Vail Daily column: What we learned from Park City
The opportunity to compare and contrast Vail’s resort community qualities with our counterparts in Park City earlier this month was an enlightening and rewarding experience that has set the tone for a new initiative identified by the Town Council to ensure Vail’s long-term competitiveness. With redevelopment in Vail largely completed, we’re now working to identify “what’s next” to keep Vail at the forefront of our resort competitors.
Comprised of representatives from the Vail Town Council and staff, our delegation traveled to Park City to compare notes on best practices and to gain valuable firsthand insights that will be used in drafting our long-term strategic plan, which the council will complete in the fall.
WHAT MAKES VAIL UNIQUE
One of my greatest takeaways from the trip is a deeper appreciation of the characteristics that define Vail and help to distinguish us from our competitors. In particular, our ability to offer a welcoming pedestrian environment through a combination of transit and parking options tops the list and serves as a testament to the extraordinary vision of Vail’s founders.
There’s also the connection to Vail Mountain, both physically and spiritually, that is unsurpassed. The long-term investment and community partnership demonstrated by Vail Resorts is also noteworthy, and it became a topic of great interest during our visit.
Other notable strengths that became evident during our Park City comparison trip include the impressive sense of arrival our guests experience when entering from the east or the west due to our distinct town boundaries; our focus on destination guests; our ability to present large-scale special events; and our diversified revenue sources, such as the real estate transfer tax.
Help Us Help Our Guests
After sharing notes about our experiences, we’ve identified a variety of topics for additional exploration by the Town Council. These include a review of our taxing structure to determine if additional capacity exists to fund more economic development initiatives, such as a sustainable air program; increased involvement by the town to help determine how best to reduce the number of road closures on Vail Pass; enhanced collaboration with the state of Colorado, Eagle County, chamber organizations and other partners; how best to build upon our iconic events; a municipal performance-based budgeting system; and a community leadership program that would build upon the work done by the Vail Valley Young Professionals organization.
In addition to the follow-up work from our Park City visit, we’ll be hitting the road in October to learn what’s new in Aspen as we continue our peer resort trips. A competitive assessment is also taking place that will identify additional opportunities as we look to solidify our future.
This is a topic that will be discussed frequently during our upcoming Town Council meetings, and we invite members of the community to join us as we work to preserve the characteristics that have helped to define Vail while answering the question “What’s next?”
Andy Daly is the mayor of Vail.
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