Vail Community Meeting a good chance to gather
Plenty of hugs, handshakes shared at the first March get-together since 2019
The Vail Community Meeting in March is usually pretty upbeat, a chance for people to gather toward the end of a long winter. This year’s edition brought even more community camaraderie.
Tuesday’s meeting was the first such gathering since 2019, since the COVID-19 pandemic relegated the past two events to simple online updates.
People from around town talked with town employees about various initiatives and projects, from housing to a focus on sustainable tourism. There were also updates about the town’s finances, including the fact the town has seen record sales tax collections for nearly a year.
Vail Mountain chief Beth Howard also provided an update on the season so far. Howard noted that the mountain’s recent announcement it would stay open until May 1 will create the resort’s longest-ever ski season.
“I know the season’s been challenging,” Howard said adding she hopes the season can end on a positive note.
“The Vail Community has stayed strong,” Howard said, adding that she’s proud of the team that kept the mountain running over the winter.
Besides the updates, there were also handshakes and hugs all around, before and after the presentations, people catching up both as an early sign of spring and a chance to reconnect after who knows how long.
‘I always enjoy it’
“It’s a lot of fun — I always enjoy it,” longtime resident Charlie Langmaid said. “I see people I haven’t seen in a while.”
Langmaid is a proud dad these days, since his daughter, Kim, is now Vail’s mayor.
Kim Langmaid said she was enjoying her first community meeting as mayor, particularly after two years of pandemic restrictions. In-person contact is the best kind of contact, she said. “This is much better than communicating by email,” she added.
Bobby Lipnick has long owned a home in Vail, but is a relatively recent full-time resident.
“We communicate by seeing each other,” Lipnick said, adding that in-person conversation can help advance community priorities including housing, transit and the town’s relationship with Vail Resorts.
“That’s how we grow,” he added.
Longtime resident Charlynn Canada said she was happy to see the in-person presentation of this year’s Vail Trailblazer Award to Terry Minger, the town’s second Town Manager.
“I’m glad they’re getting the acknowledgment they deserve,” Canada said.
After receiving his award, Minger spoke about the town’s growth since his 10-year stint as manager, from 1969-1979.
A new generation of leaders
Minger noted that the current Vail Town Council has a new generation of leaders, since he worked with the parents of Langmaid, Pete Seibert and Jonathan Staufer.
“It’s nice to see members of the community who grew up here now taking a leadership role,” Minger said.
And, while Minger over the years has a number of resort-town stops on his lengthy resume, “This is where I keep coming back,” he said. “This place shaped me. We shaped it a little bit, too … but (Vail) changed my life. It enabled me to have the career I’ve had.”
While 50 years seems like a long time, Minger noted that Vail is still a young place. Vail’s first sister city, St. Moritz, Switzerland, dates back to the year 1100 or so, and has seen Roman legions, world wars and more. The place is still thriving, Minger said.
Vail can be a part of the future of the ski industry, Minger said. Some of the industry’s concerns, particularly about a warming climate, doesn’t mean the resort can’t thrive into the future, he said.
Aside from the resort’s elevation, “that mountain is unique,” he said. “It’s magic, and you can’t capture that anywhere else.”
Vail has started really looking at its historic significance since Vail Mountain’s 50th anniversary in 2012 and the town’s 50th anniversary in 2016.
Longtime local Packy Walker is putting together another Vail Pioneers Weekend in August of this year. Walker was at the Tuesday meeting of course, and shared as many handshakes and hugs as anyone.
“It’s nice to be able to breathe on people again,” Walker said.