Editor's note: Some critics of Vail Mountain grooming appear to misunderstand that Vail and Beaver Creek have not cut back daytime grooming, only moved the morning hours earlier this season, before the resorts are open to the public, as Vail Mountain chief Chris Jarnot explains above.
Turns for the worse
Matt Sloan hit the nail on the head with his comments in Friday's paper about Vail's grooming. We spend at least four weeks a year skiing here. Grooming has taken a real turn for the worse. Many of our guests ski for only three or four days a year and look forward to groomed runs at Vail. Good luck finding them now that day-time grooming has been eliminated.
I also agree that the reliance on safety as the reason for eliminating grooming seems to be an excuse for cost cutting. Yellow Jackets are as rare on the mountain as freshly groomed runs. Hot dogging boarders and skiers continue to intimidate slower skiers. We have even experienced ski patrollers bombing by close to slow skiers.
We still love Vail. The snow has been great. But it has definitely taken a turn for the worse. We hope management wakes up and resumes its old grooming practices.
Unhappy with grooming
Jensen, Siebert and Gillett would probably be upset over the condition of the mountain maintenance and grooming. Mr. Wiest is absolutely right in the terribly 'lax commitment to the mountain by the mountain safety patrol and the grooming schedule.
I remember staking obstacle spots and getting rocks off of the runs and catwalks after six days of skiing, many rocks and no ski patrol. I suspect the reason is that there are fewer of them, and their responsibilities are greater than ever. Corporate mentality, with "its more work by fewer employees," is now in Vail.
The absence of daytime grooming has damaged the ski enjoyment for many, even though only two hours in the morning were eliminated.
Six ski instructors wholeheartedly agree with me. The 8:30-10:30 a.m. grooming elimination has made a huge difference in the skiing quality to many of us.
The reason for its stoppage was reported as safety reasons. I think this to be nonsense, as only one minor incident has happened in Vail, yet hundreds of accidents on the hill do occur involving skiers vs. snowboarders.
If safety is a concern, why not separate the boarders from the skiers more?
If cats grooming could be escorted by yellow jackets, that would enhance the safety. Looking for the cruised runs later in the day is no longer available. The safety for the aged and novice skier is compromised. There seems to be less grooming overall as many are only half done. The shortcuts are obvious. The mantra of profit is more with less.
This has made me very unhappy and in protest, until they reverse this ridiculous grooming decision, I shall no longer patronize Vail Resort properties. Specifically, my seven friends and I will no longer lunch at The 10th, eat on the mountain, apres ski at the Lodge in Vail or The Arrabelle, breakfast at Starbucks, etc.
I do believe that all the founders would be disappointed in the new grooming schedule, as are many longtime skiers, Vail Resort employees and beginners.
I have skied 20-25 days a year here since 1972 and own property. I am in a group of 40-50 who meet here around Valentine's Day every year. When I informed them of the new grooming, they were hesitant about coming.
Friday, Feb. 1: Flap Jack lower, incomplete and no groom seen at 9 a.m. Northstar chopped up and incomplete 9:15 a.m. Top of Chair 11 to Northstar, Northwoods, etc., short hill, big moguls and never done, 8:45 a.m. Bottom of Highline to Chair 10 never done. Exodus off hill at 11 a.m. terrible. No groomed skiing at all.
Why can't we have the excellence created by Pete Seibert et al that existed as recently as last year?
The well-paid executives claim safety, and that is absolute nonsense. One minor incident in 50 years. There are far more injuries from lack of grooming, than grooming itself.
Pete Seibert must be turning over in his grave. The grooming schedule was the best in the industry.
The Vail Resorts executives are not living by the golden rule, or perhaps their interpretation is different than the one they learned in kindergarten. Maybe they think it to be that the one with the gold rules.
I am thoroughly disgusted with today's mountain management. My group of 80 coming in mid-February has decided to go elsewhere unless there is an announcement to return to the old grooming schedule.
I choose here for grooming
As a longtime guest and homeowner at Beaver Creek, I want to strongly object to Vail Resorts stopping daytime grooming. I have long chosen Vail and Beaver Creek as my favorite resorts in large part because of their aggressive grooming program.
I understand you want to save money and get that you want to avoid potential liability, however since no one here has ever been hit, to the best of my knowledge, I wonder about your real motivation.
With the large increases in lift tickets each year I expect more grooming, not less.
Larry A Marks
Highland Park, Ill.
Maybe why it's called the Rockies?
In response to the letter complaining about rocks when skiing, welcome to the Rocky Mountains!