The power of snow |

The power of snow

Don Rogers

You can tell how much the community leaders really want the constituents to join them by the quality of the spread and whether there’s something to drink. We journalists – and lower down the scale, pundits – have a real nose for such things.

Candidate forums, well, we feel responsible in a civic sort of way. Someone besides the office-seekers’ entourages has to show up, after all. In truth we’re worried it’ll be an otherwise empty house if we’re not there to scribble notes, run cameras and provide the very picture of democracy in action – even if roughly 99 percent of the populace really couldn’t be bothered. Maybe if the sponsors put on a decent spread …

But opening day at the ski resorts, ah, that’s a whole ‘nother story. No problem drawing crowds at Vail the Saturday before last or at Beaver Creek this past Saturday. A pile of snow falling since October will tend to do that, especially coming on the heels of drought and lingering recession, along with the still likely prospect of a fresh Bush invasion of Iraq.

Beaver Creek’s opening was of course a miniature of Vail’s, though the excitement rippled much the same, the roadside overflow of parked cars was equally impressive, and the lines were nonetheless fairly easy to negotiate even with the onslaught.

And Sunday each weekend at each place, the crowds fell off rather dramatically, which was great for those who came back the next day. Research, you understand. After all, the ability of the ski mountains to attract business this season will go a long way toward helping or hurting their base municipalities deal with their tight, tight budgets and will be the main influence in how deeply the fiscal ax cuts into services in the next year.

Funny how something so important to the High Country livelihood is also fun enough to attract us, without bribe of food or tug of conscience.

Meanwhile …

The new Homeland Security Department is coalescing, world resolve to knock off Saddam Hussein jelling, net tightening just a little on the Mideastern terrorists. Amazing that college students in Iran are restive again, this time with the medieval ayatollahs in their sights.

America seems to be growing just confident enough to start questioning what individual privacy we are giving up in exchange for a heightened sense of security. Even with evidence of Bin Laden’s survival and a veritable light show in Tom

Ridge’s color-coded levels of imagined threat at any given time. Should be an interesting winter, indeed. D.R.

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