Carnes: Staying alert in Happy Valley |

Carnes: Staying alert in Happy Valley

Is it me, or has there been an extraordinary number of accidents on Interstate 70 since the ski mountain closed?

Sure, we had kind of a snowy spring, but the accidents and closings are still occurring in dry weather. 

Our emergency communication system of cell phone texts known as “Eagle County Alerts” is one of the best things to come out of the County building since Arn Menconi retired.

Fortunately, I have my texts backed up online, so I went through all received since the mountain closed in mid-April, and the results speak for themselves.

Along I-70 there have been 40 road closures, with 22 on the eastbound lanes and 18 westbound.

Nicely balanced.

Five were down by Gypsum and Glenwood Canyon, six in Wolcott, six in Dowd Junction and a whopping 23 on Vail Pass.

Not exactly balanced.

Damn, people, slow down, especially on the steep parts.

I see we now have another Hyatt in the valley, and this one is Grand.

I worked there in the mid-’80s when it was a Westin Hotel, which lasted quite a while before it became Vail Cascade, which had a good stretch until it became Hotel Talisa in 2016, which promptly closed for a year and half before finally opening, which then became part of Marriott, and now suddenly is the Grand Hyatt.

Good thing we have stable world-class lodging like The Tivoli, Pepi’s and the Sonnenalp, otherwise guests might think there’s a mess of corporate overlords playing musical chairs with our hotels.

I also see where Vail Resorts’ archrival, Alterra, owned the Bridge Street Ski Haus for the last two years.

Who knew? For that matter, who cared?

Either way, Alterra’s two top dogs, Mike Shannon and Eric Resnick, have been in this valley longer than Vail Resorts Inc. has existed, and still consistently contribute heavily to all things Vail, so it’s kind of a non-issue.

But I do admit it’s pretty funny, sort of like if Vail Resorts owned ski shops at the base of Winter Park and Steamboat.

Side note: I first met Shannon when he moved to town in ’86, and while he was renting a video from my store (Pic-a-Flic in West Vail) some bozo’s car slowly rolled into Mike’s in the parking lot.

Good times.

The Avon Town Council has reached a philosophical bridge over which is more important — making homes more affordable for locals or the fear of losing tax revenue.

Seems like a no-brainer to me.

With a smash-and-grab job at a Bridge Street bike store, a car stolen from a valet at knifepoint and 280-pound felons hanging out in Edwards, what’s next, collective bargaining at Vail Resorts?

And although the existential “law of supply and demand” currently demands bad news far exceed supply, think about the karma involved when your one restaurant in Edwards catches fire, and it just happens to sit right next door to the fire station.

Anyway, like the traffic issues, most likely all of this is caused by a combination of simply more people and the inevitable increase in the stupid people doing stupid things. The numbers might increase, but we’ll survive around here as long as the percentage stays about the same.

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

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