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Vail Daily column: My, how things have changed

Date: The last Friday in February, 1985.

Reagan was beginning his second term and meeting with new Soviet leader Gorbachev. Rock Hudson died of AIDS, Madonna began her “Virgin” tour and Coca-Cola introduced “New Coke” to complete worldwide condemnation.

But none of that mattered, as I was living in the Pine Ridge apartments behind Safeway in West Vail and had 30 minutes to meet a few buddies at Mid-Vail.

It had snowed the night before, but the Front Range weekend warriors wouldn’t arrive until late afternoon at the earliest, so I thought I could make it. Hoping in my trusty Toyota 4Runner, I flew down the North Frontage Road, only stopping for a brief moment at the four-way stop, and was lucky enough to find a parking spot just east of the Mill Creek Court building.

Running in my Raichle boots and carrying my K2 205s, I hopped on Chair 1, skied a few hundred feet to the base of Chair 2, and was able to schuss down Mid-Vail Express to meet my buddies just in time.

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Date: The last Friday in February, 2015.

Obama and the FCC are busy “neutralizing the net,” ISIS is busy “neutralizing” anything with a heartbeat that won’t shout “Allah Akbar” and a critic of Russian leader Putin is assassinated a few blocks from the Kremlin.

Oh, and what color that damn dress is rules social media.

But none of that matters, as I am living in Edwards and have two hours to meet a few buddies at Mid-Vail.

It snowed the night before, and I knew the Front Range weekend warriors would already be crawling west on I-70, but I thought I could make it.

Hopping in my trusty GMC pickup, I fly down from Homestead and wait patiently at the Edwards red light. A few minutes later I again wait patiently as what appears to be a 125-foot semi sluggishly pulling out of the Edwards Rest Stop parking lot, easing ever-so-slowly over the bridge, and finally maneuvering its way through the roundabout and up the eastbound on-ramp of I-70.

I quickly pulled into the fast lane and high-tailed it past Avon and through Dowd Junction. Approaching the Cascade on my right, I couldn’t help but notice the line of cars parked along the Frontage Road.

“Hmmmm … ” I wonder. Must be a big function going on over there.

Ten seconds later the car line began anew, and I observe that it stretches as far east as the eye can see.

Crap.

Getting off at the main Vail exit, I patiently wait my turn in the full roundabout and then head east, but alas, the parking structure was full, as well as Ford Park and whatever they call the parking just north of the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater.

After making a U-turn, I discover the same to the west. Parking structure full, South Frontage Road packed solid, Cascade still full, even Donovan Park.

Double crap.

Thirty minutes later (yes, 30, as in half a friggin’ hour), I’m making one my many loops back and forth when, lo and behold, a nice officer removes the FULL sign in front of the Lionshead parking structure right in front of little ol’ me, and I whip in faster than you can ask, “Where’d all these people come from?”

Running in my Nordica boots and carrying my Rossi 168’s, I hoped on the gondola, skied down to Chair 7, made it to the top, and was able to schuss down Mid-Vail Express to meet my buddies just in time.

No, wait, I was about 20 minutes late.

But either way, damn, where did all those people come from?

Richard Carnes, of Edwards, writes weekly. He can be reached at poor@vail.net.


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