Beaver Creek’s opening day big for kids |

Beaver Creek’s opening day big for kids

Chris Outcaltcoutcalt@vaildaily.comBeaver Creek, CO Colorado
Theo Stroomer/Vail DailySki instructor Larissa Wild works with Ariana Ericksen, left, in Beaver Creek, Colorado on Wednesday. With snow expected in the forecast for today, the season at the Beav began with two runs open.

BEAVER CREEK, Colorado Dave Thompson was on the mountain at 7 a.m. He didnt get to ski on opening day in Beaver Creek, Colorado, but thanks in part to him, at least 100 kids did. Thompson was tucked in a small room inside the childrens ski school building at the base of the mountain Wednesday morning. The walls of the room are lined with hundreds of tiny skis and there are two work benches in the middle of the small space Its his office. We dont see many busier days, said Thompson, who runs the rental shop for the childrens ski school. Thompson tuned about 90 pairs of skis and 10 snowboards by 11 a.m. Hes been working since the middle of October to get the shop ready for opening day one of the busiest kids rental days of the year. Its always crazy today and then it slows down until Christmas, he said. A couple hundred feet outside Thompsons office, one of the mountains learning areas was already filled with kids getting instruction on how to stay balanced on their planks and how to make a snowplow turn.Theres a massive onslaught of ramp up just for this one day, said Greg Willis, general manager of the childrens ski school. Its a big day for us.The childrens school has lesson groups for kids ages 3-6 and 7-14. The mountain also offers lessons for snowboarders ages 5-6 and 7-14. About 450 instructors make up the childrens ski school staff. Another 500 teach skiers and riders over the age of 14.We do so many private lessons and family private lessons, Willis said. Ski lessons are exactly what brought Becki Jelinek and her family from Omaha, Neb. to the mountain for the last 10 years.We come to Beaver Creek every year, its always so beautiful, Jelinek said. The teachers are incredible.Jelineks 11-year-old son, Christian, worked on learning how to turn onto the toe edge of his snowboard Wednesday. I learned how to slow down more so I could turn, he said. Gabi Jelinek was learning how to make an s turn on her snowboard. Its a little embarrassing to take lessons with her kids, but they have a blast on the hill, Becki said. Inside The Ranch, Beaver Creeks new childrens ski school facility, instructor Andrew Killer Kilburn took a quick break from skiing with his lesson group to get the kids a snack. They made up a song to help them remember how to ski while they were eating.Its called push, twist and turn, Kilburn said. Kilburn is working his ninth season at Beaver Creek. He prefers working with kids not growing up was his reason.Wednesdays opening day lesson was going well, he said. Are you guys having fun, Kilburn said, looking over his shoulder at the six kids in his lesson group. Yeah! they should in unison. Yeah, they hate it, Kilburn said. Scott Davidson skied Latigo and Haymeadow the two trails open Wednesday morning with his daughter, Rachel. The best part of the day was the first run, when the snow was the best, Scott said. Rachel spent Wednesday working on her snowplow. I found a way to go slow like this, she said, making a v with her two index fingers. Snow is expected throughout the day today, said Ellen Heffernan, a forecaster with the National Weather Service. Total accumulation should be around three inches, she said.It should snow most of the day, she said.Heffernan said there is a good chance for about 1 to 3 inches of snow will fall in the area Friday. Linda and John Galvin have been to most of Beaver Creeks opening days for the last 30 years. Well just take our obligatory first run, Linda said. We like to come for opening day just to say you did it. Both Linda and John hoped for more snow soon.Its about the least snow Ive ever seen, Linda said. Staff Writer Chris Outcalt can be reached at 970-748-2931 or

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