Snowmaking starts at Vail Mountain
VAIL – Matt Carroll saw the snow guns roaring at Golden Peak in Vail, Colorado Thursday morning and had two thoughts – “Man, that’s early,” followed immediately by “woo-hoo!”Those snow guns are in limited use – the Golden Peak slopes used for training by Ski & Snowboard Club Vail are being sprayed early, and other areas will follow in the next few weeks. But it is early.”I can’t remember seeing snowmaking this early, but it’s been chilly,” Carroll said.And it has been chilly. Low temperatures have dipped into the 20s the last few mornings and the forecast for Vail calls for more chilly mornings this week. There’s no set temperature trigger for snowmaking, though. Vail Mountain spokeswoman Liz Biebl said low temperatures just have to be below 32 degrees to fire up the snow guns. Vail Mountain opens on Nov. 20 and Beaver Creek opens Nov. 25. But even before the first snow was blown onto Golden Peak Tuesday morning, Carroll, the general manager at the Double Diamond Ski Shop in Lionshead, has had his crew busy, moving rental bikes and summer gear to a warehouse, and moving in loads of skis, snowboards and winter gear.”I tell people this is more like the pre-season than off-season,” Carroll said. “We’re getting new product in every day, and we’ve got a couple hundred pairs of skis to mount bindings to.” The story is the same at Venture Sports in Avon. That shop has taken down the bike tuning station in front of the store, and has put up benches for people who want to try on boots.”We still have a few bikes,” Venture Sports ski tuner Bud Sargent said. “People are still interested in getting in those last few rides. But this month is the big push to change over.”Venture Sports has already started its season rental program for kids 12 and younger, and the store has its winter gear on sale right now to help spark interest for the coming season.In Vail, Carroll said customers have already been bringing in gear for pre-season tune-ups.And people at both stores are starting to get the itch to get in some turns.Sargent said the Venture Sports crew is getting ready for a big demo day at Loveland in the next couple of weeks.”This early snow’s a great thing,” Carroll said. “As long as we get snow, we’re going to get people.”Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930 or email@example.com.