EAGLE COUNTY - With winds gusting as high as 60 to 75 miles per hour Saturday morning, both Vail and Beaver Creek resorts started off the New Year's Eve ski day closed.
Neither resort opened chairlifts on schedule Saturday morning, shaving off hours of time on the mountain for thousands of skiers in town over the holiday weekend because the resorts are unable to safely operate chairlifts under such windy conditions.
Vail Mountain couldn't open the Born Free or Vista Bahn chairlifts until around noon Saturday, leaving skiers with about half the time of a regular ski day. Vail Mountain extended its chairlift operating hours until 4 p.m., though, to make up for some of the lost time. The lifts are normally scheduled to close at 3:30 p.m. this time of year.
It wasn't until just before 11 a.m. that Vail Mountain officials began firing up some of its lifts to prepare for opening as winds subsided.
Beaver Creek was able to get its main lifts in Beaver Creek Village, Arrowhead and Bachelor Gulch open by late morning, too.
Community Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or firstname.lastname@example.org.