Did you know Eagle had a ski slope in the 1950’s?: Kids Corner for the week of 2/1/21
Editor’s note: The Vail Daily’s weekly kids section is chock full of activities and fun to keep the young and the young at heart entertained during the pandemic. If you have an idea for the section or would like to get involved, email Entertainment Editor Casey Russell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Will there be six more weeks of winter or an early spring? This is all ‘determined’ by a groundhog who emerges from his winter den. Yes, it’s a “he,“ as the tradition has morphed (changed) into a festival and ceremony in a town in western Pennsylvania. The town of Punxsutawney now hosts the official Groundhog Day where the weather forecast is determined.
The holiday, which always takes place on Feb. 2, is a tradition inherited from the Pennsylvania Dutch, who were immigrants of German-speaking parts of Europe. In Europe, the holiday originated with a badger, not a groundhog.
Regardless of mammal choice, the legend goes that if a badger or groundhog emerges from the den and casts a shadow in the sun, there will be six more weeks of winter. However, if there is no shadow when the marmot pops out, then spring will arrive early.
How accurate is Phil? Not so much. Statistics demonstrate he is usually correct 35 to 40% of the time.
How old is Punxsutawney Phil the Groundhog?
According to the Inner Circle of the Groundhog Club in Punxsutawney, Phil is at least 134 years old. Remember, real groundhogs live on average of six to eight years.
There is another Punxsutawney Phil who avoids the chilly winters and lives in a warm terrarium that is built in the Punxsutawney library. During non-COVID times, visitors could visit the celebrity.
Outside Scoop is submitted by freelance journalist Julie Bielenberg. Contact her at email@example.com.
Word of the Week
Learn new words in English and Spanish each week.
winter / el invierno
Riddle me this
Test your wits and smarts with these riddles. Answers are at the bottom of this article.
Riddle: What is a snowman’s favorite smell?
Riddle: What is a snowman’s favorite Mexican dish?
Riddle: What do snowmen win at the Olympics?
Riddle: How do Eskimos make their beds?
Riddle: What do skis and the Earth have in common?
Riddle: What do you get if you cross a snowman and a witch?
Learn about Eagle County history each week.
There was a time when the town of Eagle boasted its own little ski hill.
In 1954, the Eagle Lions Club took on the challenge of establishing a ski area easily accessible for local kids who were eager to try a new winter sport. Community volunteers identified a steep hill on the Cole Black ranch, at the top of Sixth Street (just above the Eagle cemetery), as the best spot for a ski run.
The Eagle Valley Enterprise newspaper called for potential ski club members to meet at the proposed ski course on a Sunday afternoon. People brought their own grub axes and spent the afternoon hacking down enough sagebrush to open up two ski runs.
The Lions Club set up a rope tow, using poles donated by the Eagle Valley Telephone Company. A V-8 engine from a 1938 Ford truck powered the tow. The rope threaded over old car axels and wheel rims.
Using the tow required some courage. Skiers grabbed a constantly moving and twisting rope and held on tight for an uphill ride over a path that became increasingly bumpy and slick as the day progressed.
Those kids lucky enough to make it to the top were rewarded with a slide down a short, steep hill. The more daring kids created a ski jump by sawing the back legs off of a picnic table, positioning it against the hill, and covering it with snow.
There was nothing fancy about the Eagle ski hill, but some of the children who learned to ski there became competitive high school skiers. Many ended up working at the Vail Ski Resort a decade or two later.
The Eagle ski hill operated for just a few years before fading away. However, a trace of the ski runs is still visible above the cemetery, and many long-time locals cherish memories of fun winter afternoons.
Time Travel is researched and written by Kathy Heicher, president of the Eagle County Historical Society. Learn more about ECHS at eaglecountyhistoricalsociety.com.
Riddle me this: Answers
Test your wits and smarts with these riddles.
Riddle: What is a snowman’s favorite smell? Carrots.
Riddle: What is a snowman’s favorite Mexican dish? Brrrr-itos.
Riddle: What do snowmen win at the Olympics? “Cold” medals.
Riddle: How do Eskimos make their beds? With sheets of ice and blankets of snow.
Riddle: What do skis and the Earth have in common? They both come with two poles.
Riddle: What do you get if you cross a snowman and a witch? A cold spell.