paired for any six days of the season. Cool! I applaud Vail Resorts looking to make things happen for guests and locals alike. After I filled the ski school coffers, I continued my walk along the streets of Vail. I popped into a ski shop. A friendly voice working there offered, “Do you want to buy a great sled?’ I looked at it and blurted out, “Oh, we already have that sled. We got it at the dump!”How dreadfully embarrassing. I forgot that I was shopping in swishy Vail for the moment and slipped that my son picked up a great sled one day at the dump while he was helping his dad with a home renovation project. Oh, well. Thank goodness for the smallness of our big valley. The gal working there looked up, and we instantly recognized one another as old friends. See, those cobblestone roads of Vail can lead back to heartfelt friends not seen for some time! Oh, how I love my days in the village.We got to chatting, and she told me of her daughter’s dump-like tales regarding trash. Her daughter studied in Switzerland. With a chuckle, she told me how her daughter basically furnished her college apartment with the help of Swiss Trash Day. We said our goodbyes, and I kept my dignity due to her funny, shared story about the joys of trash!Curiously, I Googled “Swiss Trash Day” when I returned home from my day in the village. I just had to learn more. A great article from the International Herald Tribune popped up. About Zurich it said, “The most notable thing about garbage in this picture-perfect medieval city is that it’s nearly impossible to find any.”Household trash is collected just once a week there, with great precision, just for two hours, with an official city trash bag costing about 5 Swiss francs or $4.25. Such a steep price turns everyone into a recycler. I read that stores such as IKEA use far less packing material so that purchasers won’t stop buying, and that appliances move out of stores “almost naked.” And the piles of “free” things neatly set next to the official trash bags are great treasures to be found by dutiful seekers on Swiss Trash Day. Kind of like my son’s sled found at the Eagle County dump. He is a young recycler.I learned a lot from my walk down Bridge Street. The charm of Vail is especially inviting during the holidays. The store workers always are smiling and are often a friend not seen for some time. As you do your last-minute holiday errands in and around Vail, be thoughtful of the Swiss with your packaging. Don’t overdo with boxes, bows and paper. Be clever, and think if you only had one $4.25 bag for your entire trash for the week, how could you package it with the vision of recycling in mind? Happy shopping this week. Shop your way down a favorite street, and don’t forget to talk with some of the people working in the stores you visit. You may learn a fun fact or two!Elizabeth H. Chicoine of Eagle writes a weekly column for the Daily. She can be reached at email@example.comVail, Colorado