Letters to the editor

Chip Bartsch

The access to the Gold Peak ski school and valet parking is so completely overwhelmed that it is no longer just inconvenient for our guests, it is downright dangerous. I work in a hotel in the village core, and drive children to the Gold Peak ski school on a regular basis. I see the congestion and general mayhem that occur in this area way too often. The problems begin on the South Frontage Road, between the main roundabout and the top of Vail Valley Drive. The speed limit on this stretch of road is 25 mph, which I obey. You should see the cars fly by me as if I’m standing still. Most of these cars are full of children. When they get to the east end of the parking structure, they all try to jockey into the right lane for the turn down Vail Valley Drive. I rarely see police presence on this stretch of road. What I do often see is a guy in a white patrol car bearing an Eagle Security logo on the door. Who is this guy? What authority does he have? Who pays for his services? Sometimes I’ll see the radar speed indicator set up in the middle of the road, perhaps accompanied by a town of Vail police car inhabited by a plastic dummy. That will slow a car down for a second or two, until they realize what’s up. Upon reaching the intersection with Vail Valley drive, you are confronted with traffic that is bumper to bumper all the way up to the ski school entrance. Frustrated drivers will try to pass anyone they can on the left, never minding that there is oncoming traffic in this lane. You eventually make your way up to the entrance of the valet parking lot on the north side of the main Gold Peak building. Here you have two lanes of traffic trying to enter the lot. More people start passing the cars stopped here, ignoring oncoming traffic. Finally you approach the children’s lot. This lot is woefully inadequate for the number of cars that it is asked to handle. The guys that man this lot work their butts off, and do a great job in attempting to control the flow of cars. But the lot is simply not big enough. So cars back up in front of Manor Vail. By now the guests are agitated and have lost their patience. Many of the cars that are stopped in line begin unloading right in the middle of the street. Doors and rear hatches open, ski boots slide on the icy pavement, and skis, snowboards, poles and CHILDREN are ejected onto the street in a hurried attempt to beat the rush. It’s all I can do to keep my guests in the van. The line starts to move again, but the cars that are unloading on the street are in the way, so people again try to pass in the lane for oncoming traffic, coming within inches of children in ski boots on icy streets. I finally make it to the Gold Peak lot, which is jam-packed with cars and people. Once again, the attendants here are very helpful in trying to control the mayhem, but it’s a losing battle. After dropping off, I now have to run the gantlet of oncoming cars in my lane as I return up Vail Valley Drive to South Frontage Road. I was T-boned by a car four years ago at the intersection of Vail Valley Drive and South Frontage Road. An out-of-town guest heading east ignored both the speed limit and stop sign and took out the front end of the hotel’s van, totalling the vehicle. Luckily there were no children in the van at that time, and I was OK. Is it going to take an injury or death for this issue to be addressed? I admit that the town does staff some traffic control in the area around the valet entrance and the entrance to the children’s lot, but it is inconsistent. Some days they’re there, some days they’re not. And even when they are there, they are often not able to control the situation. People still jump out of their cars in the middle of traffic, and the amount of traffic is still too much for the infrastructure to handle. The sad part is that this area was renovated just a few years back. I’m sure that there are no plans to increase its capacity in the near future. Also, the addition of the valet parking has made a bad situation worse. The only attempt at resolving the situation that I have seen from our hotel’s standpoint is that we were originally asked to drop all of our guests in the valet lot. But this lot is no less crowded than the upper lot, and guests do not want to have to walk their children through the already busy main Gold Peak building, knowing that a closer drop off lot exists.There must be a better solution to ease this dangerous situation. There is no room to increase the size of the children’s drop-off lot. I doubt the powers that be will want to move or do away with the valet lot. The road cannot be widened. Ski school start times are already staggered. We must work to reduce the amount of traffic on this road. I suggest that Vail Resorts open a children’s ski school check-in area in the village. Perhaps it can still be incorporated into the new Front Door plans around the Vista Bahn. If a new building is not possible, then a tent could be erected for check-in purposes. Vail Resorts could transport the children over to Gold Peak, perhaps in something like a hay wagon, or faux train car pulled behind a snowcat. I have been told that this is done in other resorts. So many people pay top dollar to stay in the village, and then have to go through this daily nightmare to get their kids into the ski school. It is probably the biggest source of stress that our guests encounter on their vacation. A check-in for children in Vail Village would alleviate a lot of the traffic at Gold Peak. Vail is supposed to have the best ski school in North America. This situation is anything but indicative of that image. To the town of Vail: Why do our police ignore the main roundabout and South Frontage Road during these busy times? It’s as if someone was waving a checkered flag in front of the parking structure.Chip BartschVailCommunity supportThe Scheidegger family would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to the people of the Vail community for all the support they provided to us after the loss of Benno Scheidegger Sr. We are fortunate to live in a community where we are surrounded and supported by family and friends. The people of Vail came together to remember this West Vail original and to celebrate the life of a real character. We would like to recognize the following people for their efforts, caring, donations and support: Pastor Carl Walker for leading the celebration of life ceremony. The town of Vail for the donation of the Donovan Pavilion. Ted and Susanne Johnson for helping to organize the celebration and their unconditional support. Sally Hanlon for her support and organization at the Pavilion.Misha Moritz for taking a lifetime of photo memories and organizing them into a thoughtful presentation. Impact Graphics for the banners to help us remember some of Benno’s most notable quotes. Peter Haller from the Alpenrose and his staff for the great feast.Peter Franke, Sheika Gramshammer, Marie Claire Moritz, Gisela Suski, Steve Boyd and Fritz Schmidt for sharing their fondest memories and stories of Benno’s life. Stephan Kohlhofer, Franz (of Milwaukee), Konrad Oberlohr, Rupert Oberlohr, and Helmut Fricker for adding their musical flare to the celebration. Uli and Rosie Burke for playing the alpenhorn. -Scott and Mandy Nichols for organizing the photo memories into an attractive scrapbook. Bob Knox, Michael Moser, and Courtney Holm for their help setting up at the pavilion. We are thankful to all of our family and friends who gathered to remember the life of Benno Sr. and provided support during this time of loss. If there is anyone who we have failed to mention specifically, know that we apologize and we genuinely appreciate what you have done. Benno Scheidegger Sr., rest in peace. Benno and Kristi ScheideggerEdwards Unhappy visitorThousands of angry parents mobbed the Vail ski school this morning. Lines extended out the door and back to the Eagle Bahn gondola. The parents – stressed, anxious and nervous because they were unable to get their kids into classes – were screaming at the ski school staff. Vail ski school staff were completely overwhelmed and apologetic. “It’s like, well, we didn’t know that so many people were coming, man. Nobody told us.” Sunday apparently was no different. Toddlers were seen walking around crying, unable to get attention during classes as too many children were booked. Vail management, who has been completely focused on counting the fistfuls of money they are making on real estate deals, was too busy to answer the phone. (Demographics, available on the U.S. Census Bureau Web site for free, could have told Vail management a little about the changing needs of the customer in America. Ten years ago I didn’t bring my kids.) To the editor: the above story is an exaggeration. Except about the classes being overbooked, the staff overwhelmed, the ski school unable to handle the flow, the lines out the door, and the crying children. I am happy that Vail is doing well, but that problem will be self-correcting if parents continue to get this kind of treatment. I strongly suggest you do a story on the problem for the sake of the community. I have been to Vail 10 times over the last decade. I love the place. But next year we are going elsewhere. There are plenty of ski resorts happy to have the roughly 10 grand I am spending to be here for a week who will treat me better. Craig Aberle Time to build pavilionI would like to get some of the facts correct about the livestock pavilion! I have personally been involved in this project for 12 years. This project is nothing new to the two Eagle county commissioners, Mr. Stone and Arn. The committee that has been working on this project has work toward and accomplished “the right building” for this phase of this project (No. 9 building of master plan).Lafarge has been mining this section of the fairgrounds for over 20 years. They should be completed in 2005. Our hands have been tied up until now. This project in no way has been fast-tracked anywhere. It would be safe to say its been on a slow train to China! The present livestock barn is at capacity during the fair. We have outgrown all our resources. The horse community has also outgrown the indoor facility.The committee has worked and reworked the rough design to get to the “right building” we’ve had 20 years to do it in. This is not the first building that someone drew a pretty picture of. There have been years of input. The 4-H program continues to grow at a steady pace. A bigger, better facility is badly needed for this county. I have a lot more facts, but it would probably take to much time and space. I urge any one interested to attend the Eagle County Fair and Rodeo Board meetings. This would really clear up any doubt in your minds about what we do. This may seem like fast planning, but I really don’t think 20 years is fast!The time is now! The money is there, so let’s stop debating and move forward!Kris WhittakerFair and Rodeo Board memberVail, Colorado

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