Vail Daily Editor Don Rogers: Bookings signal Vail Valley’s recovery |

Vail Daily Editor Don Rogers: Bookings signal Vail Valley’s recovery

Don Rogers
Vail, CO, Colorado

This just might be the sleeper stat that best forecasts our economic fortunes to come:

Bookings for lodges in the Vail Valley are up in November compared to a year ago, and up for December and January, too.

That’s according to the Vail Valley Partnership, which tracks such things.

This may be more telling than the unemployment rate, consumer confidence or the stock markets.

Bookings for January and beyond are down at last count. But that appears to be a reflection of visitors trained to wait longer, and also a hangover from before everyone quite realized last year how steep and deep this slide would be.

Call it irrational exuberance, unwarranted optimism, wearing rosy ski goggles. I don’t care.

The experts missed the recession coming. And I suspect they’ll miss the strength of our recovery, too.

Those “Black Swan” surprises work to the good, as well as the bad, after all.

I’m remembering an interview on a radio show of the author, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, of the very book about big unpredictable events.

He said that when trying to predict the economy, you’ll do as well studying woolly caterpillars for clues as listening to the economists or other savants. They don’t know.

So for God’s sake don’t listen to me, either. I’m just hacking out a column here.

I’m just saying. …

Bookings are expressions of confidence and commitments of passion for skiing and coming here.

Visitors who come here will also spend money here. If they spend money here — more than last year — then we’re going to start doing things like hiring workers, selling homes and second homes, and so on.

Our economy will begin to perk up again.

It’s bound to happen at some point. The dive went too deep. Equilibrium is a bit above where we are now, not below.

The dollar’s difficulties will bring more foreign visitors to the mountains. And they’ll have more to spend, too.

The real question is, how long before we forget the lessons of our downturn? The challenges of housing that’s too expensive (even now), wages too low and, believe it or not, not enough workers will return pretty quickly.

Of course, the pains of growth are not nearly as devastating as loss.

Bookings are up! Let’s savor the moment. And pray for more snow while we’re at it.

We can be a little greedy again.

Don Rogers is the editor and publisher of the Vail Daily. He can be reached at or 970-748-2920. He welcomes your comments at

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