Beware the law of diminishing returns
Dear Editor:We left Aspen in 1978, because there were too many traffic lights (one) and not enough belly dancers (one). Returning for a Christmas fling in 1985, we spent most of our vacation in Glenwood at the pool, Sunlight Ski (Area) and low-priced restaurants and attractions.Recently, I picked up a copy of the Weekly, about the only item left worth its price (free). Surprised by the real estate ads (90 percent of the paper), I hopped on the Internet to see if the $/sq.c.m. was universal, or a Realtor’s fantasy. All I can advise new arrivals is, beware! You have just about reached the “brick wall.” Allow me to explain how I believe the bubble will pop and dreams go up in smoke.Forget the Dow taking a hot springs bath, too obvious. Weather will start the plunge into bankruptcy. Several bad seasons will necessitate employees (always the vast underrated factor) finding new hills without $3 beers. No snow will make even the diehards take a second look at Nirvana. Shop owners will have to sell their own glitter and throw cots in back of their emporia. Smaller boutiques will feature artistic cobwebs (one at a time, so no one will notice at first).Restaurants which aren’t a front for illegal money earned elsewhere, will be among the first to feel the sitz-marks. After the hard-pressed locals start noshing in Glenwood/Rifle, those trust-fund managerial types, who need burger profits, as well as haute cuisine, to pay unconscionable rents, will turn to plumbing to support their shattered dreams. Other side-show, support businesses will follow the exodus. Spring will cease to be the only down time.Slowly, the Law of Diminishing Returns will become a play at the Wheeler and educate the non-believers. You had better eat at Base Village in the early days because, by the time the last units are built, they will have to give free lift passes to the noveau riche to prevent flight to less pretentious ski areas.Sound negative?Skiing is the only sport I can excoriate which presumes an infinite supply of billionaires anxious to whiz their names in the most expensive snow on earth. Forget resale value, diminishing returns did not become a law without sufficient data. A valley which nature endowed with every conceivable blessing is ripe for devastating comeuppance.Walt HelgothChesterfield, Mo.
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