A few predictions for the upcoming year

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— Two-thousand and two, the year that was a palindrome, is giving us fits right down to the very last day, and it's with considerable relief that I turn my attention to the future and a list of fearless predictions for 2003.

Soon after the first of the year, executives of The Nashville Network will descend on Oak Creek waving wads of cash.

Their stated intent will be to establish their network's first foray into reality television in Oak Creek.

They could not begin to know what they are getting into.

The cameras will roll 24-hours-a-day in the mayor's house and the nation will be transfixed.

Americans will clutch feisty little Oak Creek to their collective bosom, and almost overnight, the sensation sweeping the nation will be hosting cocktail parties on horseback.

By July, Oak Creek will have more millionaires (and T-shirt shops) than Steamboat.

Sharon Osbourne and Cargo Rodeman will shill their new ghost-written autobiographies on Oprah, and depart on a lecture tour together.

In an interview on CNN, Cargo will make Larry King blush. The memory of the drought of 2002 will be obliterated by the floods of 2003.

Buffalo Pass will receive 207 inches of snow in May, and when the gondola reopens in June, it will be for skiing and riding on powder and packed powder.

The sheer novelty of taping snow reports in June will cause even Switchboard Kent to get excited.

When all of that snow finally melts in July, the organizers will move the kayak races held annually during the Yampa River Festival to Sixth Street.

When United Airlines fails to reorganize under Chapter 11 bankruptcy, local resort leaders will long wistfully for the good old days, when Continental Airlines promised to never, ever leave us.

In an inspired fit of creativity, the County Commissioners will resolve to go to the voters seeking permission to build a new mega building east of Hayden that will be a combined airport terminal and destination courthouse at YVRA.

Lured by the chance to go skiing during courtroom recesses, prosecutors and defense attorneys from all over the country will file for changes of venue to the 14th Judicial District.

The commissioners will promise that the new facility, the first of its kind, will offer untold economic development.

They will also promise that convicted felons will remain eligible for frequent flyer miles.

In sports, Brian Griese will sign with the Colorado Crush of the Arena Football League.

Encouraged by the gridiron success of World Cup mogul champion Jeremy Bloom, NFL scouts will begin attending freestyle skiing events.

Steamboat Olympic silver medalist Travis Mayer will sign to return punts for the Oakland Raiders and play in the 2004 Super Bowl.

Steamboat ultra-endurance athlete Betsy Kahlmeyer will announce she intends to run to Telluride for lunch -- every other Wednesday throughout the year. The Steamboat Summer Music Festival will feature Michael Bolton opening for Barry Manilow.

Attendance will be low, but at least no one will be offended.

Stymied in their efforts to acquire the Steamboat Ski Area in court, Tim and Diane Mueller will open a British-style pub in Ski Time Square so they can finally say they own a business in Steamboat.

The only items on the menu will be pints of bitters, screwdrivers and hot double cross buns.

And, if we're lucky, 2003 will bring spectacular spring skiing, a lush green valley in June, cool, dry summer nights, a daily rainbow in July, safe conditions for campfires in August and a fall color show to rival that of 2002.

Come to think of it, we have much to look forward to.

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