Best snowfall in nine years |

Best snowfall in nine years

CVR Vail Open BH 11-18

VAIL – Fast and furious early season snow helped Vail and Beaver Creek mountains have their best snowfall seasons in nine years.”We had probably one of the best starts we’ve had to a season in a long time,” said Tom Neyens, a Vail Valley resident since 1984 who skied 60 days this year.Vail got 432.25 inches of snow this year at the top of the mountain, 25 percent above average. It was Vail’s ninth-best snowfall season in its 43-year history.

Beaver Creek got 350.5 inches at the top of the mountain this year, which is 17 percent above average. Because of inconsistent record-keeping, the resort can’t say how the season ranks officially among its 25 seasons, but the season seems to be the fourth-best ever, said Christina Schleicher, spokeswoman for Beaver Creek.The season started off with a bang, with the Vail Mountain opening a fifth of its terrain on Opening Day in November. At Vail, the biggest month was December, when the mountain saw 92 inches. The December average is 59 inches.The last season with more snowfall was 1996-97 for both resorts.

It might not have been the best snow season in Vail’s history, Neyens said, but there was great powder skiing that transformed into great spring skiing.”There was great coverage at the end of the year,” he said.Neyens said he was surprised how few brown spots there still were on the Vail Mountain on Tuesday, two days after closing.”We could have been up there skiing for another 14 days,” said Neyens, who owns the Ski Valet in Lionshead.It’s likely that few people had more days on the mountain than Walter Dandy of Eagle-Vail, who recorded 144 days this year. He’s been skiing that much every year since 1988, he said.

“I thought it was the best that I’ve seen,” he said. “I think that the thing that had tremendous impact for the business community was that we were so strong in terms of snowfall so early.”Dandy spent almost all of his days selling and testing his CADS devices, which aid skiers with injuries or fatigue. He also said the spring skiing was great. His only complaint was that there weren’t many blue-sky days.”You can’t have everything,” he said.Rob LeVine, who has lived in the valley since 1978, said he only skied 15 days this year, but they were some of the best days he’s had, including “perhaps the best day of skiing that I can recall in 42 years of skiing.”Both Beaver Creek and Vail had above-average snow in November, December and January. But Beaver Creek was below average for February and March.

Vail has not yet released snow totals for March and April.Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14623, or, Colorado

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