Vail Daily column: Game of Zones (Parking) |

Vail Daily column: Game of Zones (Parking)

From overflow of the Frontage Road to threats of charging during summer to promises of charging during winter, Happy Valley parking woes continue.

Similar to our on-again, off-again affordable housing issue, how much is enough, where can expansion go, who will use it, who is actually responsible for it, who will pay for it?

Our private little version of “Game of Thrones” has always been dealing with the never-ending battle of who is actually sitting atop the Iron Throne, controlling all beneath, yet never really concerned with the daily needs of the peasants.

Whether or not you think this is a rhetorical metaphor, next season King’s Landing (the capital for the Empire of Vail) will almost certainly surpass the allowable number of days for overflow Frontage Road Parking, while at the same time the Lannisters (Vail leaders) will be discussing the strategic possibilities of charging for parking during the summer months at both King’s Landing and Casterly Rock (Vail and Lionshead parking structures).

Meanwhile, Highgarden (Beaver Creek), long known as the heart of chivalry and class, has announced their intentions to remove the single most popular reason locals visit their mountain in the first place: free parking.

Yes, you have to ride the bus like the commoner that you are, but hey, if you can’t afford to pay to park in Vail then you really can’t afford to ski there either. Besides, according to the Tyrell’s (Beaver Creek leaders), this change “addresses the need to make sure Beaver Creek is offering the best experience” to its real guests: wealthy tourists.

In other words, go find a ski mountain over in Essos instead, as we hear Dothrakis love visitors from Westeros.

Anyway, parking is, of course, one of our primary obsessions aside from money, material possessions, mountain sports and sex (choose your own order).

While most of the leaders in our “Game of Zones’’ are fighting for parking for those who can afford it as opposed to the common good, it appears obvious at times they care more about tourists’ dollars than governing in a fair fashion.

But it’s not all government, of course.

Despite the annual increase in Epic Pass prices and resort industry profits booming, we repeatedly learn that the good guys don’t always win, or even count. In fact, they often pack up and leave, and these latest rounds of decisions and threats will cause more to do so, especially the Wildlings from the other side of the wall (guess who this metaphor refers to … ).

So whether it is the economic threat from Daenerys Targaryen and her dragons (Clinton) or the White Walkers (Trump), art appears to be imitating life around here, as some say Happy Valley’s sense of optimistic local pride has declined steadily since the fall of House Targaryen (George Gillett).

Personally I feel like we are all a bunch of little Tyrion Lannisters searching for meaningfulness to the never-ending madness that is the struggle for affordable and available Happy Valley parking.

Our needs are not going to decrease anytime soon, or anytime at all if we’re lucky, as ultimately the desired objective of the game is more tourists, more events and, of course, more parking.

And no matter what happens we need to be better prepared, for as we all know, winter is coming.

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

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