EAGLE COUNTY — Some say the official start to summer in the valley is when the trees and grass turn from brown to green; others say it’s when the snow stops falling for good or when the restaurants stop advertising screaming offseason deals.
For many years, the Mountain Games event has marked summer’s beginning in the town of Vail. A few miles away in Beaver Creek, summer kicks off in style with the Brews Blues & BBQ festival, which just celebrated its 10th anniversary over the weekend. That event has become a tradition in the valley, something Vail has lacked over Memorial Day weekend.
Feast! Vail, a new Memorial Day weekend event that has the support of the town of Vail’s Commission on Special Events, could help move Vail’s summer calendar up a week if the Commission’s efforts pay off and the Feast! Vail event also becomes a tradition.
Summers in Vail have been growing year over year, with sales tax collections last summer reaching an all-time high for the town. The best summer before that was in 2008.
And with last year’s Vail Resorts announcement that on-mountain summer activities such as zip lines, ropes courses, rock climbing walls and alpine coasters, to name a few, will be added at Vail Mountain in the coming years, summers in Vail are expected to get a lot more exciting.
Existing events are also changing. GoPro, for example, is taking over the reins as the title sponsor for the Mountain Games this year, something organizers are really excited about.
Kate Peters from the Vail Valley Foundation, which puts on the Mountain Games, said there’s a lot of excitement about the exposure that GoPro is expected to bring to the games.
“We’re excited about bringing them in,” Peters said. “They are involved in so many great world-class events and they have a lot of passion for outdoor sports.”
Since the Mountain Games are first in the Vail Valley Foundation’s summer events lineup, it’s definitely a kickoff to summer for the foundation, Peters said.
“Everyone’s ready to be outside,” she said.
Favorable weather over the holiday weekend certainly made it feel like summer in Vail and Beaver Creek, but sometimes it takes more than just the weather to convince people that winter really is over.
Jim Jackson knows it’s summer when he can drive all the way up to Piney Lake, he commented on the Vail Daily’s Facebook page.
For Steve Klehfoth, summer begins when the resorts open their disc golf courses.
Rae Jensan knows it’s summer when the snow has melted off the ski runs and hiking trails below 12,000 feet.
Kurt Desautels said that summer has arrived “when the local eateries stop advertising two-for-ones,” adding that in some years it doesn’t feel like summer until the Fourth of July.