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Snow excites opening day hopefuls

J.K. Perry
Kira Horvath/Vail DailyJames Graham rides a rail he and his friends set up at Timber Ridge Apartment complex on Tuesday. This is Graham's third season working as a cook at Wildwood Restaurant on Vail Mountain.
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VAIL ” James Graham peeked out the window Tuesday morning, saw snow, and woke roommate Justin Martin to build a rail outside their Timber Ridge apartment.

Graham and another roommate, Craig Meiring, found a discarded bunkbed rail over the summer. They built a ramp with snow they requested from a plower, shoved the rail into the snow and strapped on their boards and skis.

“We sessioned the crap out of that thing,” Graham said.



The jibbing lasted two hours until a landlady put a stop to the fun.

“We just got yelled at for putting it up ” she said it was a liability,” Graham said. “She said ‘The mountain is over there’ and I said ‘It’s not open yet.’ “



The three roommates, who work at Wildwood restaurant, became excited about Vail Mountain’s Friday opening when they saw the snow falling.

“I can’t wait ” I’m dying to ride,” Martin said. “If they get what they’re saying, hopefully it will all be open.”

The snow Tuesday also forced some motorists to kill time browsing Vail shops after Vail Pass closed for seven hours. At Buzz’s Ski Shop, the stranded motorists checked out new gear and made small purchases after white out conditions prompted the Colorado State Patrol and Colorado Department of Transportation to close Interstate 70 from Vail to Georgetown. Several minor accidents along the interstate were reported.



“We have had a lot of people in here killing time waiting for the pass to reopen,” Buzz’s Manager Neil Conroy said. “Everybody seems to be in good spirits. Everybody seems to be psyched about the snow.”

People in the store hoped the snow squalls pounding Vail Mountain might mean more rideable terrain when the resort opens on Friday. Personally, Conroy held some lofty goals for Vail’s opening.

“I’m hoping at least all of Chair 2 is open, but that might not be a likely goal,” he said.

Vail Mountain officials plan to announce terrain and lift openings today. Vail reported 13 inches of snow at Mid-Vail over the 48 hours ending at 6 a.m. on Tuesday. Another six inches fell as of Tuesday afternoon.

“There’ve been heavy squalls in Vail since yesterday,” said Jen Brown, spokeswoman for Vail Mountain. “The storm is forecasted to break, but will have left some much-treasured snow just in time for opening day.”

Meanwhile, Beaver Creek reported nine inches of snow from Monday night to Tuesday afternoon. Their five-day snowfall total is 19 inches at mid mountain. The mountain is scheduled to open Nov. 22.

Aalta Sports employees in Beaver Creek spent the day preparing for the store to open. And although they saw no excited customers, the employees were abuzz with the snow and Vail and Beaver Creek opening.

“Everybody that works here is psyched about the snow,” Aalta Manager Kyle Cowen said. “I think it’s great ” I love it.”

Staff Writer J.K. Perry can be reached at 748-2928 or jkperry@vaildaily.com.

Vail Daily, Vail Colorado CO


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