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Arapahoe Basin Ski Area to open terrain park for skiing, riding this weekend

Arapahoe Basin Ski Area again will open a terrain park on its snow-covered slopes this weekend for skiing and riding after trying out the idea last weekend.

The Summit County ski area at the Continental Divide will open the terrain park from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

The park will be at the top of the High Noon run and will be accessible via a ride on the Black Mountain Express chairlift followed by a short walk.

The last download down from the park is at 3 p.m. No skiing or riding to the base of the mountain’s front-side will be available.

Season passes, including A-Basin or Epic passes, are not valid at the terrain park, and everyone must purchase a $25 terrain park ticket in the A-Basin guest services office in Mountain Goat Plaza.

Last weekend, A-Basin provided seven features in the terrain park. Outside of the terrain park, A-Basin closed skiing and riding for the season Thursday, July 4.

Hotel Talisa will become Grand Hyatt Vail

VAIL — Hotel Talisa in Vail will be rebranded as Grand Hyatt Vail as of July 24, Hyatt officials said Wednesday.

“We are excited to bring the luxury Grand Hyatt brand to the iconic community of Vail, Colorado, and see great potential to set a new standard for luxury hospitality in the area with Grand Hyatt Vail,” said Mark Hickey, senior vice president of Hyatt.

The 285-room hotel was just rebranded as the Hotel Talisa in December 2016. It was previously the Vail Cascade Resort and Spa.

As the hotel transformed from the Cascade to the Talisa, it underwent a $65 million renovation, with construction starting in April 2016. The hotel celebrated its grand reopening in November 2017. The renovation was originally slated to take about six months with a price tag of $35 million.

Officials said the renovation aimed to elevate the hotel to a higher level, on par with the Four Seasons or Sonnenalp.

Goodbye, Marriott

The Grand Hyatt Vail will be operated by Hyatt. It will no longer be affiliated with Marriott.

Hotel Talisa had joined Marriott’s Luxury Collection as of September.

All reservations, including Marriott Bonvoy member redemptions, will be honored for future dates, Hickey said in a statement.

In October, Hyatt Hotel Corp. announced that it was buying Two Roads Hospitality, the company that managed Hotel Talisa, as well as other properties, including the Manor Vail Lodge.

As of January, the Hotel Talisa was managed by CoralTree Hospitality Group, a group led by several former Two Roads executives.

The hotel is owned by Vail Hotel Partners LLC, which shares an office address with Laurus Corp. in Los Angeles. Laurus announced the acquisition of the Cascade in 2016. It later announced the rebranding to Hotel Talisa.

Change at the top

Hickey said he had no information to share regarding future renovations at the hotel.

Asked how current employees would be affected, Hickey said Hyatt is “working closely with the hotel’s owner in an effort to ensure a smooth transition for colleagues.”

Hickey said he was unable to comment on how the hotel’s existing leadership team will be affected. Contacted via text, John Garth, managing director for the hotel, said his last day with the hotel is July 23.

Normal business operations will continue through the transition, Hickey said.

“We are working closely with the hotel’s management team to ensure a smooth transition for all,” the statement said.

Second Hyatt in valley

The hotel has a ski lift that connects to Vail Mountain, plus 40,000 square feet of meeting space, a ballroom that can hold 900 people, a spa, and a restaurant called Gessner. It also has a 58,000-square-foot adjoining athletic club, The Aria Club, which will also be managed by the Grand Hyatt Vail.

Summer room rates at the Grand Hyatt will start at $199. Ski-season rates for January through March will start at $699.

Hyatt has another hotel in Eagle County, the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort and Spa. Hickey said that Hyatt does not plan to share services or employees between the two hotels.

Notice: Saturday’s Dynafit Vail HillClimb will now finish at Mid-Vail

Due to the Eagle Bahn Gondola being closed, Saturday’s Dynafit Vail HillClimb will now finish at Mid-Vail.

Racers will start at Vail’s Mountain Haus, run up to Eagle’s Nest and then follow Fireweed Trail to the finish at Mid-Vail. Spectators will need to ride Gondola One.

The new course length will be approximately 7.7 miles. Following the race, all spectators and racers are welcome to download Gondola One from Mid-Vail.

Arapahoe Basin announces park skiing on July 6-7

Arapahoe Basin may have listed July 4 as its official closing date, but skiers and snowboarders will be able to hit the terrain park over the weekend.

On Wednesday morning, Arapahoe Basin COO Alan Henceroth announced that the Black Mountain Express will continue to haul skiers and snowboarders up to the mid-mountain area of the ski resort over the weekend, where they can then hike to the terrain park.

There is one catch: Park riders will have to purchase a $25 lift ticket at the ticket window. No season passes will be valid on this momentous weekend.

The resort is treating the weekend as a small experiment, with potential of repeat.

“If the snow holds up and if park riders turn out, we may do this more than one weekend,” Henceroth wrote on his blog.

Broncos owner Pat Bowlen dies at 75

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Pat Bowlen, the Denver Broncos owner who transformed the team from also-rans into NFL champions and helped the league usher in billion-dollar television deals, died late Thursday, just under two months before his enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was 75.

In a statement posted on the Broncos’ website, Bowlen’s family said he died peacefully at home surrounded by loved ones. They did not specify a cause of death. Bowlen had had Alzheimer’s for several years.

Bowlen was the first owner in NFL history to oversee a team that won 300 games — including playoffs — in three decades. He had as many Super Bowl appearances (seven) as losing seasons, and Denver is 354-240-1 since he bought the club in 1984.

Under his stewardship, the Broncos won Super Bowls in 1998, ’99 and 2016.

Following their 31-24 victory over Green Bay for the franchise’s first championship, Bowlen famously hollered, “This one’s for John!” Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway called it the greatest moment of his playing career.

Elway the executive returned the favor on Feb. 7, 2016, when he jabbed the silver Lombardi Trophy into the sky after Denver’s 24-10 win over Carolina in Super Bowl 50 and declared, “This one’s for Pat.”

That came 18 months after Alzheimer’s forced Bowlen to step down from his daily duties running the team.

“I’m just glad I had the opportunity,” Elway told The Associated Press in the locker room that night. “I didn’t want to think about it too much because I didn’t want to jinx anything. But I was waiting for the day that I was able to do that. So, I was glad and really thrilled that I was able to do that and we’ll take that trophy over to Pat next week and let him cherish it.”

Elway delivered the prize to Bowlen’s home back in Denver. And in the Mile High City, more than a million fans packed downtown for a victory parade 17 years after Elway capped his remarkable playing career by leading the Broncos to back-to-back titles.

Super Bowl 50 was the Broncos’ eighth trip to the big game, the seven under Bowlen’s watch, and all of those with Elway’s help — first as his QB and then as his GM.

Bowlen’s wife, Annabel, who recently announced that she, too, has Alzheimer’s, and their children were on hand to accept the Lombardi Trophy on his behalf in Santa Clara, California.

“His soul will live on through the Broncos, the city of Denver and all of our fans,” Bowlen’s family said in its statement Thursday night. “Heaven got a little bit more orange and blue tonight.”

During 35 seasons with him as owner, Bowlen’s teams compiled a .596 winning percentage — tied for second-best in the NFL during that span. Among professional franchises in the four major North American sports, only the San Antonio Spurs, New England Patriots and Los Angeles Lakers were better, according to the Broncos.

Bowlen relished working behind the scenes and shied away from the spotlight. In the words of former coach Mike Shanahan, “Pat just wanted to be one of the guys.”

“That’s why I think he was so beloved by so many people, including myself,” Shanahan said. “And you also knew that he would give anything to make your football team better or at least get a chance at the Super Bowl. At that time you would say every ounce that he had — I should say every penny he had — he wanted to go into giving the football team a Super Bowl. That was his No. 1 priority. That was it. It was not trying to buy different companies and trying to make more money. His goal was winning a Super Bowl.”

Former Broncos coach Gary Kubiak said: “Most guys would tell you that played for him or worked for him that he was not only our owner, but he was your friend.”

Bowlen served as a sounding board for NFL Commissioners Pete Rozelle, Paul Tagliabue and Roger Goodell. He was crucial to the league’s growth as a member of 15 NFL committees, including co-chairing the NFL Management Council and working on network TV contracts, including the league’s ground-breaking $18 billion deal in 1998.

“Pat personified all that’s right about the NFL and is extremely deserving of this summer’s recognition as a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said.

Hall President & CEO David Baker said: “Pat’s leadership helped shaped the NFL into what it is today. He also transformed the Denver Broncos into one of the finest franchises in the league and gave a winning identity to an entire region. He was a man who lived life with passion, conviction and demonstrated the highest level of integrity at all times.”

Bowlen had a deep appreciation for his players, whether or not they were stars, and it’s not unusual to see ex-Broncos watching practice.

“When I retired, Mr. B. told me I was welcome anytime at team headquarters,” said Hall of Fame tight end Shannon Sharpe. “He said I didn’t need a pass, either: ‘Your face is your credential.'”

Ownership of the franchise is held in a trust Bowlen set up more than a decade ago in hopes one of his seven children will one day run the team. Until then, Ellis, one of three trustees, is doing so in a “What would Pat do?” sort of way.

Although daughter Brittany is hoping to one day take over the team, the succession plan and the trustees’ oversight of Bowlen’s estate has been challenged in state district court in the last year by some members of the Bowlen family.

Those who worked for Bowlen remember a man who put production ahead of profits; trained tirelessly for triathlons; fostered a winning atmosphere from the lobby to the locker room; and was always quick with a compliment and sure to couch his criticism.

“Pat Bowlen was the heart and soul of the Denver Broncos,” Broncos President and CEO Joe Ellis said in a statement. “Not only was Pat a Hall of Fame owner — he was a Hall of Fame person.”

Bowlen flashed his competitive streak whether on the road conducting league business, on the sideline watching his team or on the StairMaster drenched in sweat.

It was evident in his dislike for Peyton Manning when the quarterback played for Indianapolis before joining the Broncos in 2012.

“I get it, and I respect that,” Manning said, adding that Bowlen flew back to Denver from his offseason home in Hawaii to welcome him when he signed with the Broncos, and they were friends afterward.

“If there was a way for him to compete against what he’s going through,” former defensive end Alfred Williams said a couple of summers ago, “he’d beat that damn disease every time.”

Bowlen is survived by his wife, Annabel, and seven children: Amie, Beth, Patrick, Johnny, Brittany, Annabel and Christianna.

Aspen Mountain will open again this weekend for two more bonus days of skiing, riding

Aspen Mountain just doesn’t want to be alone.

Aspen Skiing Co. announced Monday the mountain would again open 130 acres for weekend skiing and snowboarding off the Ajax Express lift on Saturday and Sunday.

Skico Senior Vice President of Mountain Operations Katie Ertl said the forecast of highs in the 70s and overnight lows not below freezing this week is keeping them at bay on making the decision for the Food & Wine Classic, which starts June 14.

“We were hoping we could get a commitment for Food & Wine weekend, but with these temperatures we have to go week to week,” Ertl said. “We’ll check in on Saturday and Sunday and see how it looks going forward. If we can get to Food & Wine, that would probably be the last weekend.”

Ertl said there are three keys to look at when deciding the bonus days: staffing, skier excitement and conditions.

She said with the warmer weather, that changes how crews can groom. They can still run the snowcats, but they have to take a different approach because of the softer snow.

“Groomer can do their work at higher temperatures, but they have to change tactics,” Ertl said. “As it softens, they have to drive up a certain route and then groom downhill. … They are so artful and so competent at what they do. They see the product every day and know what spots (melt) first and where to move the snow.”

This will be the third weekend in a row the mountain, which closed for the season April 21, will be open for bonus days. The mountain was open for three days over Memorial Day Weekend and again this past weekend.

The Silver Queen Gondola will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for sightseeing, and the Ajax Express chairlift will run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., as long as conditions permit, Skico said in a news release. Everyone will be required to download on the gondola.

For those skiing and riding, lift tickets are $54 a day. Aspen-Snowmass Premier Passes as well as 6-younger passes will ski for free. School and AVSC passholders are also eligible for free access for skiing/riding but must call or a visit a ticket office to validate their pass prior to accessing the gondola.

Discounted pricing for Flex, Double Flex, Classic, Club Escape, Ikon and Mountain Collective passholders is $27 for skiing/riding.

Prices are lower for those just going up for sightseeing. With a 58-inch base reported as of Monday, nearly all of the summer activities at the mountaintop remain buried under feet of snow.

“It’s certainly been an epic year with the amount of snow, so to be able to have that much on top of Aspen Mountain is just incredible,” Ertl said. “The gondola is open on weekend as it is. Since the summer activities are not available, it’s an honor to be able to open the mountain for skiing.”

InkedIn: Vail nurse picked for national tattoo modeling competition

Photo by Chris Dillmann

Tattoos are more than skin deep. There is a personal story connected to each one. In Wendy Greene’s case, her stories are about to gain much more attention.

The Eagle-based nurse has received national recognition for what lies beneath her scrubs, and she has been handpicked as one of 30 contestants for Inked Magazine’s 2019 Cover Girl search.

From firefighter to nurse: Not all glam and glory

Greene was a Wyoming Hotshot and did aerial observation for Idaho Smokejumpers well into her late 20s before entering nursing school in 2013.

That’s the short version of it. The years between extinguishing wildfires and nursing patients is where some of Greene’s darkest moments reside.

She developed alcoholism throughout her later days of firefighting, something that hit her the hardest after leaving that profession, begetting a stint in rehab.

“I got to a place where I just couldn’t do it anymore,” Greene said. “I just had to change my life. So I got sober.”

Many recovering addicts choose activity that can distract from destructive habits. For Greene, this meant hitting the gym — and hitting it hard.

Greene’s physical shape drastically improved with her change of lifestyle. But all habits, good or bad, require moderation.

Greene developed a muscular physique, which turned her onto the prospect of bodybuilding. With bodybuilding and figure competitions came an obsession with appearance. And with that obsession, came a whole new battle for Greene.

Engulfed in a “ball of narcissistic eating disorder madness,” Greene had new hurdles to overcome. Luckily, she has a loving family that helped her fight through one of her toughest trials yet. With their support, Greene put eating disorders, and her drinking, behind.

“The only people who are still going to believe in you after you’ve burned a bunch of bridges will be your family, and even to them you’ve got to prove you’re a decent human being,” Greene said.

Once Greene was healthy again, she engaged in advocacy work for struggling alcoholics. She also commemorated her recovery with her first tattoo: a little Wyoming bucking horse on her rib, as a tribute to her family and upbringing.

“A lot of people don’t know that the silhouette is a real horse named Steamboat. He’s a famously hard-to-ride rodeo bronco and is in the Pro-Rodeo Hall of Fame. You could say I’m a little country and a whole lot of rock & roll,” Greene wrote on her contestant profile page.

Photo by Chris Dillmann

Coming to Colorado

Having grown up in neighboring Wyoming, Greene was no stranger to the Centennial State by the time she moved here. A rare opportunity to work as a registered nurse in a region renowned for its orthopedic surgeons made the perfect opportunity for Greene to start anew.

Greene worked with the Steadman Group “because they have a reputation for being the best at what they do, and I’m attracted to that because being among the best makes me better,” Greene said.

With years of valuable nursing experience, Greene sees her venture in tattoo modeling as an exciting new chapter to her life.

Motivated to support rad people

Along with being featured on the magazine’s cover, the contest winner will win $25,000. While that money could, in theory, be used for more tattoos and to fund her upcoming venture to drifting school (yes, as in race car drifting, and yes, both are still happening), Greene has plans of a much more selfless nature.

“I’d like the money, but I don’t need it,” Greene said.

A friend of Greene’s recently lost her mother to a long battle with pancreatic cancer, and helping her friend handle certain expenses is just one of the many charitable causes which Greene would like to support with her hypothetical winnings.

“I will do whatever I can to support rad people,” Greene said.

“I feel like it’s kind of the Vail way to help each other.”

No regrets

Photo by Chris Dillmann

One of the most prevalent stigmas surrounding tattoos is whether that person will have regrets down the road.

$7,000, 60 hours under the needle and a near-decade later, Greene has no regrets. Though, she will admit that not every tattoo is perfect; humans make mistakes, and tattoo artists are undeniably human. She’s even adopted an optimistic approach to one of her less-than-perfect tattoos.

“The moon on my shoulder is slightly green, and I thought about changing the shade, but then I thought about all the things the color green represents, and it gave me a more positive outlook,” she said.

With that angle, what seems like an obvious mistake could very well have been deliberate. Greene’s appreciation for artist intuition is a big part of her fascination with tattoos.

“A good artist can see what’s inside you and lay that on your skin. Tattoos reveal a lot about who you are and what you’ve experienced.”

To check out Greene’s profile and cast your vote today, visit https://cover.inkedmag.com/2019/wendy-greene.  

Aspen Mountain bonus weekend returns Saturday, Sunday with solid snow coverage

Conditions should remain solid and the weather forecast calls for warm days for the second bonus weekend of skiing and snowboarding at Aspen Mountain.

As with Memorial Day Weekend, there will be about 130 acres at the top of the mountain for terrain served by the Ajax Express lift for Saturday and Sunday. One small change is there are only four hours of access to the Ajax Express lift, which will stop running at 1 p.m. (instead of 2 p.m. such as last weekend).

The base continues to be a solid 64 inches, Aspen Skiing Co. public relations manager Tucker Vest Burton said Thursday, and the coverage of the trails remains “incredible.” Aspen Mountain picked up about 6 to 8 inches of snow in the past week, she said.

“It’s pretty crazy. I’ve been told by a couple of people that we still have better snowpack now than when the season ended,” Vest Burton said.

She did not say if there would be more skiing beyond this weekend, adding they would reassess and see how the snowpack is.

The forecast for the weekend calls for highs in the mid-70s and wind gusts on Saturday near 40 mph with a storm coming through in the afternoon.

The gondola will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., tickets are $54 for those skiing and boarding. Those with a Premier Pass or 3 and younger are free, and all other passholders will pay $27 to ski or board. For sightseers, it is $27 for a one-trip ride.

The Sundeck restaurant and bar will be open and there will be a DJ in the afternoon each day. Once the mountain closes for good, opening day for 2019-20 season is set for Nov. 28.

This week, Skico unveiled a new feature on its website where users can compare the panoramic livecam photos from year to year. The images from last year to this year show a big difference in snowpack. The feature is at https://aspen.roundshot.com.

When skiing went into the same weekend as the Food & Wine Classic in June 2008 it was the same year that Independence Pass didn’t open until June 5.

Independence Pass is scheduled to open this afternoon for the summer season. Colorado Department of Transportation officials said this week that they are shooting to open the road over the 12,095-foot summit about 5:30 p.m.

Aspen Mountain to reopen for June skiing this coming weekend

Nope. Don’t put ’em away yet.

Just as Aspen Mountain was closing Monday from its bonus Memorial Day Weekend of skiing and riding, Aspen Skiing Co. announced it would open the mountain for two more days this coming weekend, June 1-2.

More details will come out this week as conditions change, but Skico spokesman Jeff Hanle said Monday afternoon that the top of Aspen Mountain, about 130 acres, would be open this weekend.

“Lifts will open at 9 a.m. and close as conditions dictate,” Hanle said.

There were large crowds Saturday to start the three days of bonus skiing, the first time since 2017 the mountain opened for Memorial Day Weekend.

There was plenty of coverage at the top of Ajax and last week’s storm of more than a foot of new snow gave the upper mountain a 66-inch base when the gondola started spinning Saturday.

The National Weather Service on Monday issued a winter weather advisory for the Elk Mountains for all day Tuesday above 9,000 feet. The NWS office in Grand Junction is predicting 5 to 10 inches of snow above 9,000 feet, and some snow dropping down to about 6,500 feet.

Skiing at Aspen Mountain is on the terrain served by the Ajax Express lift, which closed at 2 p.m. over the holiday weekend. Skiers had to download on the gondola as top-to-bottom skiing is not available.

Hanle said this weekend will be pretty much the same as Memorial Day.

For skiing and riding, anyone who had a Premier Pass last season can ski free. Any child 3 and younger gets a free ticket. Children 6 and younger who were passholders last season also ski free. Other passholders from the 2018-19 season will pay $27 for a lift ticket for skiing.

The ticket price is $54 for people who weren’t passholders last season.

Aspen Mountain is one of four Colorado ski areas open that was open for Memorial Day Weekend, along with Arapahoe Basin, Breckenridge and Purgatory. Breckenridge recently announced it had extended its season to weekends through June 9, while A-Basin will remain open until at least the weekend of June 14-16.


Vail Daily’s new mobile-first website to launch Thursday

It’s been a long time coming, but the Vail Daily website will be getting a new look Thursday morning.

On March 21, expect a new experience on the VailDaily.com — one that delivers the same local news you trust in a much more user-friendly format. The mobile-first site is designed to be more navigable and visually appealing, with a focus on a better experience for those reading our stories and watching our videos on their mobile devices.

Why mobile-first?

Over the years, we have watched our digital audience transition from enjoying our stories mostly from their computers to reading them while on-the-go with their cell phones. Today, over 50 percent of our online traffic is generated by people using mobile devices, and that number is growing. Such a drastic change in reader behavior creates demand for a website that allows mobile users easy access to the news stories most important to them.

Our response: a website that is cleaner, faster, and much more simple to navigate via mobile phone.

What else is new?

  • A video section will be added to our homepage, allowing users easy access to our latest episodes of On the Hill, Off the Hill and more.
  • A newly re-organized sports section. Our audience has a robust interest in sports, ranging from local preps to the Colorado teams we support to the Olympians who are born, raised and trained on our mountains. Our new sports section will be segmented into categories that help readers find exactly the sports content they crave.
  • Improved ad placements will reduce disruptions to readers while increasing exposure for local businesses.
  • Simple navigation tools that help readers quickly access trending stories or their preferred sections.

What will remain the same?

  • The same community-focused reporting you have enjoyed online since 1993, delivered by the same reporters who have been embedded in local issues across this valley for years.
  • Our classifieds section will continue to enable users to create listings, submit letters, obituaries and more with ease.
  • Worried that your favorite section will disappear? Don’t be; the new website will feature all your favorite sections and more.

What’s next?

  • The website will continue to improve with the help of readers like you. Your feedback is essential, and we will be adding new features, fixing issues and making proper adjustments with a focus on reader satisfaction.

Questions?

If you have any questions, concerns or praise for the website, please let our team know. You can reach out to me at snaylor@vaildaily.com, to our editor Nate Peterson at npeterson@vaildaily.com or our publisher Mark Wurzer at mwurzer@vaildaily.com.