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Passing into another off-season

Don Rogers

Toward the end of September might just be the most beautiful yet, with the aspen flaming into final color before shedding summer’s leaves. You’d think the marketing mavens would be able to make more of this, and put off the fall lull for a few weeks longer.

Then again, this is a great time for locals. Some of the rituals that frame “normal” communities come to the fore at this time of year. School starting and the high school football season getting under way, though we don’t mention football to slight the other school sports – golf, soccer, cross-country, volleyball.

The temperature at dawn is sliding toward frosty, heralding ski equipment sales, swaps and the like. If we’re very lucky, we’ll have a September snow – like the past few years – to whet our appetite for winter and fire up the ol’ VR PR machine.

We’re No. 1

It’s time for the annual rating of the ski resorts, by which Vail takes great stock. Ski magazine and its poll of skiers does the town and resort a great service.

No. 1 represents vindication, relief, a sign Vail has climbed a figurative mountain to the top again. Anything lower and it’s time to roll up our collective sleeves. Our seriousness about this annual ranking, however silly it may seem to outsiders and other grumps, inspires improvement initiatives and in turn makes us better as a community as well as a resort. The terms “us” and “we” are not issued lightly – VR may be the current owners, but this our place.

To the polls!

Fall brings another touchstone, and that is election season. Sorry, no presidential election, which should cut the turnout in about half, a pity.

Sept. 11 last year inspired some flag waving but no lasting observable impression on our civic lives otherwise. The May elections, for example, attracted less than 10 percent of the eligible voters in the valley even though the ballot questions were important to our daily lives. Yes, we harp.

This November, Vail has a spate of tax questions, the county electorate will consider a tax for open space purchases, the water authorities want more money, a dozen people are aiming to fill an Avon Town Council seat and three people are running for the county commissioner position representing western Eagle County. Oh yeah, we’ll vote on a congressman and state representative for our newly reconfigured districts for the state and U.S. houses. We have our freedoms; are we ready to step up to our responsibilities at the ballot box?

D.R.


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