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Ferry takes the gloves off

Kaye Ferry

Yeah, and if you believe that, I’ve got a bridge to sell you!

Come on, Adam. Do you really believe that you can sell that baloney?

This is an educated and aware community that isn’t about to fall for your laying the groundwork for a merchant pass price increase while blaming someone else. The word has been on the street for some time now that we should all brace ourselves for a whopping increase up here, while the Denver market skates on a discounted plan.



For those of you who missed my Denver Post comments, here they are: “Last year there was a $50 difference between the Buddy Pass and the Colorado Pass. Now the difference between skiing Summit County and Vail is $20. Anyone in their right mind will come to Vail for one day for $20. It’s more enticement for people to be up here, and I think this will have an even more severe impact on us here.” That was Aug. 20.

My other statement was: “The best thing we can do is bite the bullet and say they are coming. Now what are we going to do with them? It’s not the existence of the day skier that troubles us. It’s what to do with them once they are here.” That was on June 29.



Both were in response to the parking issue created on weekends. If anyone can construe that as an attack on the Front Range skier, it’s only because they have a motive for misconstruing. And by the way, no other person from the VCBA board was interviewed, much less quoted.

And in case you haven’t followed it, the Buddy Pass this year is $299. An additional $20 gets you 10 days in Vail.

But more to the point, let’s get this perfectly clear, once and for all. You can search high and low and you will NEVER find that I have EVER been critical of the Colorado Pass holders or the Front Range skier. And neither has any VCBA board member.



What we have been critical of and will remain critical of are the attendant parking issues. That’s the problem.

But it’s Vail Resorts’ problem that they’ve made ours. Nonetheless, it should be Vail Resorts’ problem to solve.

And if they are making $40 million off of those passes annually, they surely have enough money to solve that problem. Lest you forget what that looks like, that is $40,000,000. ANNUALLY.

If I dealt in that many zeros ANNUALLY – on just one product – I’d quit complaining and step up to the plate and solve whatever problems were at my door, especially if I created them. And don’t forget, this is year four of the program. Let’s see, $40,000,000 X 4 = $160,000,000. Maybe it’s also time to stop whining.

If – I guess it’s really when – the merchant ski pass price is raised, it is NOT the fault of Kaye Ferry or the VCBA or anybody else that Adam is trying to hang out to dry. It’s because there’s a big old gorilla lurking in the weeds trying to find a scapegoat for what it’s already planning to do.

It’s only a rumor, but I’ve heard between $100 and $200 is the increase we can expect. And if it happens this year, it can’t be blamed on anyone but Vail Resorts.

So to you, Adam, here’s my response: Tell it to someone else, because there’s no one here that will buy your logic, or lack of it. But, make no mistake, we can all smell a setup. You’ve already decided to raise the merchant passes, and you’re trying to shift the blame.

What I’m really surprised at is the manipulation of the facts. You and I had this discussion face to face last March, and you now perfectly well that parking has been my only issue with the sale of these passes.

Why would you publicly try to bend the truth? Just to make you look like the good guy? We all know that I’ll never win that prize, but dear man, neither will you. The difference is that I’m not willing to misrepresent the facts in the futile attempt to win a popularity contest. And I am willing to be responsible for my own decisions. I don’t try to pass the buck. You’re a Democrat. Don’t you remember where the buck is supposed to stop?

Oh that it were that I had that much influence! Yet I am flattered that the CEO of Vail Resorts would imply that single-handedly I have the ability to shape the corporate policy of a company traded on the NY Stock Exchange. Maybe you should put me on the board and pay me if I’m that good. Wow!

And by the way, if you bump into Adam on the street, tell him what you think of his plan to raise the price of your passes. Because, don’t be fooled, that’s exactly what he plans to do.

If I really had that much power, merchant pass prices would stay where they are or be lowered. So I guess we’ll ultimately see who’s calling the shots.

Misc.

The real mouth is the guy in Saturday’s Tipsline. The only quotes attributable to me in either article are listed above. Get your story straight. At least learn to read. Better yet, take your own advise – verify. To clear this up, I’m including portions of the letter I sent to the Post on 7/6 in response to the first article. They did not print it: probably not controversial enough.

Dear Denver Post Editor:

Vail, not unlike many other resorts in America, is alive but struggling. Reasons range from those peculiar to Vail as an aging resort that needs a facelift, to a sagging economy, to the vestiges of a terrorist attack, to a war that commenced at the height of our primary season.

And while no one is happy with the cumulative results of that list, certainly none of us lacks confidence in the community’s ability to arrive at solutions for the short term. As for the long term, Vail is currently about to begin a renovation cycle not to be rivaled by any other resort in recent memory. Virtually millions of public and private redevelopment dollars are about to be infused into a wide variety of projects which will virtually change the face and future of Vail.

While several business owners feel that the guests currently visiting our town have changed, no longer fitting the past demographics, we all welcome a wide variety of guests to our resort. In fact, there has been an effort through our marketing to be more inclusive than perhaps we have been in the past.

It is fair to say, however, that the extreme influx of discounted pass skiers has presented a few challenges. Parking, of course, is the main concern of the business community. The parking issue effects not only our Front Range visitor but our employees and local guests as well. Its solution remains a number one priority for this winter. And while it represents some hurdles for us, that pales by comparison to the very real safety concerns that we all share.

As far as our product mix is concerned, I think it’s fair to say that it is no different than any other resort with some very expensive items as well as a wide variety of reasonably priced merchandise.

So my suggestion to all would be this. Let’s not draw conclusions inappropriately. There is certainly no animosity from the business community towards any of our guests, quite the contrary. We are simply trying to run successful businesses which in the long run will benefit our customer and the town.

We look forward to your visits. And we hope that you will spend time not only skiing on the best mountain in the world but also dining and shopping in some of the wonderful establishments that have become a Vail tradition.

Kaye Ferry

Vail, Colorado

Do your part: Call them and write them.

To contact the Town Council call 479-1860, ext. 8, or e-mail towncouncil@ci.vail.co.us. To contact Vail Resorts call 476-5601 or e-mail vailinfo@vailresorts.com For past columns, vaildaily.com-search:ferry.

Kaye Ferry, founding president of the Vail Chamber and Business Association, is a longtime observer of Vail government. She writes a weekly column for the Daily.


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