The ratio |

The ratio

Scott Cunningham

In 2001, Skiing Magazine reported that the average ski town has eight times as many males as females. Endless variations of Vail’s own ratio of guys to girls are constantly in circulation. The guesstimates range as high as 10 to 1, suggesting that the number is less an indication of the population than it is of the amateur scientist behind it. There may even be a direct relationship between the gap in his ratio and the last time he had a date.This persistent and wistful local hypothesizing obscures a real number, one that represents Vail to Edwards from December to April. A true ratio is not unattainable, but somewhat difficult to come by for several reasons.In the 2000 census, Eagle County was estimated to be 55 percent male and 45 percent female, but this number is misleading. First of all, census numbers are collected in the summer, when all of the seasonal workers are gone. Secondly, children, the elderly, families, and the middle-aged are all included in this equation. Unless you’re single and scouring the Golden Eagle Senior Center and Edwards Elementary for prospects, you probably don’t want to rely on this number.Vail Resorts tallies its own gender breakdown, currently at 63 percent male, 37 percent female, but that statistic is company-wide, starting with CEO Adam Aron and moving down. Again, that number doesn’t focus on the 20-34 age range this study is geared toward besides the fact that it includes people who work at Breckenridge and Heavenly, Calif., among others.Two separate types of data were not misleading.The first is employee housing. Unfortunately, Vail Resorts doesn’t track the gender breakdown for this segment of its corporation, but in discussions with officials at the management office that runs places like The Tarnes and River’s Edge, The Trail elicited an educated guess from the staff. More numbers were collected from highly-seasonal complexes such as Timber Ridge, River Run, and Kayak Crossing. Some of these figures were hard and fast; others were simply estimates from managers.The other half of the formula is sample surveying, a technique that was used by the government in the 2000 census and is generally considered highly accurate by statisticians. To collect the numbers pertinent to this study, The Trail went to bars and counted people who appeared to be between the ages of 20 and 34. Aware that different nights and different locations would elicit various segments of the population, along with some element of tourists and Front-Rangers that would alter the outcome, the count was spread across the calendar week, from Bridge Street down to Lionshead and Avon, and from 4 p.m. to midnight. It was hard work.Ultimately, there wasn’t much variation in the numbers, from any of the sources. By our count, the ratio of guys to girls is 2.3 to 1, give or take half a man. At first, this number sounds low, but in reality, it means that there are at least twice as many men as women in the critical 20-34 age range, which on the surface sounds like a tremendous disadvantage for a single guy in Vail. Talking to people, however, reveals a different picture.”If you can’t get a girl out here, you’re pathetic,” says Jaime, 26, who has a girlfriend. His reasoning, one that resurfaced over and over, is that the male population in the valley, while oversized, is under-qualified. Jaime believes this is an attitude problem.”If you spend more money on alcohol and weed than you do on rent, and there’s a lots of guys out here who do,” says Jaime, “you have a problem.” His friend, Michelle, 25, agrees that local men lack certain attractive attributes.”They’re all losers,” she says, though it should be noted she’s currently dating a local guy.Hyperbole aside, Michelle and Jaime aren’t alone in their assessment. Lisa, 27, who got engaged this year after several years of dating locally, thinks the mentality of the Vail man is at fault. The type of man this area attracts, she says, is generally more focused on getting drunk and goofing off than on building a career and settling down.”There aren’t many decent men,” she says, but she also thinks that decent women are hard to come by, characterizing the female population as a collection of spoken-for’s and convenient complements to the fraternity of intoxicated males.”The chicks that are available,” she says, “are the ones that go home with a different guy every night.” Her co-worker, Erin, 22, agrees. Since she moved here this summer, she says she’s had a hard time finding down-to-earth women to befriend. She’s also taken (married, in fact) to a guy who has a good job with the water district. They skipped the engagement entirely, preferring a shotgun Vegas wedding.By way of contrast, Shannon, 24, a recent and single transplant from a big city, says the female population is refreshingly down-to-earth.”They care more about spending time outdoors than going out shopping,” she says, adding that the guys are similarly grounded. Overall, she sees the population as generally athletic, and therefore well-matched across gender lines.Unfortunately, the guys may be too down-to-earth, says Marco, 24. Since he moved out here from North Carolina, he says he’s heard numerous complaints from female friends about the lack of initiative displayed by the male population.”They say guys won’t talk to them,” he testifies. His boss, Shake, 32, a 10-year veteran of Vail, says local guys have always been too shy, much to his benefit. You have to take the opportunity to speak to women, he says, praising the female population as highly athletic and educated. Marco agrees.”There aren’t as many dumpcakes out here,” he says, as compared to back East. They can’t say the same about the guys.”My female roommate has a saying,” Shake says, “The odds are good, but the goods are odd.”At least the ratio is changing, according to long-time locals like Shake and Jesse, 26. Both agree that the ratio is gradually evening out, in terms of numbers AND appeal.”It’s gotten a lot better in the last few years,” Jesse attests. “There are more cute girls.””There’s one next door,” his friend chimes in, “and you can quote me on that.” Wishing to remain anonymous, the friend declined to give his name and age. Next door, the girl he was referring to had the day off.

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