Carnes: Talk about Tough Mudder
While some still believe it has been over eight years since the Vail Valley last held a triathlon on steroids known as the “Tough Mudder,” there are more than a few in Avon who would beg to differ.
I’d say last Thursday’s mudslides were tougher to handle than anything those testosterone-filled, booze-enhanced, mud masochists could come up with, plus it was absolutely free for any and all Avon citizens to enjoy.
And we thought roundabouts were difficult to maneuver on ice.
However, the free part only lasted until the rains stopped falling and the mud stopped sliding, leaving untold tens of thousands of dollars for those directly affected to deal with.
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Multiple units along Nottingham Road tried their best to keep the mud up on the hillside where it belongs, but the fact that they are inanimate objects meant they simply stood still while the mud flowed its way through every opening it could find on its way down through homes, across Interstate 70, around a few roundabouts, through a few condo units and into the Eagle River and Nottingham Lake.
On the other hand, the owners and renters of those units did everything they possibly could to stem the flow, but in most cases Mother Nature and gravity won the moment, the end result being frantic searches for insurance policies to see what would be covered once they uncovered the damage.
Standard homeowners and renters insurance does not normally cover floods, meaning it’s sort of like “batteries not included” if you live in an area prone to flooding, but come on, most homes in mountain areas are built on some level of incline, so why pay for extra insurance you’ll probably never need?
Unfortunately, what we have here is Exhibit A. Not having a burn scar was no problem for this mud.
Some could have purchased separate hazard insurance (roof snow crushing a car in the driveway) or peril insurance (Vail Resorts cloud-seeding plane lands on your house), but it appears many affected by this will have to deal with it on their own financially.
I have a longtime friend (and proud member of the Precision Lawn Chair Demonstration Team since the early ’90s) who owns a unit down in Beaver Bench Condos next to the lake.
A few years ago, his unit was one of those completely lost in a fire. It took two years of fighting and a lifetime of frustration to have it rebuilt and some of his belongings replaced.
Yes, you guessed correctly, his brand-new unit was completely trashed by the mud flow, and to make matters worse, he is currently out of town, his unit now trashed as ever (but not smoldering this time), and he’s already been told his insurance does not cover the damage.
It’s the proverbial “if it wasn’t for bad luck, he’d have none at all.”
Yet my friend is just one of many.
Some of our residents covered in mud barely make enough to cover rent, much less insurance, and then Saturday we had a horse race down I-70 and Sunday we had yet another fire burning along the highway between Eagle and Gypsum, helping to maintain our smoke-filled skies for at least another week.
This “Mudder of a Summer” is getting tougher.
Richard Carnes, of Avon, writes weekly. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.