Time Machine: 40 years ago, John Naisbitt predicts the future of Vail

Author John Naisbitt speaks at a Vail Symposium event in 1983 in Vail. Naisbitt made several predictions which would prove to be correct.
Vail Trail/Vail Daily archive

30 years ago

Oct. 8, 1993

A bison skeleton was exhumed from a cave in the White River plateau between Gypsum and Meeker, the Vail Trail reported.

The Eagle Ranger District reported at the time that two or three buffalo skulls are discovered in the area every year.

“However, complete skeletons are rare,” the Trail reported.

Spelunkers Clarence and Eric Williams of Denver were among a group of cave explorers who found the skeleton as they explored sinkholes, the Trail reported.

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“The bones were collected last week by U.S. Forest Service officials and the employees of the Denver Museum of Natural History, to be incorporated into a future bison exhibit,” the Trail reported. “Pat Jablonsky, a caver and a registrar for the Earth Sciences Department of the Denver Museum of Natural History, said the bones appear to be those of a mountain bison.”

Caves and sinkholes in the area are virtually invisible to the casual observer, the Trail reported.

“Jablonsky theorizes that because of the way the the skeleton was wedged, the buffalo was probably loping along the brush-covered terrain when it tumbled into the sinkhole,” the Trail reported.

40 years ago

Oct. 7, 1983

Author and futurist John Naisbitt visited Vail and shared predictions with a crowd of 300 at the Vail Symposium’s 13th annual event.

Naisbitt predicted Vail would be “a marvelous growth area for a long time,” the Trail reported.

Among Naisbitt’s other predictions: The information society, through the increasing use of computers, will replace the industrial society in the U.S.; the U.S. will evolve into a “nation of clerks,” and fitness will continue to be a tremendous growth industry; only a few major corporations will lead the new economy; and population growth in the U.S. will continue to center around three states: California, Texas, and Florida.

According to Naisbitt’s research, which was based on content analysis of newspapers across the U.S., “the recent recession was not merely another down-cycle in the economy, but really a transition from the old ‘smokestack’ industry to the computer,” the Trail reported.

Author Marilyn Ferguson, a co-panelist at the event, agreed with Naisbitt, the Trail reported, saying Vail has “the potential to be ‘an international capital … a center of the planet.'”

50 years ago

Oct. 5, 1973

Don Almond with Vail Associates announced a reorganization of Vail Mountain management, appointing three additional assistant mountain managers who report directly to him.

Almond, in his capacity as mountain manager, was “in charge of the largest single mountain operation in the Western hemisphere,” according to the Vail Trail.

Almond appointed Bill Sargent to assistant manager of lifts, Bob Momsen to assistant manager of finance, and Bill Brown to assistant manager of slope maintenance and mountain safety.

“Bill supervises all planning, building and clearing of trails, as well as their grooming and maintenance in the winter,” the Trail reported. “Bill is also in charge of seeing that on-the-mountain special events such as races and skiing exhibitions run like clockwork. Working with Bill are Jack Riggen, Slope Maintenance; Paul Testwuide, Ski Patrol Director; and Tom Luby, a Minturn resident newly in charge of snowmaking.”

Sargent was to work closely with Bob Mayne, who was in charge of lift engineering; Ben High, who was in charge of all electrical installations and maintenance; Bob Parker, who was in charge of lift construction; George Hudspeth, who was responsible for all lift maintenance; and Jon Phillippi, who was manager of lift operations.

Momsen was to work with Ticket Sales Supervisor Linda Nottingham; Dick Dixon, who supervised the Vail host-hostess program; Orval “Pete” Petersen, assistant mountain manager of mountain services and purchasing; and Mountain Services Manager Bob McIlveen, the Trail reported.

60 years ago

Oct. 3, 1963

A plan to provide more classroom space for the expanding school population would be put to vote, at a cost of “$150,000 less than the plan turned down by voters a few months ago,” the Eagle Valley Enterprise reported.

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The plan called for two new schools in the Eagle River Valley — one for high and junior high students in the Maloit Park area, and another in Gypsum, also for high and junior high students. The plan also called for a new four-room unit to be built in Eagle where a mobile unit was being used.

“The people of this county can keep on turning down bond issues from here to eternity — but must face up to the present condition of overloaded classrooms, as they are full this year — and threaten to become worse as time goes by,” the Eagle Valley Enterprise reported.

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