Vail council member wants Chinese sister city |

Vail council member wants Chinese sister city

Lauren Glendenning
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL, Colorado – The town of Vail’s so-called sister city might be St. Moritz, Switzerland, but one Town Council member thinks the town should also look to form a bond with a city in the Far East.

Mayor Andy Daly brought up the subject of Vail’s sister city at the Vail Town Council’s work session Tuesday because both Vail and St. Moritz haven’t been doing much to nurture or promote the relationship lately. Daly questioned whether St. Moritz is the right sister city for the town.

Councilman Ludwig Kurz, who is from Austria, talked about his experience at the Beaver Creek Resort Co. working with its sister city, Lech, Austria. Kurz is heading to Lech later this week, and said Vail and St. Moritz could have done more to bring meaning to their relationship.

“I think the relationship with Vail and St. Moritz fell apart – no one (was) pushing on either side to keep things going,” Kurz said.

Kurz said it’s fun to talk about sister resorts, but that Vail should investigate “the real interest of a potential partner.”

That’s when Councilwoman Margaret Rogers said she’d be more in favor of a sister city in China, an emerging market that no other ski resort in the United States has tapped into yet, she said.

“(The Chinese) have not picked a ski resort in the U.S. to go to yet,” Rogers said, adding that no American ski resort can claim a large influx of Chinese visitors. “Europe knows about Vail, China doesn’t.”

Rogers said the work that Vail Resorts has been doing internationally, including in China, in recent years has already given Vail a “foot in the door.” She said Vail Resorts President-International John Garnsey, a local resident, has been spending time in China and could potentially help facilitate a relationship between a city there and Vail.

“I think China’s more fertile ground to be looking at than Europe,” Rogers said.

Councilwoman Susie Tjossem said she agreed with Rogers, although not specifically on the point about China, adding that the town should work with Vail Resorts to try to align with relationships they’ve already built and try to strengthen those relationships.

Kurz said Lech has relationships with cities and resorts other than Beaver Creek, so there’s nothing stopping Vail from pursuing more than one relationship or sister city.

“There’s nothing to stop us from looking at those kinds of opportunities,” Kurz said.

Kurz plans to update the council when he returns from Lech on how that communication went, he said.

Assistant Managing Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or

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