Mild crowds on Opening Day as Vail’s season gets underway |

Mild crowds on Opening Day as Vail’s season gets underway

Mountain surprises skiers with ungroomed terrain available on Look Ma

VAIL — It might not feel like ski season yet in some parts of Eagle County, but at MidVail on Friday, a snowy scene greeted guests to Vail Mountain for the first day of the local ski season.

The mountain has received about 35 inches of natural snow this season and a few of those inches had fallen in the hours leading up to Friday’s opening. The fresh powder joined a man-made snow layer on top of the mountain to offer skiers both natural and artificial surfaces.

Snowboarders and skiers ride Mountain Top Express Lift on Opening Day Friday in Vail. The resort opened with nearly 80 acres of terrain.
Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily

Ramshorn and Swingsville were open as promised, but a portion of the run Look Ma was also opened in a surprise from Vail’s mountain operations, providing an ungroomed area for skiers to enjoy.

A mix of groomed and ungroomed terrain greeted skiers and snowboarders on Vail Mountain for Opening Day.
John LaConte

Crowds were mild; parking structures did not fill and the maze area did not back up onto the slopes or Bridge Street. Similarly, there were no lines to depart the mountain via Gondola One in the afternoon. Gondola One provided the portal to access the skiable terrain on the upper mountain while Chair 4 served as the lift that serviced that terrain.

Vail’s Opening Day traditions were observed – free breakfast burritos greeted guests in the mornings and a DJ pumped music into the base area. Once again, a group of local skiers, led by Vail native Cesar Hermosillo, camped out at the base of Gondola One on Thursday night in order to ensure their first spot on the gondola.

Support Local Journalism

Fresh corduroy and snow-covered trees greet the first guests Friday on Opening Day at Vail. Guests ride Gondola One up to Mountain Top Express Lift and then download on the gondola to get back to Vail Village.
Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily

Hermosillo and longtime local Jennifer Natbony said they have been carrying out this first-day tradition for more than 10 years. Dr. Kelly White has been at it for much longer and also joined the group. White said he showed up in the middle of the night as he has been doing for decades.

White said he was keeping Dr. Charles Tuft in his thoughts. Tuft was killed on Opening Day 10 years ago in a ski accident.

Another Opening Day veteran, Thomas “Trailer Tom” Miller brought some levity to the group by showing up for Opening Day in Renaissance Fair-style jousting attire.

Churros, coffee, hot chocolate and breakfast burritos were on hand Friday for those early guests at Vail’s Opening Day. A disc jockey also played tunes to get people pumped.
Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily

“It’s for doing special tricks on the hill,” Miller said.

Hermosillo said being a part of Opening Day “is not about the skiing, it’s not about the ski runs, it’s about the family and the camaraderie and everybody getting together.”

But, as fresh snow fell off the lift behind him, he also added: “Well, it is a little bit about the skiing.”

Support Local Journalism


Loading comments...