‘Flush factor’ shows fewer people in town | VailDaily.com

‘Flush factor’ shows fewer people in town

NWS Presidents Day SM 2-21

VAIL – Despite one of the best snow years in recent memory, the tale of the toilet bowls shows fewer people than last year were in town over Presidents Day weekend.Publicly traded Vail Resorts, owner of Vail and Beaver Creek mountains, doesn’t release skier numbers prior to its quarterly earnings reports. So perhaps the best way to tell how many visitors were in town is to take a look at how much wastewater was treated by the Eagle River Water and Sanitation District.Hilary Haakenson, sales associate at Cogswell Gallery in Vail Village, said the store saw a fair amount of business, but nothing record-breaking.”We think it was a little bit slower than in the past,” she said. “Maybe there was so much snow that everybody was on the hill.”The total volume of wastewater treated from Vail to Cordillera was down 4.4 percent from last year. But the volume was up 10.5 percent over 2004. The Vail wastewater plant treated 5.36 million gallons from Feb. 18 to 20, down 3 percent from last year. Based on an average of 100 gallons per person per day, there was an average of 17,867 people per day in Vail. The town has a year-round population of about 4,600 people.Troy Goldberg of Troy’s Ski Shop in Vail Village said business really picked up on Saturday after a slow Friday, and has continued to be strong through this week.”We were rocking Saturday and Sunday,” he said. “Most of (the visitors) stayed here through the week.”Rentals through the roofThe Avon plant, which treats wastewater from Beaver Creek, Minturn, Avon and Bachelor Gulch, treated 6.32 million gallons of wastewater during the holiday weekend, down 8.3 percent from last year. During the same weekend last year, the plant treated 6.89 million gallons. But last year’s number were up dramatically over 2004.This year’s wastewater numbers at the Avon plant equate to 21,067 people in the area per day.At Christy Sports in Beaver Creek, demand for rentals was through the roof, said Manager Jeff Evans.”It was crazy,” he said. “I was shocked at how busy it was.”Evans said business was up 20 percent over last year.The only plant that saw more wastewater than last year was Edwards. That plant treats water from Edwards, Cordillera and Singletree. It treated 3.67 million gallons of water over the three-day weekend. Last year, the plant treated 3.63 million gallons.This year’s numbers equate to an average of 12,233 people in the Edwards area every day.’It’s usually busier’Tom Higgins, owner of American Ski Exchange in Vail Village, said he was very pleased with business. He said he saw mostly visitors from outside Colorado. Colorado Passes, popular among Front Range visitors, were blacked out over the weekend.”We’d like to keep the momentum rolling till the end of March,” he said.Steve Taylor, salesperson at Currents Fine Jewelers in Vail Village, said the store was slower than it normally is over Presidents’ Day weekend.”It’s usually busier than this,” he said. “(Visitors are) probably focusing on the snow.”Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14623, or estoner@vaildaily.com.Vail, Colorado

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