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Renovations should keep Vail competitive

Cliff Thompson
Special to the Daily A rendering of Vail Resorts' plan to renovate the old gondola building in Lionshead.
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VAIL – Vail’s revitalization effort is both necessary and inevitable because resorts all across the West are doing the same thing.”It’s not unprecedented,” said Ford Frick, managing director of BBC Research Consulting in Boulder. “There’s no lack of this across the West. Many resort communities are looking hard at themselves and making ambitious plans for reform or change.”Among them: Mammoth Village, Calif., Snowmass, Mt. Crested Butte, Winter Park, Grand Targhee (outside Jackson, Wyo.) and south Lake Tahoe, Frick said.

“Market cycles in resorts are very accelerated,” he said. “There’s always an element of fashion to resorts. They need to function well as the market changes.”But Vail’s $1 billion redevelopment won’t necessarily give Vail instant top billing in the ski resort market, Frick said.”This level of investment doesn’t necessarily get them above the competition,” he said. “It keeps them in the game.”Frick, who has researched more than a score of ski resort towns across the West, was quick to say Vail’s transformation is a wise move.

“A lot of towns have stumbled trying to get to that vision and in overcoming all the problems of revitalization,” he said. “It’s difficult to do.”But Vail has some significant advantages, Frick said. “It has a great mountain, the Eagle County airport, its proximity to a metropolitan area and also proximity to I-70,” he said.But don’t expect this to be the last revitalization effort in Vail – most resort towns will reinvent themselves about every 20 years to stay competitive, Frick said.



Staff Writer Cliff Thompson can be reached at (970) 949-0555, ext. 450, or cthompson@vaildaily.com.Vail, Colorado


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