Carnes: Forever Vail, but never Ever Vail, the proposed third portal for Vail Mountain (column) |

Carnes: Forever Vail, but never Ever Vail, the proposed third portal for Vail Mountain (column)

First discussed in 2006 when Happy Valley was a much different animal than it is today, the proposed third portal for Vail Mountain known as Ever Vail was not officially approved by the town until six years later in 2012.

The ’06 economy, along with the future of the recreational ski industry, was on the upswing after the tragedy of 9/11 forever altered the face of the world, yet another six years later had again transformed thanks to the unchecked greed of unscrupulous members of the financial industry.

Say what you will about Katz & Co., but they damn sure know how to analyze numbers and trends. Another 12 prime acres filled with another million square feet of bars and shops and 450 more condos and hotel rooms no longer held the potential appeal as when first proposed, yet the long sought-after approvals from the town of Vail were finally granted, so Vail Resorts graciously accepted and then smartly put the plans on a top shelf in a dark closet in Broomfield.

And now here we are, yet another six years has flown by, and again the recreational ski industry has transformed, only this time due — at least in part — to dwindling snow totals and worldwide fear of another economic downturn. And it appears Vail Resorts is content to leave the closet door shut and locked, but of course, they’ll keep the key close, just in case.

Good decision.

Over the decades, our valley has been littered with the carcasses of developers’ dreams and the nightmares of national chains believing they would be the proverbial exception to the rule of being successful in a market far too small for such lofty aspirations.

Denny’s, Office Depot, Outback Steakhouse, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Taco Bell, Sears (yeah, it was only a catalog store, but still …), Burger King and Baskin & Robbins (the ones that used to be in Vail Crossroads) and Wendy’s in West Vail.

All gone, and I’m sure there are a few more my aging brain can’t remember.

And, of course, there was Adam’s Rib, Brightwater, the new town of Wolcott (complete with a lake), Eagle River Station, the West End Project in Edwards, the Village-at-Avon and, least but certainly not last, Ginnturn.

The point is not to simply poke fun at all those who failed or failed to realize anywhere near the potential they dream of based upon success in urban environments, but to applaud Vail Resorts for having the foresight to predict future needs and plan accordingly.

Don’t get me wrong, however, as this is not written as a love letter to the almighty Vail Resorts.

Almost 3 1/2 decades in Happy Valley and I’ve never worked a nanosecond for them, yet they provided me with a free SUV (a long ski race story from 1986) and I have a lifetime ski pass (another long story, but let’s just say my wife deserves all the credit), so it’s not like I’m brown-nosing for a better position.

Just trying to give a little credit where credit is due.

So while Vail will always be “Vail,” common sense dictates we are not in need of more empty store fronts, empty beds, bars and restaurants or the housing for those already unable to afford it. And we’ll still continue to survive forever and ever.

Richard Carnes, of Edwards, writes weekly. He can be reached at

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