Save us from those dang snowboarders |

Save us from those dang snowboarders

Shelley Levy

On March 19, while on vacation with my husband at Vail, I was hit from behind by a snowboarder as I was approaching the Avanti lift through what’s called the gulch, and am now recovering from a separated shoulder.This makes my third major injury from a snowboarder in two years<one torn ACL from a direct hit from behind with no one else on the trail, and a slight concussion from being knocked down by one as he struggled to get off a lift. Luckily, I wear a helmet or it would have been a lot worse.After being checked out by the ski patrol, he told us three times that to bother to sue wouldn’t get us more than a Honda.We found his words to be both inappropriate and insulting. Who said anything about suing? How about just pulling the boarder’s ticket off? Or maybe a fine for reckless and dangerous behavior?There are slow signs as you approach the Avanti lift that are not enforced, and we pointed out a few out-of-control boarders and skiers as they whizzed by, much to the embarrassment of our ski patroller.Please increase the patrols and consequences at heavily trafficked areas like the gulch, and find a way to make these boarders more responsible for their actions.We all learned as skiers to approach people from behind with calling out the warning “on your left” or “on your right,” which is something that boarders never do!As a good intermediate skier for 30 years, I am well aware of the dangers of the sport, and try very hard to protect myself. Unfortunately, as the number of snowboarders increase, the safety of all skiers decrease.As a group they behave like rappers on the snow, are rude and inconsiderate as they whiz by in packs, and almost never even stop to check on or apologize to those whose skis they may have run over or knocked down.Unfortunately for us skiers, boarders are here to stay, but there has to be a safer way to share the snow. My ski friends and family beg Vail and the whole ski industry to help save the sport we love!Shelley LevyFairfield, Conn.Crucial election for recreation districtWe have a very important election coming up on May 7 that could affect the quality of Vail’s recreation well into the future.Unfortunately, two of the members of the present VRD Board, Nancy Stevens and Ross Davis (both are candidates for re-election), voted to saddle the Vail Rec District with $3.2 million in debt that allegedly paid for improvements to the Dobson Ice Arena. In the process, these two present members committed the Rec District to payments of $275,000 per year for the next 20 years by pledging the profits from the only program that makes money<the Vail Golf Course.So where does this leave us? In summary, the golf course was down 700 rounds last year over the previous year which resulted in an 80 percent drop in income. The VRD has suspended all spending on capital improvements for all programs (except Dobson Ice Arena) and the golf course will continue to see profit erosion because of increased competition, lack of capital improvements, and a present price tag of over $100 per round in season for a marginally maintained facility.While we should be advocates of a strong golf program and diligently pursue the profits that go with this program, the real concern is what will happen to all of the other programs (besides golf) that lose money and will have to be cut if we do not return to a policy of sound fiscal responsibility.We must refocus on the residents and second-home owners of Vail and let the downvalley folks worry about and pay for their own recreation.We must maintain, market, and improve the Vail Golf Course so that this most important and valuable engine can drive (and help pay for) all of the present money losing programs<from hockey to Camp Vail.In order to make an impact and avoid any stalemates, we should elect and support the three people that really care and have the talents and backgrounds to deal with the present crisis<Julie Hansen, Peter Cook, and Nino Licciardi.We urge all concerned citizens to vote during the May 7 election or submit your vote by absentee ballot by contacting the Vail Rec District offices at 479-2279 and requesting an application for absentee ballot. In advance, we thank you for your support.T.J. Conners

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