Epic Pass powers Vail Valley powder day
Vail Valley, CO Colorado
BEAVER CREEK, Colorado ” Cheers erupted from the Centennial lift line at Beaver Creek as skiers jostled for the first chair at 8:30 am.
With 17 inches of new snow, and 13 inches at Vail, the powder-hungry locals, brave Front Rangers and lucky visitors had a lot to be excited about.
Many of the vacationers from outside Colorado tended to have two accessories in common: a frozen powder grin and an Epic pass.
Leonard Firestone, of Fort Worth, Texas, recently bought a condo in the Westin Riverfront Resort, and got himself an Epic Pass to go along with it.
“It’s an unbelievable bargain,” Firestone said. “It just pays for itself so quickly.”
His brother, Chris, was excited about his Epic Pass and the knee-deep powder.
“It’s all fantastic,” he said. “What else can you say?”
Because of the economic recession, businesses around the valley feared that people would choose not to take ski vacations this holiday season. But Joe Liefer, hard goods manager at Christy Sports in the Beaver Creek lodge, said business started to pick up last Thursday.
“We’re slammed right now,” he said. “And it’s a good thing. We’re doing really well at this location and getting a lot of business from hotel guests and second-home owners.”
He said that the Epic Pass was probably helping to bring people to the Vail valley in these tough times.
“Anything that helps get more people up here to ski is good for us,” he said. “We’re psyched to have these people here and have them in the store.”
Hard good sales such as skis are generally down, he said, but custom boots and rentals have been pulling their weight. Liefer said new airline fees for checked bags have prompted many visitors to leave their skis at home and rent once they arrive. But a major factor in Vail’s drawing power this year has been the white stuff falling outside the window.
“The snow always helps,” Liefer said.
Tim Romer, of California, was thrilled about the snow. He will be in Vail for two weeks with his family in their second home. His wife stayed in Tuesday morning with two sick kids, allowing Romer to get out on the hill with his brothers-in-law. He bought six Epic Passes, one for each member of his family.
Not to be outdone, Chadd and Amy Westoff, of Virginia, bought 11 Epic Passes for six adults and five children. The Westoff group totals 18, and they stay with Amy’s parents for two weeks of the winter vacation.
“We just love the flexibility of (the Epic Pass),” Amy Westoff said. “We have young kids and young skiing kids and it helps to be able to get on and off the mountain anytime.”
Like this morning, when Amy and Chadd decided to pass of their early shift of watching the kids, promising to be back at 10:30.
“This is one of the best days in a few years,” Chadd Westoff said. “We’ve been really lucky.”
Amy said that the family is planning on coming back two more times this year, something they couldn’t have done without the Epic Pass.
“The Epic Pass changed our lives,” she said. “Whatever we have to do to bring it back next year, we will do it.”