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Bring on the windmills

Matt ZalaznickVail, CO Colorado

Vail hasn’t had as outstanding an idea as littering the golf course with glowing windmills since its brief flirtation with the Fred Flintstone design for the ill-fated conference center. Vail’s reputation for stodginess is growing faster than the dreaded tamarisk, and, like a noxious weed, all the life is being sucked out of this once way more jubilant ski town. So long to the wild edginess of the Great Race. Hello to the Disney World harmlessness of Snow Daze and Spring Back to Vail. Nowadays, visitors come barreling into Vail only to see a herd of cranes and no place to park. If they are lucky enough to find a place to stash the Land Rover for the day, they then have to struggle into their ski boots in a gloomy, chilly parking garage, their Thinsulated butts only inches from the growling SUVs of other skiers and snowboarders darting for the last vacant silver of asphalt.This is followed by a half-mile stumble over cobblestone to the mountain, where, once they’re on the $90-a-day slopes, they get buy $18 hamburgers and try not to crash into those adrenaline-spiking yellow signs that say SLOW DOWN, SPACE NOT SPEED, CAUTION SLOW ZONE, DON’T GO SO FAST, DON’T FEED THE BEARS, THIS AREA CLOSED FOR SASQUATCH BREEDING – SKI SLOWLY. The cranes and the SLOW signs may be necessary evils in a ski resort that’s expanding exponentially (some might say “becoming too crowded”), but the super-goofiness of 2,700 windmills spinning and sparkling on the golf course will put a zing the step of day and destination skiers alike as they navigate the growing inconveniences of enjoying to the white stuff. Some folks argue Vail is deteriorating as a ski town because the middle class is fleeing downvalley. But tourists don’t really care who lives in the houses they pass on their way to City Market. I think a little silliness – and lots of windmills – will go a lot farther toward helping Vail seem fun again. The windmills also will be a fresh breeze of environmental edification in the money-making machine that is Vail Village. Among all the store windows commanding people to buy things – mansions, furs, gold amulets, more vacations , more furs, extra amulets – why not a little warning about sustainability? On the other hand, a new standard for wasting another valuable resource – time – has been achieved by a different local government entity. The county’s gussied up cable channel – ecoTV – hit the airwaves recently and it’s about as riveting as CSPAN12 – the one where they replay meetings of the House sub-committee on chamber music, lint rollers and narcolepsy. The county, however, touts its channel as a way to get “unfiltered” information out to the residents of Eagle County. The station’s director said the channel is necessary because the government may have “news” to disseminate that the media doesn’t find newsworthy. It’s not newsworthy, generally, because it’s either really dull or unashamedly self-promoting. And for a county now run by Democrats, the station’s really not all that democratic. By that I mean, “state news channel” and “government TV” are the kinds of phrases you hear in stories about North Korea, Iran and Turkmenistan such as, “Korean state TV today reported how the amazingly marvelous dear leader – while writing poems and symphonies of indescribable beauty, solving previously impenetrable algebra problems, and kayaking blindfolded down waterfalls the world’s most extreme boaters have called un-navigable – bravely and brilliantly tested a missile he will use to vanquish the yellow-bellied, poetry-hating, immoral, imperialist American mega-satan.” “The Arn Menconi Show”? “Behind the Scenes: The County Recycling Program”? “Planning and Zoning: Up Close and Personal”? You don’t need 2,700 light bulbs to see through this drowsy propaganda.I’d rather watcher 2,700 windmills spin under the Gore Range. I want my cable channel back. The narcolepsy committee’s meeting. Assistant Managing Editor Matt Zalaznick can be reached at 748-2926, or mzalaznick@vaildaily.com. Check out his blog at http://www.vaildaily.com/section/BLOG


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