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VR should stay

Don Rogers’ article on the reloction of Vail Resorts headquarters and executives to Denver was absolutely on the mark. The new president of Vail Resorts is not connected to the resort industry in this valley in spirit, word or deed. This is a great miscalucation,in my opinion, which separates most of the top executives of the company from the Eagle and Summit communities, our businesses, our churches, our schools, our political leaders, our service organizations, our social networks, our citizens, their own employees and most importantly the guests to our area.Those executives as they come and go will not taste the experience of skiing in the new snow and hearing the “whoops” of the first morning trackers, they will not be riding up the lift with the resort guests having their first vacation at one of our resorts or hearing first-hand our guests’ opinions (except in surveys) of the experiences they are having. In fact, these executives when living in Denver cannot be a host or even pretend to think like a host as they will not be a host. What incentive and power will they have to improve our schools or upgrade our public infrastructure when they will looking at spreadsheets and see these costs as a property tax increase on their assets instead of an investment in our communities. When a handful of executives come up from Denver and try to conjole us to get their way on an issue, such as co-sharing resort base improvements, they will only hear silence as time goes on as no one will know them anymore. Ralston Purina tried to run Keystone from St. Louis and it did not work. The new owner of Telluride moved from California and is actively involved and more connected to the community – and the community has responded in very positive ways. Where will the new leader “what is his name again” of our resort areas lead our great Vail Resorts, and will the change be for the best or for the worst. There are only two ways it can go.Charlie WickEagleMom OK with photo It has become obvious that a few people were disturbed by the picture on the front page of your newspaper of my son Trent and myself as we shared a very emotional moment. He and his Battle Mountain High School Basketball team had just lost in the state tournament. Be it a little strange to share such a personal moment with our entire community, it was a very real moment, and as Trent said ” What? I am not suppose to cry when we just lost the most important game of my life?” Crying is not the worst thing a teenage boy can do. I really could not possibly be more proud of Trent or the entire Battle Mountain High School Boys Basketball team and their coaching staff. I would also like to extend my appreciation for all fantastic action photos and articles following the boys from the beginning of their season to the end. When can I come by and pick up that picture for my scrapbook?Sally BeckleyVailWhat ails skiingSorry Friends!Some days ago I said in my letter to the Daily: “For some people, all they know about skiing, seems to be that the snow is white.” I think this was not the right thing to say, please excuse! What I wanted to mention was:When Adam Aron followed George Gillett, things started to go another way. Might be for the whole Valley it was better to have a business man as the leader. Selling tickets for skiing will never make as much money as real estate does. So, this was probably the most successful way, but for me as a skier “this kind of skiing” is difficult to swallow.Vail has become the world biggest area for weekend skiing. But the potential of Vail is higher. I doubt that all the touristic capacities of Vail are used, when only one-third of the week the business is running well and the rest is low. A lot of stores close after short time, and prices have to be high to cover the low periods. 1) Vail is the world best ski area for beginners and intermediates . 70 to 80 percent of the skiers are intermediates ore lower. They will find no better skiing according to the slopes, the steepness, the grooming, the weather and the organization of the area. Also for snowboarding it is simply the best. But it would be a joke to say that expert skiers cant find more excitement in Kitzbühl,Verbier, Zermatt, Chamonix, Courchevel, Val d’ Isere and so on.Statistics say that skiing in the U.S. is decreasing, especially above age 40. But isn’t just Vail the perfect place for this age group? In Europe, the sport of skiing has the image to be fun and first of all to be healthy. In U.S. the media have created the image that skiing is an extreme sport – see all the flying stuntmen. Skiing seems to be dangerous. No wonder people goes to the beaches. But after three days there, they get bored and they get overweight or sunburned. A skiing vacation could offer much more and the old Sun Valley movies have definitely showed the skiing world much better than Warren Miller’s “Cliff Jumping.”Simply go to some of the well-known European resorts at this time of the year. Ride up a comfortable gondola or cable car, get up there a glass of red wine or some coffee, put yourself in one of the many lawn chairs, relax and admire the beautiful mountain world. Is it really so difficult to present in America the same kind of comfort for the skiers?This is not only my opinion. Reading from Shauna Farnell about the Olympic Games, she wrote: ” The other big thing is that at Alpen ski areas, one finds a bar at the top of every chairlift. A pack of raucous Europeans can be found standing at the bar at any time of day sipping hot mulled wine. Why American ski areas haven’t caught onto the beauty (not to mention obvious popularity) of this idea is beyond me.”I dont ask for drunken skiers, but there is more to do on a ski mountain than only to go down as fast as possible. Places like the Game Creek Club are an example of how wonderful it could be in Vail. Please compare to it the overcrowded restaurants which are available now. 2) Ski school in Vail is one of the best. It should (and could) produce happy skiers by the thousands – and most important it could help to make the people enjoy the beauty of the Winterworld. In all the many years, when I taught skiing I never had a broken bone. At Vail Hospital they have up to 30 breaks per day. They also count carefully if the skier was wearing a helmet. A helmet doesn’t avoid broken legs, but ski school does. I would propose to find out how many skiers had an accident in ski school. The result would be amazingly low. Skiing needs instructions like golf, tennis and other technical sports do. Vail visitors will not learn by themselves. Therefore may I ask: “How to get guests, if we dont produce enough skiers?”Might be Vail should start to pay the guests for going to ski school instead of charging $100$200 a day. If they become skiers and like to be here, then Vail runs well. 3) For years I am whining about all the old chairlifts on the mountain, but I was wrong.In Europe there has always been a battle over what ski area offers the shortest lift lines and the most spectacular transportation. Lately, a cable car with 200 people and two stories was installed at La Plagne, France. Over there, lift lines have disappeared, and heated chairlifts for six people with a cover to protect against wind and snow have become common.So all of this lift capacity over there did grow and grow. But the mountains did not grow and as there are also a lot of “Greens” over there. Also, the slopes did not grow.If you want to get an idea what European skiing is like, go to Northwoods at 3 p.m. and see all the skiers on their way back from Blue Sky. When I talk to European visitors on Vail mountain, they say skiing here is Heaven.In Vail, the relationship between lift capacities and the capacity of the slopes fits much better. Vail offers today a very special and also seldom-seen skiing experience, which adds to the highly desired powder days. Space is the secret. Just as driving on overcrowded highways is a pain, skiing on crowded slopes is even worse. How high is the value of this?The lift price of $81 seems to become well worth its money as this unique kind of skiing Vail offers seems to have no comparison.4) When I was 25, I was a ski instructor and I was happy when somebody paid me enough to buy lunch. Young people normally have no money. But without all the young people, Vail would be a dead place. Otherwise, who buys the real estate? How many snowboards do you see at the ski rack of Game Creek Club? So, who pays the bills in Vail? Yes, it is the age group 40+! And they dont need rails – they need space! They dont need “Head banging music” – they need peace! No doubt, speed skiing is the way to chase them off the mountain.I am sure Vail’s “Renaissance” will change many things and it will depend on the wisdom of our officials to carefully find the right mixture of all the different needs. Things have been seldom better for Vail. Europe will not be able to turn the times back. What is built is built. But for Vail to learn from those experiences and to do the right things now, might produce a very successful future.Otto Wiest VailWilling to offendA number of people have tried to discourage me from running for county commissioner, saying I will split the vote. This seems to be a prevailing Democratic party member view.As much as I like the other candidates I don’t feel they are going to address what I consider the critical issues in an aggressive and imaginative way, at least not to the degree I am willing to. This takes a long history in the county and a lot of knowledge about the esoteric nature water rights, water law, pressures on the natural environment, energy problems related to peak oil, out-of-control development, etc. It also takes a willingness to speak out in a non political way, and to offend in some cases.Therefore I am going to run for the job. There is no backing out as far as I am concerned. I think many in the Democratic Party see me as a party member which I am not. I am not really interested in politics and party control, I am interested in solving serious problems.Thank you for any support you may give me.Roger Brown Gypsum


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