VR move might not be so bad
No question, the buzz on the street this week has been about the pending move of the big guys to Denver. I got a call from the Denver Post asking my reaction. I’ll share it with you.I told them that it’s another step in the “corporatization” of the ski industry. For us it began with Apollo and then the company going public. And truthfully, there was never any going back. But that’s what’s always puzzled me.For years there has been the great “if only” lament. If only George Gillett would buy it back. If only Apollo would sell. If only Adam Aron would act like a local or better yet, leave. If only the passes would be cheaper. Etc. Etc. Etc.Still, the bottom line in my mind has always been the adage “be careful what you wish for because it might come true.” If we’re really honest with ourselves, things have only gotten better in the past 10 years in spite of all the moaning and groaning. Make no mistake, I have done my fair share of critiquing. I have thought on many occasions that the “1,000 pound gorilla” could have been a little more sensitive. But as anybody who knows me will attest, I have also repeatedly affirmed that they have a job to do and they do it better than any ski company in the world, whether we like all of the individual decisions or not. The reality is we should like it. At least most of it. Property values have gone up. Redevelopment is well under way. The mountain is the best in the world. And regardless of what some think, local ski passes are still a great value and by far the best deal offered by any ski company in North America. The bottom line is, Vail Resorts is a good partner in the community. So what’s the problem with the Denver move? Heck, I was upset when they moved to Avon. But why should we care if they load all the file cabinets in the back of a truck and drive over the hill? Well, there’s another cliche that works: This time it’s the one about the double-edged sword.Some of us have friends who will be packing up for the move. But think of it this way: Now you’ll have a place to crash when you go down for the day.Then there’s the economic effect. Denver will hardly notice the addition of 100-plus families. But the loss will be felt here, as that represents a significant number for us. Then there’s the disconnect. Another 100 miles farther away. And another 100 miles closer to Wall Street.But wait! Maybe that’s the good news. Corporate America is what’s packing up and leaving. What we’ll be left with are the ski guys. The same ones who grew up in the business and understand what a powder day is all about. Perhaps this is really about getting back to being a ski town instead of a corporate headquarters. “Yeah!” might be the appropriate response.So for some, part of their wish has come true. For others, nothing the “evil empire” ever does is OK. But at the end of the day, once again, they didn’t ask us, so we had nothing to say about it. It just is what it is.The good news is that the guy left in charge is the best we could ever hope for. He’s been a good friend to me personally, as well as a staunch supporter of the chamber and the business community. I for one see only positives with this recent turn of events.At the same time, I can only wish Adam the best in his future endeavors. But he’ll need no help from here. He’s a very intelligent and talented man who has many successful years ahead. Actually, even though it was annoying at the time, some of our bantering was amusing and I’m told, entertaining for you. But we moved along. I guess our winning the “Best Love/Hate Relationship” in the Vail Trail a few years ago was a bonding experience.So all in all, life is good with regard to Vail Resorts. They’re on a mission, but so are we. In my mind, it’s always been a mistake to think we were or ever should be at odds. I can only guess that the recent and unexpected changes will bode well for us all. Let’s hope so.Now to switch gears for a moment. I for one am sick and tired of going over to the town of Vail on business and not being able to find a parking space. I know for a fact I’m not alone. And then when everyone’s faced with the same problem, the cars get stacked anywhere they can, often blocking access. I was there for a meeting last week and got locked in by some other desperate citizen. People were out of their cars, guiding each other out. It was so close that I had to fold in my rear view mirrors in order to make it through the narrow pathway that was left.I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Taxpayers, citizens, guests and customers of the town should have priority for parking on town of Vail property when attempting to conduct business. Employees should park in the structures, Ford Park, the soccer field lot or take the bus just like everybody else’s employees do. Parking adjacent to the front door of your place of employment is not an employee benefit in this town and it most certainly shouldn’t be for our civil servants. Or have we once again forgotten who works for whom?Do your part: call them and write them. To contact the Town Council, call 479-1860, ext. 8, or e-mail email@example.com. To contact Vail Resorts, call 476-5601 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. For past columns, go to vaildaily.com and click on “Columnists” or search for keyword “ferry.” Kaye Ferry is a longtime observer of Vail government. She writes a weekly column for the Daily.