Vail Daily letter: ‘Good old days’ | VailDaily.com

Vail Daily letter: ‘Good old days’

For much of the summer and especially in Sept. 19 Valley Voices, the Vail Homeowners Association has lamented special events and parking on the frontage road.

The easiest solution to the problem — as the Home Owners Association apparently sees it — is to do away with special events and forget about summer advertising.

I opened the Lodge at Vail on June 1, 1963, for the summer season. It took nine days for the first paying guest to wander in from US 6. At that time, businesses barely hung on waiting for the Christmas season. There were only three restaurants in town. It wasn’t a question which was the best but rather a question which one was the worst. Until the mid-1960s, the only reservation you needed was the one for the $5 per person Lodge Sunday buffet.

The business infrastructure of Vail is set up to handle 50,000 visitors. It includes superb shopping, dining and lodging. There are about four months out of the year that can be considered “high season,” but expenses go on as if it was high season all the time.

Maybe the Homeowners Association misses the old days when you could get in last minute just about anywhere. Without special events and off-peak season marketing, Vail can probably get back to a few crummy restaurants pretty quickly — I can think of several businesses that would no longer exist if it wasn’t for the Farmers’ Market.

This Sunday was the last Farmers’ Market and the last weekend the gondola was open for business. If you want to see what Vail looks like without marketing, without events or a long weekend to draw visitors, swing by Vail Village around 2 p.m. Oct. 18. It may make you nostalgic for the “good old days” but then have a look at the restaurants and shops you enjoy — they’ll be losing money now until there’s enough snow to crank up the lifts.

Since doing away with summer special events and their promotion is unrealistic, maybe one solution to the frontage road parking problem could be to discontinue free parking.

The parking structures fill up with construction workers by mid-morning. By the time the costumers arrive they have to park on the frontage road.

There should be a free time period for customers to attend special events, shop and dine as there is in the winter, and of course parking should be free after 3.

Joe Staufer

Vail