Vail Daily letter: SnowBall a boon for Avon | VailDaily.com

Vail Daily letter: SnowBall a boon for Avon

Dave Craft
Vail, CO, Colorado

It’s unfortunate that some one was hit by a car and killed 10 miles from the SnowBall Festival. Laying that at the doorstep of the festival is not fair. I take exception with Carole Warren’s assessment that “Festivals, such as SnowBall, only encourage criminal and self destructive behavior.”

It’s the “only” part that really bothers me. As a professional driver who chauffeured perhaps 250 people to and from the event, I have never been treated with more generosity and good manners from any event in 30 years of driving for a living. I have dealt with rude, offensive behavior on a regular basis over the years. But not at the SnowBall. That surprised me in a major good way.

What made the event so successful in my view was the day-long, night-long nature of the event. This mitigated the sense of hurry for most people. People were more patient getting there. They were also more patient getting home. The organizers pulled off the most amazingly efficient traffic control I have ever seen at a major event. How did they do it? Pedestrians weren’t allowed to stop car traffic for minutes at a time. Instead of gridlock for motorists, the concert attendees were safely guided through traffic several at a time.

My hat is off to the SnowBall organizers. Other events could learn a lot from the way they delivered.

The vast majority of the attendees chose to enjoy the event responsibly and hire a limo driver, taxi or take the bus. The 200 people I dealt with weren’t criminals, and they didn’t destroy anything. They were polite, spent a ton of money here, and it had nothing to do with skiing. They traveled from New York, Chicago and L.A. I doubt the Ritz or Four Seasons benefited that much from the event, but any lodging from low- to mid-priced made bank on the SnowBall. I drove attendees from the Raquet Club 10 miles away and Eagle hotels 20 miles away and all points in between. If every restaurant, lodge and store asked, “Did you come here because of the festival?” I wonder what percentage of their business could be directly attributed to SnowBall. Next year they should keep track to see the difference. I doubled my weekend average.

The economic impact was staggering to me personally. The SnowBall windfall was enough to buy a new guitar, a luxury in this day and age. Instead of buying it on-line, I bought mine at Minturn Music and kept the money in our community. Just think if everyone did that?

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I say bring back the SnowBall festival, the economic benefits are staggering and outweigh the downside. I want to personally thank the organizers and the attendees for the best weekend I’ve ever had.

Dave Craft