Early clock change means dark mornings | VailDaily.com

Early clock change means dark mornings

Donna Gray
Vail, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” If it was up to Craig Petersen we’d have daylight-saving time year round.

Thanks to Congress, this year daylight-saving time will begin three weeks early and last an extra week in the fall. The new start-and-stop dates were established in the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which set the second Sunday in March and the first Sunday in November as the new beginning and ending dates.

Previously, the time changed on the first Sunday in April and the last Sunday in October.

Petersen likes the change, he said.

“It should never go away because of the workforce,” said Petersen, who owns Ajax Bike and Sport in Carbondale and Aspen. He said a little more daylight would make the drive on Highway 82 safer. “At night the drive from Aspen is brutal.”

More daytime won’t hurt business, either.

“Business-wise, I find as soon as it’s staying light after 6, our customer base grows,” he said.

While Congress made the change to save electricity, the decision could have unintended consequences.

Electronic devices such as computers and telephone systems with pre-programmed calendars and time settings will have to be reset, said Ron Vincent, owner of Alpine Telecommunications in Glenwood Springs.

Phone systems “are going to be looking to the first week in April (to change their times). That won’t happen. So you’ll have to go in and manually change it,” he said, which will make some extra work for him.

“I think I’ll start drinking again,” he quipped.

Personal computers can be easily changed with a “patch” or mini software program designed to make the change, he said.

Microsoft’s new operating system, Vista, is programmed for the early clock change.

Cell phones won’t be affected.

“All (cell phone) clocks are adjusted centrally” by service providers. That’s why phones display the correct time no matter where you’re located, Vincent said.

Whether or not the new daylight-saving time will actually save energy as Congress hopes remains to be seen.

Gary Goodson, associate director of Community Office For Resource Efficiency in Aspen, said he is skeptical.

“I’m not sure it’s the most effective thing to do,” he said, “Especially because of the potential computer glitches. It’s window dressing … There’s so much more we can do.”

Americans started observing Daylight Saving Time during World War I, turning clocks forward in spring and back fall to earn extra hours for the American war machine at home. States and communities followed the practice at random until the 1966 Uniform Time Act, which standardized Daylight Savings Time.

What the early time change means for area skiers is less sun on the slopes for the day, Aspen Skiing Co. officials said. The company had considered keeping chairlifts open later, but decided against it.

Aspen Times reporter Charles Agar contributed to this report.

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