On deck, Beaver Creek | VailDaily.com

On deck, Beaver Creek

Don Rogers

No reason they shouldn’t be. Vail Mountain handled nearly 11,000 people really quite well, considering.

We’ll confess some amusement at the harder-core critics who alternately paint the ski company as devilishly clever in its efforts to fleece the populace as thoroughly as biblical locusts and then, with hardly a pause, as a bunch of witless boobs who make the Keystone Cops look well organized.

Apparently, the company couldn’t win for failing to open Vail with the first dump – never mind staffing levels or training. And then for daring to open a week early to eager skiers in incomprehensible numbers before the staff could fully handle the crowd, at least in a few put-out folks’ eyes. But the old record was 4,000 on opening day; just about 11,000 showed up Saturday, bringing I-70’s exit lanes to a standstill. How do you anticipate that?

Our own very unscientific poll – conducted by standing in the early lines, riding the runs – found the queues remarkably quick up on the hill, skiers upbeat, and service just fine. Of course, we were just wise enough to understand that Chair 5 serving the open Back Bowl territory would sport a long wait. Duh. That’s hardly limited to record days.

And we came to Vail understanding that a lot of people would be joining us. Those who came with that rather simple understanding had a whale of a good time. The crowd was part of that “experience.”

Beaver Creek should be busy, though surely not that crowded with Vail already open and the Beav being just a bit off the beaten track for the Front Rangers.

Nearly 8 feet of snow have fallen on the ski hills since Oct. 1, and over two-thirds of Beaver Creek will be open from the start.

Vail will have Blue Sky Basin and most of the Back Bowls open in time for Thanksgiving.

And lodges, along with the resorts, are offering some nice deals to help attract an earlier-than-imagined-in-August clot of visitors.

Assuming the snow keeps coming, opening day may well not be the only epic part of this ski season, venerable Vail’s watershed 40th.


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