Powder means bad racing, good publicity for Beaver Creek | VailDaily.com

Powder means bad racing, good publicity for Beaver Creek

Chris Outcalt
Beaver Creek, CO Colorado

BEAVER CREEK, Colorado ” The phones start ringing when it snows. And when millions of people are watching it snow, the phones ring a little more often, said John Garnsey, chief operating officer of Beaver Creek.

Thursday’s Birds of Prey races were canceled after a storm dumped 11 inches of snow on Beaver Creek Wednesday night. And although losing a day of racing isn’t ideal, it’s not all bad, Garnsey said.

“It’s very good snow messaging,” Garnsey said. “The last few years we’ve gotten major snowstorms during the World Cup, and, historically, that’s made the phones ring.”

The Birds of Prey races are broadcast to millions of people worldwide, including live primetime broadcasts in Austria, Switzerland, France, Finland and Norway.

“The Austrians are broadcasting live that there’s too much snow for the super combined,” said John Dakin of the Vail Valley Foundation. “It’s a great way to promote.”

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Beaver Creek received three feet of snow in the past week. The Wednesday night storm allowed the mountain to open new terrain, including 1876 trail, Bear Trap and additional parts of Centennial. The Rose Bowl Lift will open for the season this weekend, increasing the open terrain on the mountain to about 770 acres.

Vail reported six inches of snow Thursday afternoon and 11 inches in the last two days, and will open the Back Bowls on Saturday. Another snow storm is forecasted to hit the Vail Valley on Sunday.

Beaver Creek will also be broadcast live on CNBC when a group of executives from Colorado-based companies ring a large antique cowbell to open the New York Stock Exchange this morning.

Having a fresh coat of snow for that ceremony won’t hurt, Garnsey said.

“The beautiful snow and everything being white will be perfect for that,” Garnsey said.

Shariff Masry, general manager of the Sheraton in Avon, noticed more people calling to check on occupancy as soon as it started snowing on Wednesday.

“Everybody wants to get in town for the fresh powder,” Masry said. “What I sense is that everybody’s got the fever to ski.”

Masry said most of the calls were coming from Front Range skiers and snowboarders.

Despite the benefits of the snowstorm, Garnsey said having to cancel a race is bittersweet.

“It’s tough to lose the race, but at the same time it’s great message for this valley,” Garnsey said. “The commentators will be talking about the delays because of too much snow ” we’ll be a fairly large story internationally as well as picked up domestically.”

Weather permitting, the Birds of Prey will kick off with downhill competition at 11 a.m. today.

“We always joke we’re the most reliable snowmaking system Vail Resorts has,” Dakin said.

Staff Writer Chris Outcalt can be reached at 970-748-2931 or coutcalt@vaildaily.com.

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