Our View: On the front lines of tourism

At issue

Acknowledging the dedicated airport workers who do their best on behalf of our winter visitors, sometimes in the face of adversity

Our view

Department heads at YVRA came through in a big way this holiday season

Unless you have had the experience of working a resort job in Ski Town, USA, you may not fully appreciate the essential role played by relatively anonymous workers who toil in hot kitchens, conscientiously turn condos over for the next shift of vacationers, work all night to groom the slopes and take care of our guests in a hundred other ways.

This week, we especially want to praise all of the hardworking people at Yampa Valley Regional Airport, the transportation hub run by Routt County that is literally the lifeline for our winter resort economy. The airport ensures that vacationers from across the United States and countries abroad can visit Northwest Colorado during the December holidays.

Yet, it’s easy to take for granted the challenges overcome by airport crews every ski season.

It’s the tourism revenue that pours into Northwest Colorado through the airport that jolts the local economy out of the November doldrums, and in the span of a couple weeks from Dec. 20 to Jan. 8, boosts our payrolls, pays the rent and propels us into the winter season.

We know that traveling to the Yampa Valley was arduous for some of our guests this holiday season due to weather-related issues. It’s difficult to provide powder on the slopes without enduring some adverse travel conditions. Often, it’s weather delays at airports a thousand miles away that disrupt the schedule at the local airfield. And we also know from observing firsthand that YVRA employees, working without the leadership of an airport manager or even an assistant airport manager this holiday, held up their end of the bargain.

Former airport manager Dave Ruppel left for another airport in Colorado in November, and his able replacement Kevin Booth is due to occupy that office Jan. 12.

In the meantime, the crew at YVRA, from the heavy equipment operators who plow the snow to the airport safety staff, hospitality personnel, rental car reservationists, taxi drivers, TSA employees, the restaurant team, aircraft de-icers and baggage handlers, really came through for all of us.

It’s every boss’s dream to assemble a staff that has the pride and professionalism to continue doing their jobs as they know they should be done, regardless of whether they are being supervised or not.

That’s the way the YVRA staff, and other personnel who work in the private sector at the airport, went about doing their business this holiday season.

We owe them all a debt of gratitude. And we especially want to acknowledge airport business manager Doris Mayhan, Three Wire Bar and Grill manager Jennifer Bell, Firefighting and Public Safety Director Tyler Whitmore and Maintenance Superintendent Todd DuBois, all of whom took on added responsibility this holiday season.

Nice work Yampa Valley Regional Airport team.

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