Vail Colorado was a great decade of my life, minus the wanting to lead the world environmentally part. Actually that part is way worse living in Big Sky, MT, because when I lived in Vail I didn't ask the community to lead environmentally when the town and ski area wouldn't. I kept the requests to the mountain which initially was Vail Associates that changed to Vail Resorts, and the Town of Vail. But they were not at all interested in real environmental, while proclaiming sincere interest and great work. The town had town council meetings, and sometimes combined town and mountain top management meetings, which were put on the local Vail tv channel. So when I would address these people at these meetings, I'd always try to remember to remind them that if they would just shut up about it, I wouldn't have to humiliate myself telling Vail to either be the environmental you claim you are, stop talking anything environmental, or put things in perspective. State what you are doing, then the much more important, what you refuse to do. But this was and remains Vail, arrogant Vail, so they didn't care about being decent people. The guys on the chairlift rides, would tell me how funny I was at these meetings. I'd tell the guys, you're a bigger loser than me if you watch those meetings. They would say, we don't, we only watch when we are flipping through the channels and see you.
You know who didn't think it was funny, was the town council and mountain management. One time I went to a town council meeting and said, if you won't listen to me on what the problems and solutions are, then here is a list of library books you need to read to you understand the subject matter. Then I went to the next meeting and said, who read a book? No one had, they probably still haven't. So yeah I kept the guys laughing. That was because I never did like I did in Big Sky, ask them directly, because that is when people stop thinking my wanting them to learn and lead is funny.
The Environmental Educator started November 17, 1993 when looking at the comics page in Vail. I said right here, this is where you need to put the education and agenda the world needs in front of the world everyday for free. Then I went to the town and mountain and said let's lead. That wasn't happening. Then I called the National Renewable Energy Laboratory which was two hours away, and said I think I can get Vail to work with you. I got a tour of the NREL without asking for one, which I learned on my tour doesn't happen. Chris Ryman a vice president at the ski area gave me a free ski pass. Then Chris would not meet with me again. That was until the end of that season, when I must have done something they didn't like, and Chris called me in. A top manager Joe Macy who I knew a little just by being around, filled in for Chris. Joe told me how smart I am, and that I'm wasting myself in Vail. Aspen has a think tank and you need to go there. I said did you just tell me to leave. Joe said no, but I said yes you did. I eventually took Chris to court, to try to live up to my end of the free ski pass deal. The deal was I get a pass and we start talking at least, preferably much more which still needs to be accomplished. So I saw Chris in court. I filed in small claims court where lawyers are not allowed. Chris and the ski area moved it up to some other court, and their lawyer got it dismissed. That was better than my worst case scenario, with the mountain asking me to pay them for the pass, since I skied but didn't do anything to get it. What it did was prove just how disinterested the ski area is in environmental solutions.
So Vail and I had this back and forth, and they were all so proud to be preventing solutions. Then the ski area decided to expand. It was hugely environmentally abusive, and way more than a grand slam of greenhouse gas emissions. But Vail didn't care. Some Denver group argued against it, because it was lynx habitat, even though no one had seen a lynx in a decade. Then someone lit Vail on fire one night. I woke up to the radio news saying Two Elk burnt, patrol headquarters burnt. I was like is that the patrol unit at Two Elk or patrol headquarters a mile down the ridge? Immediately upon waking up I knew I would be talking to federal officers. This was Monday morning. Wednesday morning the ATF showed up. That's always fun having the feds show up at your door, asking you if you started a fire. They showed up a lot of places, including at top management doors. But I was point blank asked, I'm sorry but we have to ask you, did you set these fires? When they were leaving the lead guy said, you know we're just doing our job. I said you know I appreciate that, because guys like you prove people like me innocent. It took a while, seven years before those who did this were arrested. This actually made for really funny chairlift rides. But thing was, I couldn't say some of my best jokes, like yeah I a thinking then add in some sarcasm, because it was too risky. Then interestingly enough, years later waiting tables in Big Sky, I waited on one of the agents who made the arrest. I thanked them for clearing my good name.
Fast forward to 2017 and Vail Resorts CEO signed the Open Letter 300 CEOs sent to Trump, when Trump dismissed America from the ridiculous and will never achieve anything Paris Agreement. But point is, what nerve by this CEO. Well actually since I believe it is a new CEO now. I again sent Vail Resorts the solutions the world needs, that they have been refusing since November 1993. I said lets lead. Maybe if you didn't do that big beyond environmentally abusive expansion, and expanded on every other unenvironmental thing you do, Trump wouldn't have this problem to solve. But the CEO or the office never gave it to the CEO, someone rejected solutions again. So Vail will continue to expand on beyond unenvironmental actions, and remain environmentally literate, and so much more, while blaming Trump for existing a ridiculous agreement, that wouldn't have been needed if Vail had given the world the environmental solutions the world still needs and seeks today starting in 93 when Vail was presented the opportunity to lead the world. Vail, both the town and ski area will continue to do this until they are humiliated into doing the right thing.
There is so much more that happened in Vail. It again is a chapter in my book, and a funny one. Stay tuned, you will learn that Vail will continue to not care about the environment, until Vail is humuliated into doing the right thing.