Nature does what nature does, and there’s only so much we can do (editorial) | VailDaily.com

Nature does what nature does, and there’s only so much we can do (editorial)

… And God laughs.

It's an old cliche, but for all of humanity's plotting, planning and hard work, there aren't many alternatives if nature won't cooperate.

Whether we're looking at this season's snowpack, or waiting for the wind to die down in Pyeongchang, South Korea, so Mikaela Shiffrin can race, we've spent a good bit of time recently pondering things over which we have no control.

Vail Resorts and other ski companies have for years built their snowmaking and grooming abilities, and they work well. But there's only so much terrain you can cover with manufactured snow and grooming machines.

The Winter Olympics are rehearsed from the first steps into the stadium to the last flicker of the flaming cauldron. But there's nothing to be done when wind blows sand from the Gobi desert onto the ski slopes and tears slalom gates from their moorings. That's when TV broadcasts end up dominated by marathons of figure skating and more curling than the world's busiest hair-perm salon.

But that's TV leading the way in doing what we do in the face of intractable nature: Doing what we can.

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Beyond the Olympics, that lesson is hitting home in the Vail Valley. The snow we have is the snow we have — for both skiing and the summer's water supplies — so we do what we can.

In Vail, the snow we have right now — 69 percent of the 30-year median — is still less than the snow recorded in the driest season on record, 2011-12.

The news is better at higher elevations, but we'd better get ready to put less water into our landscaping this coming summer.

In football, a good quarterback always has an alternative play when he surveys the line of scrimmage. We all do that in our work more or less regularly — it certainly happens at this business when the Olympic women's slalom and giant slalom end up postponed for three nights running.

But we adapt, we work with what we have and we move ahead.

And sometimes, we have a whole lot of Olympic curling on TV.

The Vail Daily editorial board consists of Publisher Mark Wurzer, Editor Krista Driscoll and Business Editor Scott Miller.