Lemon: Your mud season survival guide
Vail CO, Colorado
It’s spring! I keep telling myself that ” and today it finally feels like it. (At the time I am writing this the forecasts for Monday look great, although it is a little tough to glance out the window at the blizzard blanketing us once again, and 13 more inches of snow are recorded in Vail).
The winter seemed interminable with Beaver Creek reporting 420 inches of snow this season. While the snow is great for skiing, I am ready to get out of here. I see pictures of the flowering trees in Washington and my daughter brags about the 70 degree weather in Atlanta (though she doesn’t brag as much in August), and we are getting buried again.
It was fun before ski season. I remember sending out photos of a foot of snow on the deck furniture in October. The anticipation was there then, now we are just sick of the continuing winter with no way to really enjoy it. This is the third time since 1980 that we have had more than 400 inches of snow. Not to get into a discussion about global warming, but . . .
So with all of this snow, the Mountains are closed, seemingly early. I feel like I’ve missed spring skiing. Vail over the weekend had only 65 percent of their lifts in operation, Beaver Creek was at 55 percent. The rest of the resorts in Colorado were reporting similar conditions. We didn’t lack snow, but we certainly are missing the bodies to keep the mountains functioning. The gondola from the Westin in Avon shut down April 1 (with no notice, no signs, and a lot of irate skiers). Not to get into a discussion about immigration reform, but . . .
The restaurants and merchants have been complaining that despite record numbers of skiers their numbers are down slightly. Whether that is a function of the economy and less spending by tourists or a change in the types of visitors that came this year is still to be determined. All of them complained that they did not have the staff to serve the customers, and that they were tired and ready to get out of town. Not to get into a discussion about commissioners, budget allocations, taxes and approvals for incentives to get affordable housing developed, but . . .
So welcome to mud season. For those of you who do not believe it actually exists, just wait. We always talk about mud season and this year since the snow has not stopped, we should really have it big time. I am convinced that winter will never end and the piles of snow make it more difficult to take up the time with other athletic pursuits since we cannot ski. The local teams are trying to play soccer games, but finding a clear field has become an issue. The track teams are out running their routes through the neighborhoods ” come rain or shine, the runners will get through. Nothing seems to slow them down. They know spring will really be there, they have deadlines and meets to attend. The rest of us are not so lucky.
I have seen a few brave souls out biking. The snowplows drive them off the road weekly.
A few friends have even golfed in Cotton Ranch though the up valley courses are in for a long wait. So here’s my survival list for mud season:
1. Get out of town.
2. Enjoy the spring restaurant specials. A lot of restaurants offer half price and two-for-one deals. Try some of the many excellent restaurants we have in this valley. Pick one a week, take friends and have a party before the summer craziness starts anew.
3. Get out of town.
4. Spring cleaning: Inside and out. We have our annual spring highway clean up on April 26 and many hands make light work. There is a party afterwards for all the volunteers. Come out and volunteer.
5. Get out of town.
6. Welcome back the bears, but don’t feed them. Make sure the extra bird seed is inside the CLOSED garage.
7. Get out of town.
8. There is a benefit for Mylissa Eckdahl which will take place at the Vilar Center, April 23. Mylissa was paralyzed from the neck down in a roll-over car accident. Peter Kater will be playing at the Vilar Center that evening as part of the fundraiser. Contact the Vilar Center for more information.
9. Get out of town.
Heather Lemon of Eagle-Vail writes a biweekly column for the Vail Daily. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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