Letters to the editor
Land we could buy
After reading “Bair Ranch becomes more complex,” I have an conservative-based Republican voters observation: It isn’t more complex. It is dead in the water.
There is a bright side, though, a direct purchase of Legrande Bair’s publicly accessible parcel may in the works and is perfect for the Eagle County taxpaying residents.
Conservatives aren’t against open space. They’re against loose spending of taxpayer money and have expressed that opinion repeatedly. They want to have any open space be publicly usable – i.e., family friendly. Legrande Bair’s parcel backs up to Cottonwood Pass, so it is accessible, has full water rights, fishing and under the conservation guidelines, may be used like any other state or federal park. This allows for motorized use, non-motorized use and camping areas, much like the BLM or federal forest use.
Even better, rather than paying money for something not purchased and for observation only, Eagle County will own the property outright while enjoying it.
Now we’re talking! Eagle County Commissioner Arn Menconi has stated he supports preserving the ranch through a direct purchase and the Eagle County portion is presenting a reasonable buying opportunity for us.
I sincerely hope our county continues to have purchase negotiations with Legrande Bair. This would benefit all of us.
Contact your county commissioners at email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com or call them at 328-8600 and show support for the new Bair Ranch “adventure.” Oh, and thank you Commissioner Stone.
Review your history
I didn’t know that when I went to breakfast this Sunday morning I was going to the church of the Vail Daily. The mornings letter to the editor sermon was not enlightening and it was a meager excuse to
fill the page with a too long, not very well written piece of propaganda.
Mr. Fiske states “Christians, Muslims, Hebrews, and Hindus have slaughtered one another over the centuries, because of religious differences.”
I take offense at this comment and can only speak for my fellow Jews. We don’t slaughter and we don’t fight over religion except within ourselves such as orthodox versus secular. For 2,000 years we have been slaughtered and have had to defend ourselves and our only aggressiveness is to defend our right to a Jewish homeland, that tiny speck in the Middle East called Israel. Mr. Fiske needs to review his history.
I’ve lived and skied here since 1980. I spend most of my time in the back. The fact that there is a lot of terrain and it takes some effort to access that terrain results in relatively unique snow conditions. Those conditions are fantastic.
If a chair is built allowing easy access to the west side of Sun Down Bowl (Seldom, etc.), those conditions will cease to exist forever. A prime example of the impact of a single chair is Chair 17 and the effect on Yonder. Yonder used to ski as Seldom and Never ski now. After Chair 17 was added, Yonder is now bumped except when it’s been groomed. Another example is the effect of 17 and Tea Cup Express on Jade Glade and Ghengis. Again, new lifts, easy access, more skiers, bumps, or if groomed, cruisers.
If I want to ski bumps or groomed runs, I can ski on virtually any other area of the mountain and find all I want.
If I want to ski relatively untouched snow, my options are limited to few areas and Sun Down Bowl contains the lion’s share.
For these reasons I also oppose a high speed replacement of Chair 5.
Initially I was going to send my opinion alone to the Forest Service. Then I decided to take a survey of sorts. I offered people three options: 1) no change to Chair 5, no additional chair;-2) high speed replacement for Chair 5, no additional chair; 3) high speed replacement for chair 5, plus an additional high speed chair. Survey says: 50/77-64.9 percent option 1;-21/77-27.3 percent option 2; 6/77-7.8 percent option 3.
Please allow Sun Down Bowl to remain as it is.
Recently you quoted my remark urging the town of Avon to carefully examine all considerations before moving ahead with the dismantling of the bridge over the Eagle River just east of Beaver Creek Blvd.
I am pleased to say that they did examine it rigorously, and I feel a little sheepish in having to say that I now agree with the conclusion that it was (a) not of true historic interest, and (b) beyond repair.
The town manager, Larry Brooks, and the engineer, Norm Woods, were rightly confident in the judgment they had already arrived at prior to citizen questions.
Even so, they were generous and thorough in their response to our concerns. So were Mayor Buz Reynolds and Councilman Ron Wolfe. They even got the engineer, Hannes Spaeh, to come down and explain that rust is rust and broke is broke, if ever so much more eloquently.
The experience has left me with a new confidence in both the professionalism and responsiveness of Avon government. It has also taught me an important lesson.
The lesson is that while there may be rewards inherent in going to work every day in the diligent pursuit of a competent outcome, it is much more fun to race in at the last minute, arms waving, with little information, or better, misinformation, and create a great stir. Particularly when it leads to spending time with the fine men listed above.
The positive result of the brouhaha is a new interest in the bridge site as a potential river park, and a determination to replace the bridge with a, well, bridge.
Have a look for yourself. There is deep water for swimming, good characteristics for kayakers, a sandy beach, and some parking. It’s on the bike path. It should give Avon its first good river attraction.
Keep it slow
I am writing in regards to the permit application for two new chairlifts in Sundown Bowl. In doing so, I am requesting that the Forest Service deny this application.
When Vail Mountain first came to be, the thing that made it so very different could easily be summed up in two words. Back Bowls. To this day, if you take away the Back Bowls, Vail Mountain is just another great ski hill. It’s what separates us from every other mountain in North America and why for many, Vail will always be No. 1.
With names like Yonder and Over Yonder and Seldom and Never used to identify the outer reaches of the original bowls, one who had never skied Vail Mountain could only look at a trail map and imagine the sort of remote and wild place that could inspire such designations.
There was a time when Over Yonder really was! And those willing to take the time to venture forth were rewarded with a late powder stash or challenging crud over a relatively smooth base.
With the addition of China Bowl and Chair 17, the Yonder trees now become a bump run shortly after opening day and remain so for the duration of the season. Yonder Gully is now groomed several times a week – completely counter to the original spirit of the renowned and fabled Back Bowls.
Now, Vail Resorts has proposed an upgrade to Chair 5 and the addition of a new chairlift in Sundown Bowl. I believe these proposed chairs would not only be superfluous and unnecessary, but would also create a dangerous situation at the lower end of the new chair. While it is commonly accepted in the world that bigger and faster is better, this attitude does not apply in this specific case.
First, the number of days that see long lines at the existing chair are relegated only to powder days. That a few impatient people do not like the inconvenience of waiting in an occasional line does not justify compromising the last vestige of adventure skiing within the boundaries of the original Back Bowls. The conversion of Chair 5 and the addition of yet another lift to the bowl would be the end of the bowl experience as we know it and, as it is still marketed by the ski company itself.
Secondly, as we have witnessed with Chair 17 on a crowded day, we see overflow for the lift maze running out to the Sunup catwalk, making it a dangerous situation for skiers descending from the upper slopes and for others going through on the catwalk. This scenario would be repeated in Sundown Bowl. In fact the situation might be even worse due to the steep and narrower nature of the topography. Again, there is not enough need for this lift to justify the disturbance of the natural lay of the land that lift construction would require.
Please don’t allow areas like Seldom and Never to become Often and Always. Please do not give in to the continuing drive to be “bigger and faster” just for the sake of being “bigger and faster.” The mountain is big enough. It is modern enough. It is more than convenient enough.
Please leave some vestige of what skiing used to be about. A few days of long lines and impatient people who can’t relax is not enough reason to take away the spirit of adventure and the challenge of the open bowl and natural snow. Allow the public to relax and enjoy the ride, take in the views and appreciate where they are. Please deny the permits for the new chairlifts in Sundown Bowl.
Thank you for the story last week about the Vail marketing efforts directed towards Colorado skiers. With regards to the Vail Values program, businesses interested in participating can e-mail their offers to firstname.lastname@example.org or fax them to 477-2698. If anyone has a question about the program, they can call Stephen Connolly at 476-1346. Thanks again for the coverage.