Fall chill proves winter is near for Vail | VailDaily.com

Fall chill proves winter is near for Vail

Lauren Glendenning
Vail, CO Colorado
Lauren Glendenning | lglendenning@vaildaily.comLeaves in many areas of Eagle County, including Camp Hale, above, are nearing their peak fall colors.

VAIL, Colorado – Chilly mornings and evenings are proof that summer is over and winter is right around the corner.

That chill in the air reminds many locals why they live in the Vail Valley. Summers might be beautiful, but they’re not the reason most people moved here.

Zach Taylor, an Avon mountaineer who has just finished climbing all of the state’s 14,000-foot peaks, typically snowboards year-round in Colorado. He hasn’t been up since mid-July, but said this is a good time of year to hit some of the glaciers around the state such as Montezuma Glacier outside Aspen, St. Mary’s Glacier near Idaho Springs, Africa Bowl on Mt. Massive and the Challenger Glacier off Rollins Pass.

“I am getting excited for winter and some good riding,” Taylor said. “Now that I finished all the 14’ers two days ago, I will be heading up to get some glacier turns soon to kick off the new season.”

While people like Taylor welcome winter weather, the fall chill can be sad for some – especially after a winter season in 2010-11 that seemed never-ending.

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“Summer was too late coming this year, and I suspect it will feel too early departing,” said Vail local Tracy Walters via the Vail Daily’s Facebook fan page. “Might as well fire up the snow guns and get on with it.”

With another La Nina winter heading this way in 2011-12, according to weather forecasters, the snow guns might not need much use again this season as Mother Nature tends to drop plenty of snow on Vail and Beaver Creek mountains during La Nina winters.

Local skier, photographer and musician Ben Koelker said he saw the first snow of the season a couple of weeks ago while on a small tour with his band, Stereo Assassins, which “definitely got the wheels turning to go skiing,” he said.

Koelker plans to spend the offseason skiing as soon as there’s enough snow, “bagging as many peaks as possible,” and documenting it all on his photography website, benkoelkerphoto.com.

Professional skier Drew Rouse, who often skies with Koelker, recently returned from a freeskiing competition in South America, and has been getting exciting about the chill in the air he has felt recently while hunting.

“The fall chill and the changing of the aspens are definitely what gets me starting to think about the end of hunting season and getting ready to go do some early season hiking for pow turns,” Rouse said. “And hopefully we get a dump that will be deep enough to make that worth it here real soon.”

Vail and Beaver Creek have not officially announced their opening dates for the 2011-12 season, but the date typically falls about a week before Thanksgiving, give or take.

Community Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or lglendenning@vaildaily.com.

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