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No ESPY for Vail's Vonn ... but at least Danica didn't win
Lindsey Vonn missed out on an ESPY this year but did win the overall World Cup title.
Courtesy of the U.S. Ski Team 

No ESPY for Vail's Vonn ... but at least Danica didn't win

Greg Norman goes big, hits and misses in the newspaper war, and much more
By David O. Williams

July 18, 2008 —  OK, some quick housekeeping items for the weekend:

First, Vail ski racer Lindsey Vonn did not win an ESPY Award this week for Best Female Athlete of the Year, but it’s fairly awesome she was even in the running.

Hoops star Candace Parker got the nod, but at least Lindsey, the Ski Club Vail product who won the overall World Cup title last season, didn’t lose out to another nominee, racecar driver Danica Patrick.

I’m psyched Danica got her first Indycar win this season, but I can’t put racecar drivers in the same category as downhill skiers in terms of athletic accomplishment.

No offense to Vail’s Buddy Lazier, who won the Indianapolis 500 in 1996 and I’m sure is a helluva skier as well, but going 225 mph in a racecar is not as intense an athletic endeavor as downhill racing on skis at 60 or 70 mph.

There are enormous physical risks in both sports, and racecar driving does require tremendous endurance and skill, but the raw force of riding metal edges on ice down the world’s trickiest downhill courses, in my mind, requires more conditioning and sheer nerve.

Speaking of athletic accomplishment – and I’m sure some of you will argue a sport with John Daly in it hardly qualifies – but golf in the Vail Valley has always been at a very high level, and I’m not just talking elevation. Check out my Real Lives story on Greg Norman, who designed Wolcott’s Red Sky Ranch course and at age 53 was one stroke off the British Open lead after two rounds Friday.

On the local media front, I thought it was interesting to watch the competing coverage afforded the Lionshead Parking Structure project by the Vail Daily and the Vail Mountaineer, the new five-day-a-week paper in town. If you’re reading this outside the Valley, you can’t see the Mountaineer stories because they don’t have a website yet, but they did OK.

The first-day Daily story glossed over the key point that new engineering may allow the project to be built without any of the structure’s current 1,150 parking spaces being taken offline during construction, meaning the project no longer needs to wait on Vail Resorts’ Ever Vail garage. It also incorrectly reported the council approved the plan. Then the Vail beat reporter, Ed Stoner, took the story over again and explained the significance of the new parking proposal and the fact that the project plan still needs sign-off.

However, the Daily continues to refer to the hotel, condo and retail project as a $600 million proposal (the original price tag), but developer Mark Masinter confirmed for me that the $900 million figure the Mountaineer used last week is actually the right number.

However, the Mountaineer blew it with a story about defensible wildfire space around the town of Vail, saying the ring is complete. The town of Vail confirmed for me that what I’ve been reporting – that the ring of defensible space will only be 40-percent complete by the end of the summer and that the full perimeter will take until 2012 – is actually the real story.

Meanwhile, the Daily appeared to have no mention of columnist Kaye Ferry being given the heave-ho by the paper, something I think would have generated a ton of letters both pro and con, and they ran a story on Eagle County commissioner candidate Debbie Buckley in which they quoted Avon Mayor Ron Wolfe but didn’t mention allegations by Wolfe on that Buckley’s husband Pete is running the conservative blog site.

Seems like there must be an active policy at the Daily to ignore the competition, whether it’s in print or on the Web. In the long run that might actually be a good strategy. Time will tell.



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