New snow blankets Vail |

New snow blankets Vail

Lauren Glendenning
Vail, CO Colorado
CVR More Snow DT 1-19-11

VAIL, Colorado – Wednesday was a great day to own your own business – the only boss to answer to was Mother Nature.

“It’s very nice to work for yourself on a day like today,” said Bill Blanchard, of Vail, who was riding up the Eagle Bahn Gondola Wednesday morning with an ear-to-ear grin on his face.

Tuesday’s snow report at Vail was 16 inches, and Wednesday’s morning’s report was 2 inches, but skiers and snowboarders were coming up with their own tallies by mid-morning as snow continued to fall heavily over Vail Mountain.

“There’s definitely over a foot already,” said Garrett Milbrett, of Denver, around noon.

Ron Denning, of Eagle, was on the phone with a buddy who was in Blue Sky Basin around 10 a.m. who was reporting 14 inches of new snow since earlier that morning. Denning was ecstatic about the report as he prepared for his first run of the day.

“Sixteen inches yesterday, 14 inches today – I don’t think I need to say much more than that,” Denning said.

Vail Mountain spokeswoman Liz Biebl said the mountain got a foot of new snow by about 3 p.m. since its 5:30 a.m. report.

And it was still coming down by the late afternoon.

“The snow’s fantastic – you can’t beat it,” said Greg McClure, of Denver.

McClure took the day off and came to Vail expecting to find yesterday’s leftovers – packed powder and maybe a few hard-to-find stashes in the trees.

“But it’s all powder, it’s great,” he said.

Vail has had no shortage of snow this season, but the snow gods have dumped it on thick in the last couple of days – more so than many locals can remember so far this season.

Mitch Trotter, a Vail Mountain lift attendant, was shoveling massive amounts of snow out of the way Wednesday morning at Chair 5, the new high speed quad also known as the High Noon Express lift.

Trotter said Wednesday wasn’t necessarily the biggest snow day so far this season, but the last few days combined have definitely been the biggest in terms of consecutive snow days, he said.

Colin Welter, of Edwards, and a couple of buddies were strapping in just above the Blue Ski Basin overlook, preparing for an adventure that would require some hiking.

“We’re going to head out east somewhere,” Welter said, not wanting to reveal their secret powder spot. “It will require some snowshoeing, hopefully.”

Welter hits the mountain almost every day, and as someone who hikes the backcountry, he knows a thing or two about snow quality.

“These are by far the best conditions of the year – easily, no question,” Welter said.

Skiers and riders weren’t disagreeing, either. Even as visibility became tough at times and wind gusts made things a bit chilly, there were still nothing but smiles Wednesday.

Neal Smitheman, of Toronto, arrived in Vail Tuesday and skied in the afternoon. It was nice, but Wednesday was “just incredible,” he said.

Jason Peck, of Edwards, and Ryan Pierce, from Maine, were excited about a less crowded Vail Mountain Wednesday. They said the 16-inch snow report Tuesday morning brought in a lot of crowds, and that the snow was tracked out pretty early on Tuesday.

“Yesterday was gorgeous and fluffy but there were millions of people and the lifts were all plugged, so it was kind of a bummer,” Peck said.

Lift lines Wednesday were few and far between, however. Three laps on Chair 5 from mid-morning to early afternoon were not only fluffy, they were fast.

“It’s pretty awesome,” said Tom Hsu, from Alabama. “There’s not a lot of people here at all, compared to Tuesday.”

Community Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or

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