Beaver Creek’s 30th anniversary season ends today
Vail, CO Colorado
BEAVER CREEK – Wearing vintage ski gear at the end of the season has become a tradition at almost any ski resort, but Beaver Creek makes the good old days an official part of its closing-weekend festivities.
Saturday’s Vintage Ski Race in honor of the late ski-racing legend Jimmie Heuga brought back a lot of styles and retro gear, but more importantly, it brought back great memories.
Ski-racing legend Billy Kidd, who raced in the 1964 Olympics with his buddy Heuga, said Beaver Creek’s event is one of a kind.
“This is just such a fun event,” Kidd said. “It reminds us of the colorful past that our sport has.”
Colorful it was on Saturday – in more ways than one. Skiers raced down Beaver Creek’s Haymeadow on old wooden skis and leather ski boots. Festive music played in the background, as spectators cracked up at how hilarious everyone looked as they skied down the hill.
Some of the equipment skiers used dated back to the 1920s, Kidd said. The sport itself dates back as far as 5,000 years, he said.
“Ski racing has got a pretty interesting history,” Kidd said.
Debbie Heuga watched as her husband’s buddies laughed and skied in gear that looked like they had gone back in time.
“Jimmie would have loved this,” Debbie Heuga said. “He’s here in spirit. I’m sure he’s racing against every one of these racers right now.”
Heuga, who died of pneumonia and other respiratory problems in Boulder in February 2010, was one of the first two American men to win Olympic medals in alpine skiing. Kidd was the other.
They picked up their medals in 1964, in Innsbruck, Austria, at the age of 20. That 1964 ski team was one of the greatest, Debbie Heuga said.
“They’re really great pals, and they will always be there for each other,” she said.
Beaver Creek season wraps up
As the Vintage Ski Race took place on Haymeadow on Saturday, skiers and snowboarders enjoyed Beaver Creek Mountain’s 30th anniversary closing weekend.
The lift lines were nonexistent, one of the very reasons so many people enjoy Beaver Creek.
Tom Burney, of Eagle-Vail, skied Saturday and looked back on a great season at “The Beav.”
“It was pretty good this year,” Burney said. “They just had a lot of snow. There was pretty good coverage the whole winter. You could go into the trees right from the start and get some good turns.”
Burney said Beaver Creek doesn’t have the flat spots that Vail has and it’s just never that crowded.
“You can always find a good turn or two, even at the end of a fresh (powder) day,” he said.
Finding fresh powder didn’t seem to be a problem this season, however, no matter what day of the week or time of day.
“You’d come and it would be 28 to 30 degrees out and you’d be skiing on fresh powder,” said Kelly Bleck, of Fort Collins.
Bleck used about half of her Colorado Pass’ 10 days at Beaver Creek. She likes the resort because it doesn’t have huge crowds and it’s not as stressful as Vail, she said, where there are so many people.
Skier Hailey Belds, of Boulder, loved the terrain parks at Beaver Creek this season. The resort made some changes in the fall, and Belds liked what she saw.
“I liked the amount of options you had and the different lines you could follow,” Belds said.
Beaver Creek Resort spokeswoman Jen Brown said there were so many great events and powder days this season, and there’s more to look forward to next year.
An upgraded Rose Bowl chair lift is one change Brown is looking forward to. The new lift will get skiers up the hill in 5 minutes, whereas the existing lift ride takes close to 11 minutes.
“Sunday will be the last nostalgic lift ride on the old Rose Bowl lift,” Brown said.
Beaver Creek’s closing weekend might not be the wild party that Vail’s closing weekend typically is, but there’s a tradition that’s unique to the resort and that tradition is still being built upon.
The Vintage Ski Race, while only in its second year, is one way Brown said Beaver Creek is now honoring the sport of ski racing and the resort itself.
“For everyone’s closing day, all the resorts do something special, but for us, it really is about the sport,” Brown said. “You don’t see many events where you have wooden skis. It makes you have a healthy respect for (former skiers) and what they were able to accomplish.”
Community Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or email@example.com.