First baby of 2009 is fourth-generation Vail |

First baby of 2009 is fourth-generation Vail

Kristin Anderson/Vail DailyOne-day-old John Slevin is surrounded by family as his diaper is changed Friday at the Vail Valley Medical Center in Vail, Colorado. His cousin Connor Knauer, left, sister Hanna Slevin, cousin Megan Knauer, and, mother Page Slevin surround John, who was the first baby born in 2009 in Vail.

VAIL, Colorado ” You might call John Slevin, Vai, Coloradol’s Baby New Year, a symbol of the town’s future. It’s only fitting, then, that’s he so connected to its past.

John was born at 11:42 a.m. on New Year’s Day, making him Eagle County’s first baby of 2009. He’s also the fourth generation of a Vail family that’s been here since the resort’s first season, which began in 1962.

“Being born the first baby in Vail is wonderful, but being born healthy and with family around is the most important,” said John’s father, Michael Slevin.

And baby John had plenty of family surrounding him Friday, including his parents, Michael and Page; his sister, Hanna; his grandfather, John; and his great-grandfather, Jim.

Jim Slevin came to Vail in January 1963, where he took a job as the sommelier at the Lodge at Vail. His wife, Daphne, came in 1962, taking a job as Vail founder Peter Seibert’s secretary.

Three generations ” Jim, John and Michael ” gathered in Delivery Room No. 1 at Vail Valley Medical Center on Friday to celebrate the fourth generation. Jim recalled a photo of himself as a baby with his own great-grandfather, grandmother and mother. Now, they were re-creating that photo, this time with Jim on the other side of the spectrum.

The baby was supposed to be born Jan. 11, but he couldn’t wait to crash the New Year’s party. Page and Michael came to the hospital at 10:30 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. About 13 hours later, John Knauer Slevin was born as the first baby of the year, weighing 7 pounds 12 ounces and measuring 20 inches long.

“We didn’t even realize it until one of the nurses said, ‘You’re the first one here. You might be the New Year’s baby,'” Page Slevin said.

Being the first baby of 2009, as the Slevins found, gets you a few cool things ” a cake, a gift basket and some New Year’s party hats.

Perhaps the most lasting legacy of being the Baby New Year will be a birthday that will always be a holiday.

“It’ll make remembering birthdays and celebrating them quite easy,” Michael Slevin said.

Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 970-748-2929 or

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