Vail Daily column: A skeleton in Vail’s closet |

Vail Daily column: A skeleton in Vail’s closet

Richard Carnes
My View
Richard Carnes

We all have ‘em.

Name one person or entity of any sort that claims to have no skeletons in their closet and I’ll show you a person or entity hiding something, and that something is probably pretty embarrassing.

Newt Gingrich and a Clinton (take your pick) come to mind.

Though just because we admit to their existence doesn’t mean we were hiding them in the first place; it only means they are people or experiences that we wish to forget, sort of like the way we’re treating the “War on Terror” nowadays.

For that matter, Mother Earth has relegated entire episodes of her history to the virtual closet of never-never land, like the five mass extinctions that occurred over the past few hundred million years.

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With climate change, fossil fuel dependency, religious wars, over-population, global famines, a thinning ozone, anti-biotic resistant viruses, falling sperm counts, Tea Party members and gluten-free products, we’re busy setting up extinction No. 6 as we speak.


But to find an actual skeleton, like the construction crew over at the old VailGlo Lodge area did last week, takes the meaning of the phrase to a literal level.

The skull, along with a femur and possibly a jawbone and four vertebrae, were not beneath the old buildings, but under the earth excavated closer to the South Frontage Road.

With that area set for re-alignment in a few years, what else will they find?

Amelia Earhart, D.B. Cooper, O.J.’s elusive “real killer” or maybe everyone’s favorite choice whenever a skull in found: Jimmy Hoffa?

As nice as it would be for the family to finally have some semblance of closure, the Julie Cunningham theory, who was killed by psycho Ted Bundy back in 1975, doesn’t appear to hold much water, as the construction there was completed in 1973.

But we can still hope, I suppose.

My guess is the bones belong to an old prospector killed in an 1892 Red Cliff bar fight over the affections of a Ute Indian squaw that was just pretty enough to be there but just dumb enough to think either guy would actually care about her when they were “finished” for the evening.

So as not to get caught, the killer dragged the body, or maybe both bodies (we haven’t found the second one yet), alongside the railroad tracks and turned east at Dowd Junction (or whatever it was called then), and then after a few miles the booze wore off and he started digging.

Hey, it could’ve happened.

But as far as metaphorical skeletons in Vail’s closet, who doesn’t think a few fortunes were made and then lost, and then made again by some at the secret — though direct — expense of others?

Chances are quite a few incidents occurred where pride was not the final emotion. Unscrupulous backdoor deals, “good ol’ boy” financing, basic backstabbing, ex-wives, drunken tirades; you know it all happened at one point or another over the years.

But some things we just don’t need to know, you know?

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

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