Vail Mayor: Incredible effort on all fronts helped sustain challenging ski season (column)
As the 2017-18 season comes to a close on Vail Mountain, I couldn’t be prouder to look back on the past 145 days and marvel at how this community pulled together to deliver quality experiences for our guests, on and off the mountain.
Thank you to our bus drivers, parking attendants, lift operators and so many others who made a difference this season in helping our guests enjoy their visits in every way. Your hospitality and random acts of kindness throughout the season will be remembered by many of our guests and will factor greatly into their decision to return.
I was especially impressed with the resourcefulness of the Vail Mountain operations team as they worked their magic to provide exceptional conditions, taking advantage of every possible moment for snowmaking and grooming to compensate for lack of natural snowfall. The decision to increase grooming in the Back Bowls by 30 percent was another plus appreciated by our guests.
And then there was Burton.
When the Burton U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships returned for their sixth year here in March, many of the athletes had just taken part in the Winter Olympics, where their spirited competition dominated attention from all corners of the world. The Vail Mountain operations crew expertly prepared the slopestyle and halfpipe courses at Golden Peak, and hosting these amazing competitors in Vail was one of the highlights of the season.
The Olympics also showcased the incredible talent of Mikaela Shiffrin and Lindsey Vonn, as well as 17 other local Olympians. Earlier in the year, we honored Ski & Snowboard Club Vail for its role in supporting and developing many of these talented athletes.
The season was also highlighted by many other events and activities we’ve come to enjoy.
Events such as Vail Holidays, Snow Days, Pink Vail, Spring Back to Vail, Taste of Vail and the Vail Film Festival are well established and were especially helpful in rounding out the guest experience while contributing to our local vitality.
While much of our focus was spent on ensuring the winter season was the best it could be, we set in motion some exciting initiatives for the future, including the Vail Town Council’s support for the Colorado Classic, which will feature circuit and time trial cycling races to be held in Vail in August in partnership with the Vail Valley Foundation.
Our global presence also gained momentum during the year, with a promising trip to Yamanouchi, Japan, to explore our international interests of diplomacy and friendships. We were equally honored to be recognized during events in Portugal and Germany as one of the top sustainable destinations in the world.
Here at home, we’ve been making steady progress on our community priorities of housing and parking. Construction of a new neighborhood in West Vail is nearly complete, with 32 townhomes at Chamonix Vail. Each of the new homes will be occupied with new residents and families by the middle of May.
Soon, the Solar Vail development will break ground, which will provide an additional 65 new rental apartments in time for the start of the 2019-20 ski season. Both developments are significant in that they represent substantial public-private partnerships and are deed-restricted, limiting occupancy to residents in perpetuity.
Additional partnerships have resulted in the design and groundbreaking of a new parking garage that will coincide with the renovation of Red Sandstone Elementary School as a result of an agreement between the town, Eagle County Schools and Vail Resorts. The structure will add 160 spaces to our inventory of public parking in time for the start of the next ski season.
While there’s much more to look forward to in the coming months, I’d like to extend my sincere appreciation and thanks to everyone on and off the mountain for a job well done this season. We couldn’t have done it without you!
Dave Chapin is the mayor of Vail.