Is Vail Mountain fun anymore?
VAIL – Cal Wettstein became so unpopular for ending the massive season-ending BB&B party that he got his own bumper sticker displaying his picture and a colorful saying.”Cal Wettstein is a whiny bitch, bitch, bitch,” the sticker read.”It was meant to be an insult, but I got the notoriety,” said the Forest Service ranger.The Forest Service and Eagle County Sheriff’s Office put the kibosh on the Minnie’s Deck party on Vail Mountain in 2003. Loads of trash and violence at BB&B prompted the two agencies to crack down on the party, Wettstein said.”There’s a lot of mourning over the fact that it’s gone,” Wettstein said.
With the extinction of BB&B, and years earlier the Great Race through Lionshead Village, where exactly does the state of fun stand on Vail Mountain in the closing weeks?”It’s pretty sad, a lot of Vail has gone that way,” said Ralph Dockery, former owner of the now-defunct Sundance Saloon in Lionshead. “You need a blow off like (BB&B), especially for the seasonal workers and everybody else.”Dockery affectionately recalls the Great Race, in which costumed participants from local ski shops, bars and other establishments made a mad dash through corny obstacles spread out in Lionshead.”Everybody was so drunk,” he said. “They started off with shots at Bart and Yeti’s in the morning.”After BB&B, 300 to 500 drunken skiers and snowboarders would descend upon Lionshead in a “Chinese fire drill to the base of the mountain,” Dockery said.
“Bart and Yeti’s only fits 50 people and had 100 in there,” he said.When the beer ran out there, masses of people moved to Sundance Saloon to saddle up next to the drinking trough.”We’d get them when they were really primed,” Dockery said.After a night of hard partying, the cops left partiers alone or gave them a ride home.Others mourn the loss of the traditional parties, but feel there is still fun to be had – just in a different form, Scott Stoughton said.
“The spirit is still alive,” Stoughton said. “BB&B was a great party. We appreciated it and were bummed when it ended. In lieu of that people get on the hill and have more little picnics.”On Saturday, Stoughton attended a little picnic at Windows deck, drinking wine and eating cheese with 50 other smiling faces. To continue the party on closing day, Stoughton is hosting a hurrah at Garfinkel’s featuring several bands and DJs.The season end festivities let locals unwind with friends after a long season of long hours, Stoughton said.”It’s what we are all here for – it’s the best part about being here,” he said.Still, when it comes to Lionshead parties, Stoughton fondly remembers the Great Race.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” he said. “I’d like to see something like that come back. I miss the Great Race a lot.”Staff Writer J.K. Perry can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14622, or email@example.com.Vail, Colorado