Photo by Ryan Sullivan
Vail Resorts was right to name ski run Lindsey’s, Donovan makes a misstep
March 9, 2010 —
It was a fairly impressive crowd gathered at the C Restaurant in Vancouver for the celebration of Lindsey Vonn’s Olympic performance. Inside Edition, NBC, the Denver Post, and of course the hip-and-internet-savvy realvail.com were there with media from around the world, and Vail luminaries, to toast Vail’s bold, bright, beneficent poster girl on her recent, and honorable, achievement.
I was a bit disappointed in the announcement that came later in the night – but not for the reasons you might think. I was hoping Rob Katz would be announcing that Vail Resorts had purchased Whistler. I had been in Vancouver all February covering the Olympics for the Olympic News Service, and had quickly fallen in love with the myriad harbors of Vancouver, it’s towering mountains, glass-walled high-rises, congenial people, liberal social philosophies, and even its talented top femme fetal, Neko Case (any NP fans out there?). A Vail property in Canada would have been a ready-made excuse to visit time and again, and I was already cooking up plans for realwhistler.com.
Instead, we learned Vail Resorts would re-name “International” to “Lindsey’s,” and while Lindsey held up a sign bearing her name, everyone applauded – but not me. I waited a moment, looked at Lindsey, looked at the beaming faces of the Vail power-set of John Garnsey, Ceil Folz, Rob Katz, and Kelly Ladyga. I submerged my desire to spread immediate congratulations, and took a few minutes to think about whether or not this was the right call.
It was absolutely the right call, and I assured some of those behind the decision that very few, if any, murmurs of dissent would come from Vail.
Protesting against an accolade for Lindsey Vonn, who attained the worldwide dream of millions, who will inspire generations of American women to ski fast and live well, who has been nothing but courteous in all of her dealings, on camera and off, is patently absurd. It would be like protesting puppies, I reasoned, or babies, or mother Theresa. It would be like going on strike against the Red Cross. The woman who became a great speed-event skier at Ski Club Vail, lived for years in our small, tight-knit community, and who takes our name with her wherever she goes, had just brought a Gold Medal home to Vail and anything short of a lifetime of recognition would be ski sacrilege. International made the perfect choice, not just because it’s a fairly plain name to begin with, and because of its race history, but because the run is right on the foremost face of Vail Mountain.
Right where everyone can see it.
Which is right where we want Lindsey.
So my old family friend Kerry Donovan is smearing egg on her face as she protests this event, which otherwise would have sailed off smoothly. Whether she likes it or not, and despite weakly-worded disclaimers to the contrary, she is defiling the honor of a Gold medal. She may opine that another run would have been better, but voicing that opinion is a song out of tune for Donovan, a kind of jealous reproach at Lindsey, especially knowing Donovan is an avid, soulful World Cup ski fan.
Intentionally or not, it also comes off as a cheap shot at Vail Resorts. Like many, I often pine for the days when Vail Resorts was privately held. Those days, however, are long gone, and in the modern reality it is always best when our Town Council works with, not against, Vail Resorts. It seems to me that Donovan’s protest of this fairly trivial matter of nomenclature is inspired, in part, by a determination to show Vail Resorts that she’s not afraid to quibble.
But quibbling it is. There are, without question, times to question VR. However it is wise to remember that VR is the economic engine of the Valley, and that part of their job is to spread the word – worldwide – about Vail. No one can do that better than America’s all-time best women’s skier, who even now is gathering crowds of thousands around her in Europe.
Fortunately, the overwhelming majority agree with me, and the murmurs of dissent are already drowning in the laudable, and innocent, waves of pride which we all feel when we take our last run of the day, down Lindsey’s. It was an honor for me to be there, to shake her hand and congratulate her, and I’ll be ringing my Lindsey Vonn cowbell with enthusiasm for many years to come.
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