Letters to the editor
This letter is an expression of gratitude and respect for the East West Hoedown that took place recently at 4 Eagle Ranch. As a member of a non-profit that works tirelessly to maintain financial stability and continue to work on development of healthy and happy youth in the valley, we understand the dedication, organization, follow through and interest it takes in creating and hosting an event like the Hoedown.
Thank you to Silfer Smith and Frampton, East West Partners, East West Technology, East West Resort, CME and the brokers, businesses, and individuals that have the forsight and interest in creating such an event specifically to benefit various non-profits in the valley. SOS was fortunate and appreciative to be one of those beneficieraries.
Thank you to Kim Bradley and her dynamic steering committee team for putting on such a wonderful event. We couldn’t provide the programs we do without dedicated and caring community members like you. A big thanks to all for making this years East West Hoedown a great success.
Anne J. Menconi
Director of Youth Programs
Tell “’em no
Vail Resorts’ press release on Oct. 16, the proposal to put two high-speed chairlifts in Sundown Bowl, will hopefully generate a huge response to the Forest Service during the public comment period, which ends on Nov. 17.
The last major chair development on Vail Mountain was Blue Sky Basin. I was opposed to the expansion, but it has proven to be a positive, not only for the lift serviced skiing it provides, but also for the pressure it has taken off of other chairlifts on the mountain, most notably Chair 5.
Vail Resorts’ statement that this proposal is necessary to “improve the quality of the recreational experience” needs to be examined. First of all, adding two high-speed chairs in Sundown Bowl would all but eliminate untracked powder on big snow days after just a couple of hours in the bowl. The backcountry feel of Sundown Bowl would be replaced with numerous bumps. One only has to look at Yonder and how that once seldom bumped out area has changed since Chair 17 was put in, or look at the traverse lines that now mark the top of Genghis Khan.
Much of the Vail Resorts’ advertising and, in fact, much of many major ski advertising revolves around the “backcountry feel.” In trying to attract the current rider and the rider of the future, backcountry is a buzz word. The bowls in Vail, particularly Sundown Bowl, provides the backcountry experience with the variable snow conditions and traverses required to access the terrain. Putting a lift in this area would certainly change that. The rider of today and the rider of the future I believe craves that experience.
Skiing and riding is about much more than how much vertical you can get in two-three hours.
Our society of today is all about how much more we can get in how short a time. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. We should strive for the best. But some things – skiing and riding, for example – should allow us to step away from that mindset to experience the “soul” of skiing and riding. The simple things like standing on top of Seldom all alone or with friends is all the more, more, more some of us need.
In Skiing magazine, Vail was ranked fourth. The three areas in front of Vail – Whistler No. 1, Alta/Snowbird No. 2, Jackson Hole No. 3 – all contain plenty of old, slow chairs and vast terrain where hiking, traversing and variable snow conditions are considered part of the experience.
Putting in another chair would possibly increase skier numbers, resulting in more revenue for Vail Resorts, as recent results have shown this doesn’t always translate into increased sales tax revenue for the town of Vail. I find it interesting that Vail Resorts is willing to put capital into new lifts yet continues to cut employee benefits.
Chair 5 is a problem on big powder days and some high-traffic days. The 45-minute lift lines Vail Resorts talks about in their proposal probably occur on about 10 percent at the most of all the days in the ski season.
I would probably agree that Chair 5 needs to be replaced, although my skiing soul says it doesn’t. I think putting another chair in Sundown Bowl isn’t necessary.
I still believe this is the best ski mountain in North America, and a great place to live, because it truly is a part of the soul of skiing. Skiing powder on Ricky’s, Seldom, Morningside, Windows, Never, is what makes the Back Bowls and the views from this area. Putting a chair there would change that forever.
I hope this proposal stirs opinions and public comment to the Forest Service like Blue Sky Basin did. Remember, you can only comment until Nov. 17. This could be the best thing ever, and it could be the worst.
Unfortunately, we won’t know until the lift or lifts are in. Oh, and by the way, did I hear “potential lynx habitat” mentioned?
Dave “Bone” Chapin