Letters to the editor
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
I guess I always thought that our community was one that applauded honesty.
I was amazed how Mr. Lucido was chastised by Avon Police Officer Lovins and Detective Leake for admitting his mistake in covering up for his son. The quote in the newspaper by officer Lovins: “I think it is a terrible example for a father to set for his son.”
In my opinion, what better example for a father to set for his son than to publicly admit his mistake and suffer the charge?
I for one applaud Mr. Lucido. I just bet this lesson has an enormous educational value to not only his son but all involved.
Noise over safety?
The Vail Town Council members clearly were not moved by the eloquent letter published in the Sept. 25, Vail Daily by yours truly, entitled “Give us a break” and the many other letters sent by concerned citizens featured in the letters to the editor section of the Vail Daily, so maybe a different approach to this matter is warranted.
The first letter was more of a cry to these Town Council members to stop and think about what it truly means to be a public servant. It was meant to cause these members to reflect upon the roots of their political beginnings in the hopes that they might remember why they were first drawn to a profession of public service – because it is apparent that there are at least four members of the Vail Town Council who have somewhere along the way lost sight of what it means to truly be a public servant.
For one brief moment let’s cut the bull. Who does this proposed ban on the use of jake brakes seek to protect? The second-home owners who brought property along the stretch of highway with full knowledge that there was a highway sitting right out their front door, or possibly this is an attempt to protect Vail property values in general..
The four members supporting the proposed ordinance – Mayor Ludwig Kurz, Mayor Pro Tem Rod Slifer, Greg Moffet and Chuck Ogilby – do not appear to be concerned about protecting the safety of truckers or for that matter any other individuals who travel that stretch of eight miles along I-70 between mile marker 181 in East Vail to mile marker 173 in West Vail.
In fact, Greg Moffet is so adamant about passing the proposed ordinance that in addition to amending the town code, making it unlawful to use a “dynamic braking device” on any motor vehicle on I-70 within town limits, he even suggested removing the language which states the use of these brakes is unlawful “except for the aversion of immediate and imminent danger” calling truckers who truly must engage their jake brakes careless.
“They’ve got brakes, right?” Moffet stated. “If their brakes are smoking, they’re driving carelessly.”
First, I would suggest that this Town Council member do his homework first before making embarrassing and unsubstantiated statements such as this.
He clearly has no concept of what it is like to drive an 18-wheeler and the safety concerns and the necessity for having a secondary braking system due to the heavy loads that these trucks carry, particularly when we are talking about a stretch of highway that descends about 500 feet in altitude from East Vail to West Vail, with another 500-foot drop coming before Eagle-Vail.
Now let me just analyze this from a purely legal perspective. By striking this language, as Moffet would like to see happen, the ordinance is prohibiting any and all use of jake brakes along this stretch of highway even in situations where the use of the jake brake would have ordinarily been allowed in order to “avert immediate and imminent danger.”
Aside from a purely human concern that these truckers will face more danger and be put at significantly higher risk of accident if they are prohibited from using their jake brakes along this stretch of I-70, I would ask these Vail Town Council members to reconsider whether they want to be held responsible for enacting an ordinance such as this, which clearly does not serve to protect the public health, safety and welfare of the citizens.
At the very least, if a ban on jake brakes is to be voted in by the Vail Town Council on Nov. 18, there should be a safety provision that allows for use in emergency situations in order to “avert immediate and imminent danger.”
Do not tell me that proponents of this ordinance are so fixated on the issue of “noise abatement” that they would be willing to compromise public safety and human lives just to make the valley a little more peaceful and serene. I don’t know about you, but I find the harsh reality of a twisted and mangled 18-wheeler that has crashed into another vehicle due to their inability to use their jake brakes a much more startling and disturbing disruption of the serenity and solitude of Vail Valley.
I am amazed that the proposed ordinance is still even on the table – an unfortunate indication as to where our politicians have their interests vested in. If this proposed ordinance is passed by the Vail Town Council, not only should they hang their heads low because they have sold out as far as I am concerned, but they should be concerned that any subsequent accident that occurs on that stretch of I-70 and at the dangerous Dowd Junction interchange just beyond will be accompanied by a challenge from individuals injured or even worse, wrongful death claims on the part of loved ones, asserting that the town of Vail acted negligently in passing an ordinance with reckless disregard to the public health and safety.
For those of you who have forgotten, a truck driver was killed this summer at the Dowd Junction interchange where construction was being done when he lost control of his truck and was unable to bring his vehicle to a safe stop.
Is it just me, or doesn’t it seem like the Vail Town Council should prioritize public safety over noise abatement? At this rate, I guess the next ordinance may likely involve an effort to remove all runaway truck ramps along the I-70 corridor due to their unsightly nature and the rather tacky ambiance that they exude. Heck, I am sure that most people would prefer to see some landscaping, possibly some wildflowers or aspen trees planted in place of those god-awful looking runaway truck ramps unless, of course, you are a truck driver who may just owe his life to the very existence of these runaway truck ramps. So to all you truckers out there, keep the rubber side down and the greasy side up.
Big rigs don’t “view” Vail as a pipsqueak; big rigs are machines.
The people that drive them are delivering stuff that other people want from one town to another. Some of the stuff may include Colorado beef for restaurant owners and chefs in Beaver Creek and Avon, Coors Light for people in Santa Cruz, Calif., or possibly computers and large amounts of paper for companies in Eagle-Vail. Do you believe that only the stuff you want to have and use should go on I-70?
By the way, the interstate was made to move people and stuff interstate.