Vail Daily editorial: Yes, we’re affected |

Vail Daily editorial: Yes, we’re affected

People in the eastern United States continue to dig out from a very large winter storm that hit the region last weekend, a storm that sent economic ripples across the nation. Our valley caught a couple of those ripples, too.

Flights into the Eagle County Regional Airport were among the thousands of flights airlines canceled last week. The people who were supposed to be on those flights represent a good number of hotel and restaurant reservations, as well as equipment rentals and ski and snowboard lessons. That lost business is unlikely to be a season-killer for anyone, but bottom lines will be affected.

The big winter storm is another reminder, as if we needed one, how connected we really are with the world.

That’s been true for a long time, of course, but it can be easy to think that what goes on the in world doesn’t have much of an impact on Happy Valley.

Sure, we have a busy interstate running right through the heart of our home, but Denver is over a couple of big hills — three, if you want to count the short, steep climb up Floyd Hill between Idaho Springs and Evergreen. We aren’t as remote as, say, Durango — thank heaven — but our valley is some distance from places with more traffic, more crime and more people.

The feeling of relative insulation was most apparent in 2008. As the world’s economy was headed off a cliff, there were sober, smart people among us who believed that our economy would escape most, if not all, of the financial tsunami hitting the rest of the nation.

Those people were wrong, of course. In fact, our valley in some ways was hit harder and had farther to climb back to something resembling normalcy.

The most enduring recent reminder of how connected we are to the world is the value of the dollar compared to foreign currencies. That means it’s significantly more expensive for Europeans, Canadians and Australians to visit the Vail Valley than it was even a year ago.

According to Vail Resorts officials, the loss of foreign guests has been offset by domestic travelers. Still, the people who come from around the globe tend to stay longer and spend more. That, in turn affects businesses up and down the valley.

So next time you hear about some calamity outside the valley, it may be worth a bit more than a shrug of the shoulders.

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