Group camping out tonight for Vail’s first chair |

Group camping out tonight for Vail’s first chair

Matt Zalaznick
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL, Colorado – If you see a guy in a bear suit skiing on Vail Mountain Friday, his costume’s not the only thing unusual about his opening day adventure. Chris Johnson and three friends also slept in frigid temperatures Thursday night in an effort to snag first chair.

Johnson, a manager at the Big Bear Bistro in Vail Village, says first chair will be worth a night out in the cold in a sleeping bag.

“I’ve already been to A-Basin and Keystone a couple of days,” Johnson says. “I get excited about skiing in August.”

Johnson says his friends plan to wear business suits on the slopes today. As the temperatures drop into the teens overnight, the group planned to keep themselves amused with some old-school entertainment: Mad Libs.

(For those of you who weren’t juveniles in the 1980s, Mad Libs are a word game in which players provide nouns, verbs and adjectives for a short story they have not heard. The end result is often absurd and non-sensical, and sometimes obscene).

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The bear costume and business suits are meant to bring a little class to sometimes tacky opening day fashion, says Johnson, a Colorado native who lives in West Vail.

The only outdoor supplies he plans to bring are a sleeping bag and a warm hat, Johnson says. And, his excitement isn’t tempered by the fact that Vail Mountain will only open one run with man-made snow.

“I doesn’t really matter how much of the mountain is open,” Johnson says. “There’s always ways to have fun.”

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