VAIL - If you're on the mountain when the lifts close today, it's time to leave.
Vail Resorts, the Forest Service and Vail Police are asking - nicely - that you don't dawdle on the mountain when the lifts stop running at 4 p.m. on this season's second Closing Day.
Vail has had 5 feet of snow since its first Closing Day last Sunday and reopened Vail Mountain for one more weekend, which ends today.
"It's a privilege to be able to celebrate Closing Day for a second time this season, and we hope that guests will respect this opportunity and focus the celebration on enjoying some great skiing and snowboarding at Vail," said Davy Ratchford, director of marketing and sales at Vail Mountain.
Skiers and snowboarders will take their final turns on more than 2,400 acres of terrain, and those turns, Ratchford reminds us, need to end promptly at 4 p.m.
Vail's legendary Closing Day mountaintop party, 4 at 4, was last Sunday. Hundreds of revelers lingered until about 6 p.m. This week, revelers are being asked to head down promptly at 4 p.m., said Dave Neely, of the Eagle/Holy Cross District Ranger.
The ski company, the Forest Service and the Vail Police department came up with a system for 4 at 4 to get everyone safely off the mountain on Closing Day.
"The effort to coordinate a sweep to get down is massive," Neely said. "Their personnel can't monitor every person up there, and they also can't ski away from someone up there who is intoxicated."
They'll ask nicely for you to move your party to the bottom of the mountain. A refusal to leave could be a violation of Colorado's Skier Safety Act, Neely said, and that's aggravation you just don't need.
You can haul one day pack per person onto the mountain today, provided the bag fits in a five-gallon container.
It's also against the law to ride lifts or ski trails when you're impaired by alcohol or controlled substances. The fines aren't necessarily massive, but you can lose your skiing and snowboarding privileges for the 2013-14 season.
And besides, Vail Village and Lionshead are packed with lovable libation locations where you can buy yourself an adult beverage, or two.
Neely was at the top of Chair 4 last Sunday for the annual 4 at 4 party. A DJ kept the crowd entertained and they had no trouble getting most people off the mountain, Neely said.
"Almost everyone was having a great time," Neely said.
Almost all left because they were having so much fun and were happy. A few hard heads were a bit of a problem, but nothing that can't be solved by holding them until the police can pick them up, Neely said.
Then there were a few who'd had so much fun they just couldn't get down safely. Mountain officials held those soused snowriders and haul them down in a snowcat.
And because this is Vail and they think of everything, everyone gets their own bucket.
They're providing trash and recycling containers on the mountain for picnickers, and ask that you use them. Locals who've been around a while recall all kinds of end-of-the-season events that used to exist but no longer do because partiers left mountains of trash behind.
Once Vail Ski Patrol sweeps the mountain, it will remain closed until summer operations resume in early June.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.