Blumenthal: Things have a way of working out |

Blumenthal: Things have a way of working out

Mel Blumenthal
Second View
Mel Blumenthal

As we begin the new year, I’d like to reflect on the past year and share some thoughts about what’s in store for us in the year ahead.

As I grow older and hopefully wiser, I’ve come to the realization that with a bit of time and distance, many things that have reached the crisis stage work out well in the end.

This past year, our family was fortunate to survive what appeared to be a crisis when one of my grandsons was diagnosed early last summer with a rare form of pediatric liver cancer. With the help of a talented team of physicians and support staff at the UCLA Medical Center and the Mattel Children’s Hospital, he underwent several rounds of chemotherapy and a liver transplant. His recovery and return to normal daily life have proceeded expeditiously. He’s a tough trooper who, along with the prayers of his parents, friends and family and of course the expertise of a very talented medical team, is well on his way to a full recovery.

A few days ago my daughter tore her ACL on a hidden rock at the base of the Cirque Headwall, which abruptly ended her family holiday ski vacation in Snowmass. She suffered through her discomfort from her command post on our living-room couch while all of us offered our lay medical advice, including whether to have immediate surgery locally or wait until she returns to Los Angeles. She favored a return home for surgery and rehab, and again we’re hoping for a positive outcome and return to skiing and snowboarding before the end of the season — or is that a bit too optimistic?

Related, under its inherited development approvals, is already obligated to build the roundabout but has continually delayed doing so and is now trying to hijack the town into extending its vested development rights.

My son-in-law’s recent case of missing skis appears to have been resolved after a good deal of sleuthing on his part.

His new skis went missing from the ski racks outside Gwyn’s High Alpine restaurant the other day. Looking around the area, he observed an identical pair of skis close by and assumed the person attached to those skis took his skis by mistake. As any frustrated skier is wont to do, my son-in-law took those skis in order to get home.

When he arrived back at the house, the family assembled to discuss this dilemma from both a legal and moral standpoint. Upon close examination, my son-in-law noticed a demo rental label from a local ski shop including the renter’s name. A call was placed to the rental shop to advise it of the situation along with a request that it contact the renter, which it initially refused to do, insisting that my son-in-law return the skis he took to the store. Upon further prodding, he was advised by the rental-shop personnel that the renter was staying at a local Aspen lodge and that it was up to my son-in-law to track him down. All of this was made a bit more difficult since my son-in-law is a bit paranoid and would not leave his name or phone number, something about invasion of his privacy and possibly his questionable legal position. Thus it took longer than necessary to finally resolve this caper to everyone’s satisfaction, but happily I can report all is now well in the case of the mistakenly purloined skis.

Locally, Snowmass’ embarrassing role in the Krabloonik debacle over the past 30 years might soon be rectified, no thanks to the local powers that be or that have been over the many years of alleged dog abuse under Dan MacEachen’s ownership and management of the dog-sledding facility, which is on town-owned land. Thanks to the persistent efforts of the Voices for the Krabloonik Dogs, many individual concerned residents, visitors and the Pitkin County district attorney, town leaders finally are poised to take corrective action, and the “good ole boy” protection game that has been in place for many years hopefully is coming to a quick end, at least as far as this disgraceful episode is concerned.

Related is on the hunt for a community benefit to offer the town in order to extend its Base Village vested development rights, which will expire in November. Skico wants the long-awaited Brush Creek/Wood Road roundabout to be built concurrent with the completion of its proposed Limelight Snowmass hotel project, since the traffic coming into the resort core is projected to increase significantly with the completion of it and the second Viceroy building. Related, under its inherited development approvals, already is obligated to build the roundabout but continually has delayed doing so and is now trying to hijack the town into extending its vested development rights.

The accelerated timing of roundabout construction is a matter of contractual negotiation between Skico and Related. As far as the town is concerned, Related already is obligated to build the roundabout and should not consider granting an extension of its vested development rights until it comes forward with a master plan for the remainder of Base Village, as it promised it would do last summer. This is an issue of the town prematurely giving up a significant piece of leverage against the developer, which previously reneged on its promises for Base Village with no guaranteed assurance it will live up to its future obligations and promises or a commitment that it will not sell off Base Village piecemeal-style.

As I said before, things often work out well in the end — let’s hope that’s the case in Snowmass.

Here’s to a happy, healthy and peaceful new year.

I welcome your comments at

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