Vail Valley Voices: Looking ahead 50 years |

Vail Valley Voices: Looking ahead 50 years

Vail Homeowners Association
Vail, CO, Colorado

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

Community needs to shape its vision for the next 50 years: Vail is working from master plans that have locked the development of the community into replicating time and again the same architectural formulas it has followed for the past several decades. The mimicking of past success is no assurance that these approaches will remain effective ad infinitum.

What has been created in Vail’s first 50 years is outwardly visually appealing to most, but there is criticism that internally many buildings are a clone of one another, creating a monotonous repetition of uses. If the community’s redevelopment continues under the same set of rules, the scale and unique characteristics of older venerable neighborhoods, like Vail Village, some fear, will be crowded out by the new.

Treasuring the past while embracing the future: There are those calling for historic zoning. Others are visioning more far reaching approaches to create opportunities for each generation to leave its mark on the community without destroying its character and appeal.

The more far-reaching visions foresee that perhaps in 50 years, the youth of today will live to see opportunities created for new neighborhoods – e.g., open space and amenities – if Interstate 70 were buried or relocated.

The task of fulfilling this vision should be put into their hands. Some believe that by pursuing the hosting of the 2022 Winter Olympics, the planned high-speed passenger train from Denver becomes a more realistic possibility.

Each of these grand dreams opens the way to the constant renewal and regeneration of the community, which are the hallmarks of creative economic and social success.

Zero growth destroys both past and future: There are those who would like to see no more growth. Vail followed that model for a time in decades past. Inflationary costs of economic stagnation and deterioration resulted.

Vail in its periods of dynamic growth has attracted the best and brightest of each generation for a time. Most move on, but many

stay, adding a youthful enthusiasm, which energizes the vitality of the community. Youthful energy blooms with opportunity, and the entire community benefits from the economic advancement created by new ideas.

Much more needs to be done today to unleash employment opportunities through attracting new, high-paying, intellectually rewarding enterprises.

Vail’s legacy is the future: In this time of global economic stress, there is much to be rediscovered by emulating the pioneering spirit of Vail’s founding generation.

These founders looked outward to the world for inspiration and economic success. They turned to the youth of their community to realize their vision, handing them great responsibility to shape the future of the community.

Daunting as the tasks were, there was perseverance and an “anything is possible” spirit that infected all who chose to join in making the shared dream a reality.

Vail has grown and spread this energy throughout the Vail Valley, shaping the form of most contemporary mountain resorts throughout the world.

So once again, it is time for our elected decision makers to reach beyond their own personal interests and open the door not only to local residents but to all who love Vail throughout the world so that we all may together weave the tenuous threads of our dreams into the enduring fabric of the community.

Support Local Journalism