Pondering Armageddon: a ski town without snow
VAIL – Hank Sender knows how important snow is to Eagle County.You know, snow. The white stuff. The powdery goodness that falls from the skies, giving tourists a reason to come ski here and locals a valid excuse for their meager paychecks. So what would happen if, say, it just quit snowing in Vail? Completely. Like, forever.”We could have a year-round mountain bike resort,” said Sender, an Eagle-Vail resident and avid mountain biker.”We’d probably save some money,” said Holly Carrell, a tourist from Castle Rock. “Between the lift tickets, the hotels, the food.””We probably wouldn’t have the parking issues, like we have today,” suggested Joe Wyatt, a Vail resident who doesn’t own a car.All optimism aside, no snow would likely mean certain doom for our local ski resorts, all agreed. After all, skiing on grass just isn’t the same.This year’s ski season got off to a bit of a rocky start, no pun intended. Marginal snowfall forced both Vail and Beaver Creek resorts to each begin their seasons with just one run open. December’s low snowfall – 4 inches in Avon – equaled a record low set in 1976, according to weather watcher Frank Doll, who has been tracking weather readings since 1968 at his home.So considering the unlikely event that Mother Nature would give Vail the cold shoulder, pun intended, doesn’t seem so far-fetched – if you don’t include the 3 feet of snow that has fallen in the past week.In the face of a ski resort Armageddon, what ever would we do?Throw in the parched towel”Aside from writing a letter to Mother Nature, there’s probably not much,” Wyatt said, noting that writing your local representative in Congress on this issue wouldn’t solve anything.”Maybe I’d play more paintball,” he added.Wyatt, who “loves” his snowboard, would probably move if the valley completely dried up. Maybe he’d move back to Telluride, where he spent one summer. There other places, too. Going home, however, is not an option. Wyatt grew up in Barstow, Calif. and has written the place off.”Anything is better than Barstow,” Wyatt said. “Dry as a desert, 120-degree average summer temperature.”Willing to stick it outSender, on the other hand, wouldn’t be so quick to pack up and move. He came here for the snow, but since then has found other redeemable qualities about Eagle County. “Maybe we could have year-round golf,” Sender suggested. “I wouldn’t leave because of it.”What a trooper!No snow might have an adverse effect on Sender’s job as a real estate agent, however.”It would probably affect my bottom line,” he said. “Property values would go down.”Carrell and her husband, Scott, think Vail is just as great in the summer as it is in the winter – even if they love to ski. “It’s beautiful here,” Carrell said.”I’m sure they would think of something else for us to do,” Scott said. He didn’t specify who “they” were or what “something else” would be.But they said they would still come to Vail snow or no snow.Who needs snow anyway?One downside of snow, of course, is what it does to the roads. Slippery, icy, slick. Car accidents definitely go up when the snow falls down.By Saturday afternoon, however, Vail Police were enjoying the best of both worlds. Most accidents were minor, despite the snowfall. In fact, the most noticeable thing about the roads in Vail was the line of parked cars, according to one police officer.And then there are the David Inskeeps of the world. Coloradoans who don’t ski or snowboard, and really would be better off without snow.One wonders why they stay here.”I would just mountain bike all the time,” Inskeep, a Boulder resident, said. “I don’t like the cold that much.”Staff Writer Tamara Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 607, or email@example.com.