Abundant snow, fun for 2014-15 Closing Day | VailDaily.com

Abundant snow, fun for 2014-15 Closing Day

Local 14 year old, Thatcher May, throws his hands up in celebration after finishing the 2015 Spring Back to Vail Pond Skimming Championships in Vail on Sunday.
Townsend Bessent | Townsend@vaildaily.com |


Vail Mountain 2014-15 season

276 inches

Base for Monday’s employee ski day:

43 inches

VAIL MOUNTAIN — Like all closing days here, it was one to remember.

An abbreviated schedule had many nervous heading into the final hours of Vail Mountain’s 2014/15 season. The questions on people’s minds were: Will conditions hold up? Will we be forced to download?

By the time the lifts started taking passengers up at 8:59 a.m. Sunday morning, the answer was apparent. Closing day was also going to be a great day for skiing and riding the mountain.

And by riding, we don’t just mean snowboarding. Short skis, short boards, monoskis, ski bikes, just the blades for ski bikes, all could be found on Vail Mountain Sunday.

“I don’t like Closing Day, but I like the conditions.”Ben TowlerVail resident

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And all were loving the conditions.

“I don’t like closing day, but I like the conditions,” said Ben Towler, of Vail, in his best voice imitation of the Mario character from the Nintendo universe.

VIDEO: On the Hill: Closing day party at Vail

PHOTOS: Closing Day on Vail Mountain


With thousands in costume on Sunday, Mario was among the popular characters, with various iterations of cast members from the popular Mario Kart video game among the popular themes. Towler was joined by a large group of friends, all in Mario Kart costumes, with his friend Rachael representing a rare but appropriate character for closing day, Lakitu the referee with his “Final Lap” sign. Unaware that Rachael had chosen Lakaitu for her closing-day motif, Mark Petersen of Massachusetts and Denver also dressed in full-on Lakitu costume, complete with the “Final Lap” sign.

And that’s how prevalent costumes have become on Vail Mountain’s closing day celebration. There were actually two Lakitus out cruising the slopes on Sunday.

Ben Dodd and Brett Bairt dressed as Mexican gunslingers and shot passengers with cap pistols as they departed Chair 4. Trent Ruder, grandson of the Ruder’s Run namesake, wore a neon one piece an original headband from the 1989 World Alpine Ski Championships.

Dressed in full on Big Texas Oil Men costumes, Paul Donavan and his friends came out and attempted to purchase Vail Mountain once again this year.

“We want to put up a Wal Mart here,” Donavan said from the top of Chair 4.


As the ski patrol detonated their leftover avalanche explosives from the season in customary fashion, celebrators turned their attention to local residents Megan Taylor and her boyfriend Dave Gillette, who got down on one knee in front of a large “Will you marry me?” sign, explosions going off behind him. He said he had been planning the proposal for six months.

“She said yes,” he said with a relief, among scores of cheering fans, when it was all over. “Lot of stress, lot of booze, a lot of friends, I had everything you need to pull this off.”

Many of the people approaching the couple afterward were perfect strangers.

“It was perfect,” Gillette said.

Vail Mountain employees will enjoy one last ride on the lifts Monday as the mountain rewards workers with their annual employee ski day. For those workers getting in some final turns on the year, snowfall is expected to continue through the morning.

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