‘Good snow, good friends, good times’
Snow fell as the dynamite exploded at Vail Mountain’s 2016 Closing Day.
Large crowds gathered to watch Vail Ski Patrol detonate a series of avalanche explosives to signal the end of the season, as is customary on Vail Mountain.
What’s not customary is large snowflakes falling, offering free refills on all the great lines to the bottom, which skiers and snowboarders had been enjoying all day.
Local students Tait Herreaves, 14; John Obourn, 15; and Michael Klinga-Sol, 14, may still be in middle school, but they knew how to close down the season correctly. Dressed in brightly colored onsies and using ski blades, they attacked the Chair 4 Cliffs and the Whoopdie jump that follows it, with the six-person chairs cheering overhead. Herreaves landed a couple of backflips off the Whoopdie, another Closing Day tradition when the conditions are right.
“It’s amazing out here,” he said. “We’ve been running into different friends from school out here all day.”
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STRIPPED DOWN FUN
Locals Ben Hymes, Bjorn Bauer, Jake Cummings, Tucker Cocchiarella, Mac Kelsall and Charlie Aziz were all once students here, as well. Now out of school, they took the opportunity Sunday to pay tribute to their beloved friend Logan Jauernigg, who died in a kayaking accident a few weeks after last year’s Closing Day. They all wore shirts on which Jauernigg was pictured in his Closing Day outfit from 2015.
“On Closing Day last year our best friend Logan Jauernigg was skiing in a kayaking outfit — a skirt and with a paddle and a rescue jacket — and we wanted to embody his spirit by dressing up the same way,” said Hymes, who carried a paddle with him as he skied all day. “We miss him and we love him and he’s our best friend.”
Hymes said he remembers Jauernigg saying on Closing Day last season that he wanted to perform a naked backflip on skis one day.
“And we were lucky enough to see someone do a naked backflip this year on Closing Day,” Hymes said.
BETTER WITH FRIENDS
Paul Murray has been out here a few seasons and said the snow conditions for Closing Day were the best he’s ever seen. In the 48 hours leading up to the heavy snow that was falling Sunday afternoon, Vail had measured 13 inches of new snow in its 5 a.m. reports.
“It’s just been getting better every year,” Murray said.
Murray said enjoying Closing Day celebrations is a paramount tradition if you want to truly take in the season as a local.
“If you didn’t close down the season, did it really happen?” he said.
Eagle County resident Cyrus Horne enjoyed his first ever Closing Day celebration on Sunday.
“I’ve been out here five years now, but I’ve always been working for the mountain before,” he said.
Now an employee at the General Store in Lionshead Village, he enjoyed the day off.
“What a great time,” he said.
Horne was gathered with a group of friends, as were so many others on the mountain on Sunday.
Local nurse Alyssa Ramsdell was able to get out and ride with a large group for one of the best days she’s had this season.
“We had a group of six riding together all day,” she said. “Good snow, good friends, good times.”