John LaConte
jlaconte@vaildaily.com

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April 20, 2014
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Season ends with sun, fun

VAIL — With a variety of activities and weather marking Sunday’s Closing-Day celebrations, only one thing was consistent throughout the course of the day: thousands of people were having fun.

And that was pretty much the story of the season, says Mark Christie, who greeted thousands of guests while working at the Vail Welcome Center this year. Christie said he didn’t hear a single complaint about Vail’s conditions all season.

“And that’s rare, not one person saying ‘I was hoping it would be a little nicer out there’” said Christie, who’s been working at the Vail Welcome Center for a decade. “The people who were here were excited about the conditions all year long.”

COSTUMES REQUIRED

On the mountain, thousands celebrated the closing of Vail’s lifts for the 2013-14 season.

Costumes abounded, with neon spandex, one-piece suits and lots of exposed skin omnipresent on the slopes throughout the day.

Vail local Tate Young cruised around with an electric guitar, complete with a battery operated mobile amp, and he was rocking out while skiing. Outside Ski Patrol headquarters, he teamed up with Justin Lottman, who was on the autistic guitar, and Jesse Eckert, who provided vocals.

“I haven’t missed a closing day in a long time, it’s the last chance to ski around and have a good time with your buddies,” Eckert said.

In from Denver was Amanda Throckmorton, who wore animal pants — made from khakis with 124 Beanie-Baby-like stuffed animals adhered to the sides. Her husband, Rob Throckmorton, and his buddies dressed as oil barons for the occasion, carrying briefcases filled with beers.

“We’ve come to take over Vail,” he said.

When the alarm went off signifying Chair 4 had stopped running for the day, the crowd went wild, with champagne bottles popping and spraying in all directions. At approximately 4:30 p.m., the Vail Ski Patrol detonated their leftover dynamite from the season, a thrilling show.

BIGGER NUMBERS, LESS INCIDENTS

Forest Service District Ranger Dave Neely said the crowd of thousands was bigger than in years past, with less incidents.

“But it’s getting everybody down I’m worried about,” Neely said.

Mother Nature had a helping hand in dispersing the crowd, as the sun tucked behind clouds at around 5 p.m. and a cold wind blew in, bringing hard pellets of snow along with it.

On the World Pond Skimming Championships grounds at Golden Peak, 18-year-old Thomas Conrad didn’t feel the cold sting that ended many people’s days.

After five years of trying his hand at pond skimming, Conrad won the championships with his long skim across the cold water.

“My brother won a few years ago, but he didn’t make it today,” Conrad said.

He takes home an Epic Pass for next season for the effort.

Staff Reporter John LaConte can be reached at jlaconte@vaildaily.com and 970-748-2988.


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The VailDaily Updated Apr 23, 2014 12:18PM Published Apr 22, 2014 07:54PM Copyright 2014 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.