How can Vail not be a town?
What is all this silly talk about the town of Vail not being a town? It’s in the name right there in my opening sentence. Can’t you people see it? Frankly, I don’t think this is really a point worth arguing. It’s like debating whether fish tastes fishy.What do people expect?I have never once in the past few decades heard the phrase “The resort of Vail” unless the lip mover was inebriated and clumsily switching around the words for Vail Resorts, which is most definitely a resort and not a town.Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t understand the confusion.A town is defined as a municipality smaller than a city with a fixed boundary that can also act as an administrative arm of a county. A resort is a frequently visited location providing recreation, relaxation and entertainment as an escape from reality.The town of Vail is as real as it gets around here. Just ask anyone who pays rent.The only point attempted to be made by some is a basic chicken-or-the-egg question, as if the answer somehow paints the town with a brushed facade of illegitimacy. (See what I mean? “Paint the resort” sounds stupid, right?)Try telling that to the hundreds of folks who have served on town councils, boards, commissions and such over the past four decades.I have not seen him in years, but I seriously doubt the town’s firstborn, Eric Steinberg, regales folks with stories of being born and raised in a resort. I’m sure he still displays plenty of pride about the ski mountain, but the town is where his family planted their roots. All three of my boys were born in the town of Vail, as well, and I can’t imagine them making up anything cooler than that as it is. Two out of three are not aware of this fact yet, but the oldest, who moved away to college in Florida last year, is only now beginning to understand the uniqueness of his childhood environment.I do believe it might be an added bonus in certain female situations, as well.Anyway, a town has a public works facility. A resort has private facilities. A town has an economic lower, middle, upper and, in Vail’s case, stratospheric class. A resort is pretty much limited to the latter. A resort manager makes double the coin of a town manager. One is funded by taxes and the other by fees (aka, taxes wearing lipstick).A town is full-fledged government agency dependent upon taxpayers for assistance. A resort more or less depends upon stockholders and cannot not turn to a government for assistance (no fair bringing up Beaver Creek and Avon; this is my rant, not yours).A town has children, schools, old geezers, young punks, babies and a hospital to take care of all three, gas stations, grocery stores, a library, fast food, slow food, a bus system, a municipal court, police, fire and community development departments, a town attorney, clerk, manager, and manager-assistant who all work in the town hall.And I have never heard of a resort losing a Wendy’s for a fire station.Take Beaver Creek, please.No, that’s a joke, but Beaver Creek is a resort, not a town. It should be painfully obvious to anyone who has to stop at a gate and ask permission before entering. Or Aspen, which is a resort developed around an existing town as opposed to a town developed around a resort.Does it really make a difference?Every Thursday the Vail Daily has a feature called “Sports Around the Town,” presumably because “Sports Around the Resort” sounds like a hotel flier handed out by concierges .Could a resort have jokes like this: How do you spell “mandate” in the town of Vail? R-E-V-O-T-E.HA-HA-HA-HA-HA! I don’t think so.So personally I see nothing wrong with calling Vail a resort town. It’s not like claiming discovery of a square circle or a married bachelor. The two can actually handle standing side by side without feeling the need to compete.To top things off, and really put it all in perspective, last Saturday’s Denver Post had a wonderfully in-depth article on Toby Dawson, covering his past, present and future as a local-kid-done-good. The lower photo on page 20A had the following tag line: “Deb Dawson hugs her son after the 27-year-old Olympic medalist was honored Wednesday by the city of Vail with a manhole cover …”Did you catch that? “City” of Vail.And to think folks were confused before.Richard Carnes of Edwards writes a weekly column for the Daily. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Vail, Colorado