Heavy snow could start this afternoon | VailDaily.com

Heavy snow could start this afternoon

Matt Zalaznick

But with pass restrictions keeping most locals off of Vail and Beaver Creek mountains until Tuesday, the out-of-towners have the hill and the new snow all to themselves – and they’re in a good mood.

“We’re really psyched to be out here,” said Collen Brayshew, a skier from Denver.

The week started strong with a pair of snow showers replenishing the slopes. The snow deteriorated a bit with some sunny, warmer days late in the week –not that this matters to those of us who passes are blocked!

But the snow should start falling sometime Sunday afternoon and continue overnight, says Troy Lindquist, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction.

“I’m looking at between 5 and 10 inches, with higher elevations seeing the most,” Lindquist said.

Vail Resorts blocks passes between Christmas and New Year’s Eve because with so many tourists in town, several hundred locals on the hill could push the mountain over the 20,000 skier and snowboarder limit the company has agreed to with the town of Vail and the U.S. Forest Service.

While some locals head off to Copper Mountain, Loveland and Aspen, many end up catching a few extra shifts at work because there’s lots of overtime available with all the visitors in town.

“I work like that anyway,” said Tom Herriot, assistant manager at Mojo Music in Avon. “I’m going to go down to Copper Mountain, I’m not going to pay for Vail.”

The one good thing about pass restrictions is locals can do a few errands and take care of some other things they’ve been neglecting –like housework, he said.

“It gives you a chance to catch up on what you need to be doing instead of going out skiing every time you’re off of work, that helps,” said Herriot, a snowboarder. “It gives me chance to clean up my house.”

Mike Nielsen, who works at the West Vail Liquor Mart, said he also got some more mundane things accomplished while passes were blocked Friday.

“I took advantage of it to go register my car and finally get to the bank and stuff like that,” Nielsen said. “I think I’m probably going to try to get down to Denver, do a little skateboarding and see my mom.”

The restrictions have made snowboarders antsy about hitting the half-pipe in Vail’s terrain park, which opened this week, Nielsen said.

“They opened the half-pipe and then we’re restricted the next day, that kind of stinks,” he said.

Pass restrictions aside, there may be another batch of good news in store for local skiers and snowboarders, already reveling in some of the best ski conditions in years. The first day locals can get back on the hill Wednesday could be a powder day, Lindquist said.

“It looks like there’s another system coming in Tuesday and Wednesday and it’s got potential to dump several inches of snow,” he said. “At this point, whether it’s going to be heavy or not, it’s out there a little too far to tell.”

After some drier, warm weather during the beginning of December, the mountains are settling into a typical, snowy weather pattern, Lindquist said.

“We’re transitioning back into a weather pattern where we’re seeing storms passing through area every few days,” he said. “We’re fairly close to normal.”

Matt Zalaznick can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 606, or via e-mail at mzalaznick@vaildaily.com.

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