Letters to the editor
On Oct. 25, I drove from Colorado Springs to Vail to buy my 15th (and probably last) ski pass. Why would I make a 300-mile round trip to buy a pass?
First reason: Vail doesn’t mail pass information to people who have had season passes in previous years.
Second reason: I called Vail Resorts three times to get information about season passes for 2002-03. I was put on hold all three times and never (after holding about 10 minutes per call) talked to anyone.
When I went to the Lionshead ticket office, I said I wanted a senior value restricted pass. “That will be $949,” said the clerk. I told him he must be mistaken because last year, as I recall, I paid $749. He assured me he was not mistaken. I bought the pass.
Obviously the fear that Vail Resorts has about the recession (leading to the firing of the person in the organization with the most knowledge of the ski business) doesn’t apply to people like me. We apparently are recession-proof.
On Oct. 31, there was an article in the Colorado Springs Gazette announcing that Vail lift tickets would lead the nation – $71. In that article, Martin White, Vail Resorts senior vice president for marketing and sales, was quoted: “You have to kind of trip and fall down and hit your head to pay $71.”
Obviously he was misquoted. No one in a responsible marketing position would publicly say anything that stupid. The clear message from that statement is that our product is not really worth $71 per day. It’s really worth $31, as stated in the Colorado Pass ($319 for 10 days). However, if someone comes to Vail without a bargain (someone who has fallen down and hit their head), we will happily take their money.
I have a very simple idea. Calculate what the average revenue received by Vail Resorts for an adult ski day was for the 2001-02 season. I have no idea what that number would be, but I’m sure Vail Resorts has that statistic. I’m guessing it was around $45 per day. Vail Resorts can confirm or deny the number.
The solution: Charge $50 per day for lift tickets with reasonable prices for season passes. The result: More people would come here because they would feel it is a bargain.
They would have more money to spend on hotels, restaurants, T-shirts, etc. Vail Resorts would make more money.
That, however, would be too simple for corporate America and the Adam Arons of the world. After all, that would mean Vail Resorts might have to get rid of the Martin Whites and maybe could afford the likes of Andy Daly. Much too simple.
Ralph O. Sauer
Skip the bird
This Thanksgiving celebration should provide welcome relief from the violence-ridden national debate over war on Iraq and terrorism. Unfortunately, many Americans will perpetuate the violence by giving thanks for their life, health, and happiness on the grave of a tortured, dead bird on their dinner table.
The 340 million turkeys raised in the U.S. each year have nothing to give thanks for. For 16 weeks, they breathe toxic fumes in crowded sheds, as their beaks and toes are cut off to reduce damage from stress-induced aggression. At the slaughterhouse, they are beheaded by an electric saw and dumped into a vat of scalding water, sometimes still conscious.
Ironically, turkeys get their revenge. Their flesh is laced with cholesterol, saturated fats, hormones, antibiotics, and deadly pathogens like Salmonella and Campylobacter. Careful adherence to government warning labels is required to avoid food poisoning.
The grain fed to turkeys denies lifesaving foodstuffs to millions of starving people in Africa and Asia. Each year, U.S. turkey factories dump 10 billion pounds of manure into our waterways.
I invite you to join me and millions of other Americans in celebrating this Thanksgiving with non-violent, wholesome, delicious products of our earth’s bounty: grains, vegetables, and fruits. Our holiday fare may include a mock “turkey” made of tofu or seitan, lentil or nut roast, stuffed squash, corn chowder or chestnut soup, candied yams, cranberry sauce, pumpkin or pecan pie, and carrot cake. An internet search on vegetarian Thanksgiving will provide more information than you need to know.
One tough summer
Editor’s note: Jon “Eef” Efraimson is sharing several of his letters to friends, family and other well-wishers about his battle with cancer. His letters are poignant and painful. With the sheer number of people in this community pulling for him, we thought it would be helpful to help him share his experience.
As some of you know this has been a very challenging summer for both Lisa and myself. The happiest moment of our lives came in June when Lisa and I were married on a perfect day and surrounded by our friends and family. We were fortunate enough to take our honeymoon in Hawaii and had a wonderful time.
Our lives changed forever the day we returned. Even though we just got married, we were well along in our pregnancy.
Unfortunately, Lisa’s water broke prematurely and she was forced to be bedridden in a special maternity unit in Denver. Despite all best efforts, Lisa went into labor and gave birth to Owen Daniel Efraimson on July 9 at 11:10 a.m. He weighed 1lb. 6 oz.
Reverend John Simon the chaplain at Presbyterian St. Luke’s baptized him with the tears from our eyes before he passed away.
Meeting Owen brought us great joy, and though we only met him briefly, we are comforted by the thought that he is in heaven and his memory will be with us forever.
As that chapter of our short marriage was beginning to be finished, another was just starting to be written. I noticed some irregular sounds in my lungs. I went to get a check up at Vail Valley Medical Center. After a chest X-ray and CT scan it was thought that there were some irregularities in my lungs. I was then referred to Denver to see a specialist.
This doctor recommended a biopsy, which is tricky because they would have to go inside my lung to retrieve the sample. They tried a X-ray-guided needle biopsy, which failed and was then followed by an open lung biopsy. We were informed that in doing this there was a chance that if malignant they would remove part of my lung.
Unfortunately, they found the tumor to be malignant and proceeded to remove the lower two lobes of my lung. But upon further inspection the surgeon thought that the cancer had spread and elected to leave the lung in place. Upon waking up I was told that they had found cancer and that I needed to recover from this surgery and then begin treatment.
After about a week I meet an oncologist in Denver and he informed my that my cancer was very serious and did not give me a very good prognosis. He said that I had a lung cancer called Adenocarcinoma in Stage IV.
I was shocked and passed out in his office. After a night of crying and feeling sorry for myself, Lisa and I decided to go back home as we had been recovering at Lisa’s father’s home in Denver. We went to the Tattered Cover Bookstore and picked up as many books on cancer and treatments as possible.
Upon getting home, I began looking on the Internet for any information that I could find. In just a few days we became very informed about the disease, including traditional and alternative treatments. I was due to meet the oncologist that I had met before, but my research kept leading me back to the University of Colorado at Denver.
They are building a new facility on Fitzsimmons Army base site and are going to be doing some big things. As I was looking over their Web site, I noticed that many of the doctors’ e-mails were listed.
I figured what the heck, if they are listed they probably want you to e-mail them. I sent an e-mail to a doctor there and explained my situation. I had called to get an appointment for a second opinion down there, but wasn’t able to get anything for a couple of weeks.
He not only e-mailed me back personally, but he called our house and my cell phone personally and told me I could come in a couple of days. I was excited and impressed. The doctor spent a lot of time with us and examined me and asked a lot of questions.
Toward the end of our appointment, I asked him, “Can you cure this?” He’s from Norway and said to me, “You have a lot of good things in your backpack.” He was referring to the fact that I was young, healthy, strong and didn’t have cancer all over my body. His positive attitude and enthusiasm won us over.
They have given me access to not only traditional chemotherapy, but also some clinical trials that are promising. At this point I have started my first treatment, which took place last Tuesday, Aug. 27. I will receive the trial drug called C-225 or Erbitux every week and combined with traditional chemotherapy of Carboplatin and Taxol once every three weeks.
Additionally, Lisa and I have changed our diet to reduce sugar, fat and be mindful of where our protein comes from, as much that we have read suggests the importance of a good diet. So at least for the next few months, we will be in Denver every Tuesday.
Many people feel that we are unlucky and can’t believe all of this has happened to us. I don’t feel that way. I feel so lucky to be with Lisa, and feel so fortunate about all of the good things that have happened to me and us in our lifetimes. I cannot believe the support that we have received from so many of you, family members, friends near and far, clients and even total strangers who have shared their experiences with us.
This has meant so much to us and will continue to do so. As Lisa and I move forward, we know that there will be good days and bad days. But we know that with a positive outlook, we will get through this together. All we can say is thank you for all your cards, phone calls, meals, offers to help and positive vibes. Everything that you all are doing is working, so keep doing it.
As we move forward we appreciate your thoughts and prayers, not just on Tuesdays but every day. Our faith, strength and all your support will get us through this difficult time. Thank you for everything and we love you all.
Lisa and Jon Efraimson