Vail Valley Voices: Getting ready for 2015 |

Vail Valley Voices: Getting ready for 2015

Vail Homeowners Association
Vail, CO Colorado

Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from the Vail Homeowners Association monthly report for December. We publish weekly excerpts from the association, which keeps a close eye on economic and political trends in and outside of the town. The newsletter electronic version with links to supporting documents is available at

Organizers of the World Alpine Ski Championships report that, in their planning to date, Vail will most likely be the site of the opening ceremony for the event, to be held at a temporary stadium erected at Golden Peak. It will also host some of the technical qualifying races prior to the main competition. Beaver Creek will be the site of all competitive races and the closing ceremony. The location of the awards ceremonies will also be at Beaver Creek because of logistics. Planning is under way for Vail to be the site of many of the sponsors’ social gatherings and large scale public entertainment venues at Golden Peak stadium as well as larger outdoor plaza locations in Vail Village and Lionshead.

Vail will be the primary site for the extensive congregation of vendor booths that accompany the event. In the town’s hosting of previous Alpine Ski Championships, vendor booths were located on the upper deck of the Vail Village public parking structure. Organizers are working to keep parking impacts from participants at a minimum so that Vail businesses are not negatively impacted. They are hoping to avoid creating the “Winter Olympic effect” in the perception of consumers, where higher spending destination guests stay away because of their aversion to overcrowding and overly inflated prices. Negotiations concerning the distribution of housing for competitors and the race entourage are under way.

Organizers say that they are confident that despite an existing shortfall, funding will be forthcoming. In earlier reports the shortfall was estimated to be $6 million. Other observers attribute Vail’s inability to host the main event races to the need for a multimillion-dollar relocation of the Vail Village Vista Bahn necessary to clear space for the race course finish and spectator stadium.

There are advocates saying, because Vail won’t be the site of race events, extra effort should be made to project its image as the leading North American international mountain resort in the global television and media coverage of the championships. The community’s and the surrounding region’s economic future is dependent upon getting a strong post-championships bounce from international visitors. International destination visitors tend to stay longer and spend more aggressivelyon both entertainment and consumables.

The complexion of the ongoing cable television franchise negotiations between the town of Vail and industry giant Comcast has taken a quantum positive leap forward in opening the opportunity for state-of-the-art service to the Vail community. Comcast and the Colorado Department of Transportation recently announced an agreement for Comcast to lease a portion of a CDOT fiberoptic cable that runs along the I-70 mountain corridor between Denver and Vail.

The agreement allows Comcast to launch advanced video, Internet and digital voice services to Vail and other accessible mountain communities. Advanced service allows high-speed Internet access, opening opportunities for mountain-based businesses to engage in e-commerce and telecommuting for their employees. The technology is critical to moving forward the Vail Homeowners Association’s effort to create a communication spine through which local businesses, residential owners and telecommuting entrepreneurs can cost effectively communicate on a global scale.

Through this agreement, Vail has been given the opportunity for multiple platforms of media product to be created and transmitted both locally and worldwide. There are those who believe that Vail media producers are its most effective marketing tools because they will now be able to create media content that show the depth and sophistication of the Vail experience. Importantly, the technology has the capability to expand communication systems necessary to improve the management of traffic congestion, parking and a myriad of other infrastructure related services.

Importantly, the town of Vail has recently heard vigorous complaints from local subscribers about the pricing, quality and content of Comcast local services. The devils will be in the details of the ongoing negotiations. The town is awaiting the outcome of a service audit of the cable system’s operations from a consultant they have retained. The vulnerabilities and condition of Comcast land lines throughout the community have been an ongoing source of concern for property owners.

In the end analysis, subscribers will be focused on the content and pricing of both existing and advanced services. Particularly for nonresident owners, if they are not competitive with the same services they receive back home, there will likely be a vocal outcry. Likewise for those entrepreneurs who dream of using the advanced services to compete head to head with the “outside” world. Then there are those who dream of having state-of-the-art “wireless” communication services that do not involve a tangle of wires being strung on their property. Some see, perhaps naively, that the Comcast/CDOT fiber optic agreement could bring the fulfillment of these dreams several steps closer.

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