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Letters to the editor

editor@vaildaily.com

I’m a 22-year valley resident, ski instructor fellow who has felt all these parking pains. I think that the only immediate remedy for our parking problem is this: I’m based out of Gold Peak and every day this winter when I was riding up Chair 6 on my way to the back, I’d look over my shoulder and wonder about the possibilities of parking cars on Ford Park.

Of course, there will be plenty of concern for the grass and how much it would cost to plow it and such, but there is room for several hundred cars. It will cost money to maintain, and it will take probably six to eight people to work. But I think it is a real possibility.

I think a good story for you if you have the time is to maybe call the turf management professor at Colorado State, or I know the New Mexico University in Las Cruces has a great turf management program, and just ask them how well grass would recover from that type of wear.

I think the field could be plowed well enough that the grass wasn’t really damaged and that a thin hard layer of snow could pretty much be maintained. At least enough of one to try and protect the grass below. …

Say 300 cars, $10 bucks a pop, $3,000 a day or say, give or take. I really think you should follow up and when this works out you and I can take credit and the town will have a party for us. Why let that space go to waste all winter long because really, we don’t have any other space, and no other options. PERIOD.

This has been an issue year after year, and if we want to invite new guests or old ones who now turn away because of the $26 parking tickets they have gotten when parking on the Frontage Road, we need to offer some new choices.

We could throw the story into the Rocky Mountain News and the Post next fall, “VAIL OFFERS 400 NEW PARKING SPACES,” or whatever. I think you get my point. The soccer field across the river is also available.

Tavius Sims

Avon

Full of holes

It appears strange, some might say typical, that two days after Sitzmark Lodge owner Bob Fritch’s very factual letter regarding the proposed conference center, you would run a front page article about the “high demand” for this facility, followed by an editorial that denigrates the people who want to make sure the voters get what they voted for.

This is line with your reporting of the Keystone center’s $1 million per year loss a week after the election. The same holds true for the conference center study, which was circulated in closely tied groups of supporters and was only submitted to the scrutiny of the public after the election.

The study itself is so full of holes a blind man could shoot a dart through it.

I have been in the hotel business for 50 years and have my doubts about all those groups just waiting to book Vail if we only had a convention center. The organizers who say they would be interested can be put into three categories. Those who would be generally interested in anything; those who want to be invited for a “site visit” (read “free weekend with the family”); and those who actually book, representing a minute percentage of the total.

I have friends, decision makers in the corporate world, who all agree that the trend in group business is generally one of cutbacks and savings. Any big group meetings, if not totally cancelled, are held near to a major airport, time and cost of transportation being the key factors.

According to the proponents’ own study, most of the groups have an audience of 100 people. What reason could we possibly have to build a $50 million facility when we have a number of lodges that can fill that need?

With the Four Seasons becoming a reality and Vail Plaza Hotel moving closer to becoming one, we have a number of hotels that can take care of most of our group business demand. I would find it difficult to believe that any of the major hotels would hold their rooms in favor of the convention center over an in-house group paying to use their facilities and amenities. The voting public was told Vail Resorts would donate the land for the conference center. Only a few people in the inner circle knew that there were any strings attached.

The town building $12 million worth of parking was one of them, another being the environmental cleanup of the proposed site that could run into millions was also to be assumed by the town. Again the detail of the “donation” only became common knowledge after the election.

And who is telling us that we lost hundreds of conferences because we didn’t have a brand new conference center? The salesmen who can’t sell what we have.

I can only hope that there will be an opportunity for the voters to again address the convention center question, this time with all the facts on the table.

Hopefully, this will be accomplished before the town goes down the road to financial ruin.

Josef Staufer

Brave, stupid

Don Rogers’ column on Ralston’s idiocy was right on the money. Too many people put themselves in peril (thus placing others in danger) to satisfy their needs for adventure.

These so called “adventure seekers” think that getting back to nature means moving to the mountains and taking part in all sorts of outdoor activities. They see this stuff on television and say to themselves “yeah I can do that!” What they don’t realize is there is a learning curve here. It takes a long time to acquire the necessary skills to survive in the wild. Going out and buying all the required equipment for your activity doesn’t mean you are now an expert.

One doesn’t just go on their first outdoor trip up a 14,000-foot peak and then become an expert. This takes years and years of actual experience and even then you are still at the mercy of the mountains.

What people don’t realize is that there is a high volume of knowledge that needs to be acquired before one can venture into the wilderness with any degree of safety. How hard is it to inform someone of where you’re going?

I feel that the deaths we see in the mountains are simply a form of natural selection. If someone isn’t smart enough to know what to do and what not to do, then that will be their problem.

What’s too bad is that their problem soon becomes our problem when tax dollars go to rescues.

The lesson learned here is that we ARE mortal and those of us who don’t place safety first on the list are placing themselves in grave danger.

All I have to say is Ralston is courageous, which overshadows his stupidity in this situation. He will, however, get a sweet book deal out of this and the money will somewhat compensate for his lack of rational thinking. Anyway, nice job on the column. Out …

Jason Bowie

Campton, N.H.


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