EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado - The latest snow storm to hit the Vail Valley looks like it will linger over a few days, and that's good news for just about everybody.
"It was epic - the best day of the season," Bill Atwood of Troy's Ski Shop said Monday after catching a few morning runs on Vail Mountain.
Vail Mountain reported 10 inches of new snow in the last 48 hours Monday morning. More snow fell Monday, and more was forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday. Both the National Weather Service and OpenSnow.com expect the storm to move out Thursday and Friday of this week. The Weather Channel's 10-day forecast predicts a few snow showers Dec. 24, but sunny otherwise through Christmas Day.
But skiers and boarders live in the now, and now was a lot of fun through the weekend into Monday.
Beaver Creek resort dropped the ropes at Rose Bowl over the weekend - on natural snow - and that snow was pronounced "good."
"Rose Bowl was knee to thigh deep before it got skied off (Sunday) - it was giggly fun," Mike Miller of Venture Sports said Monday.
Local resident Drew Rouse also skied Rose Bowl over the weekend, and said the conditions were fine.
In the wake of the continuing snowfall, officials at both Vail and Beaver Creek said they're evaluating both snow totals and conditions with an eye toward opening more terrain.
Late Monday afternoon, Beaver Creek announced it would open several new runs and trails, including Spider trail in Rose Bowl and Dally trail, which takes skiers from the base of the Birds of Prey Express Lift back to the base of the mountain. Additional trails include Moonshine and Bootleg.
More places to ski on the resorts came as good news to Rouse, who's also an avid backcountry skier.
"The backcountry conditions are getting like they were last year," Rouse said.
About a year ago, long stretches between snowstorms made for unstable conditions whenever new snow fell.
"Some of those places just have to run," Rouse said.
While new snow is universally welcome in the valley, storms can create busy days for police. Vail was on "accident alert" for much of Sunday, meaning that people involved in minor, non-injury accidents that didn't involve drugs or alcohol could file reports during normal business hours, without requiring an officer to come to the scene.
"It sounds worse than it is," Vail Police Sgt. Annette Dopplick said. But, Dopplick added, there was plenty of work for police, fire and highway crews Sunday. Several motorists skidded off the road in fairly heavy eastbound traffic.
"It seems like we didn't get a warm-up (for foul-weather driving) this season," Dopplick said. She reminded motorists to slow down in the snow, and to be sure to move into the left lane when passing trucks or emergency vehicles parked on the highway shoulders.
With all the action, though, trucks at the East Vail chain-up station moved into and out of the area with few problems. That was helped by the private companies that, for a fee, will chain up a big rig. Dopplick said those pros can get the drive wheels on a tractor-trailer rig chained up and ready to go in just 15 or 20 minutes.
Like just about everyone else, Dopplick said she's mostly just thrilled that snow's falling.
"We're ready to be busy like this," she said.