Flush factor tells the true tale
VAIL ” One of the best measures of how many skiers, snowboarders and other visitors were in town during the Christmas and New Year’s holiday won’t come from Vail’s renowned Back Bowls, but from another set of bowls ” toilet bowls.
For fear of violating federal rules governing publicly traded companies, Vail Resorts will not say during ski season how many people hit the slopes, so those numbers have to be generated from the trio of wastewater treatment plants serving the Vail and Beaver Creek resorts.
And those numbers showed a 2.5 percent increase in wastewater treatment volume over last year’s holidays.
Vail’s skier numbers this holiday look to be in a statistical dead heat with those logged during last year’s holiday. Last year, the Vail wastewater treatment plant handled 20.38 million gallons of wastewater from Dec. 24 until Jan. 2. During the same period this year, the plant handled 20.34 million gallons.
Based on an average of 100 gallons per person, per day, Vail had an average of 20,340 people per day using the system.
Beaver Creek was much busier than Vail, based on the wastewater volume at the Avon treatment plant, which is downstream from the resort. From Dec. 24 until Jan. 2 this year, the plant handled 24.66 million gallons compared to 23.8 million last year.
That’s a 3.6 percent increase and translates into 24,660 people in the Avon-Beaver Creek area.
At the Edwards wastewater treatment plant, which handles excess demand from the other two plants, volume was up, too. It saw a 4.8 percent increase, from 12.94 million gallons to 13.56 million. That increase indicates there were 13,560 people in the Edwards, Arrowhead and Cordillera area.
Another measure of the number of people in the High Country ” vehicles passing through the Eisenhower Tunnel ” set a new winter record Sunday with 2,982 eastbound vehicles coursing the tunnel from 11 a.m. until noon. That’s the ninth-highest count at the tunnel, where summer numbers regularly exceed those of winter.