Some in Vail want more ski season | VailDaily.com
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Some in Vail want more ski season

Dominique Taylor/Vail DailyRodrigo Monroy from Mexico City makes the most of the four new inches reported on Vail Friday. With such a good ski conditions, some local business would like a long ski season.
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VAIL, Colorado ” Vail Mountain has seen record snowfall this year, but the ski season won’t even make it halfway through April.

That has some saying Vail Resorts should extend the season ” something that Vail did last year and Aspen Highlands, Wolf Creek, Monarch and Purgatory have already done this year.

“It has to be the earliest closing in recent memory, and we’re having one of the best three or four snow seasons in some time,” said Dave Chapin, an owner of Vendetta’s bar and restaurant in Vail Village. “It would have been a great thing to extend the season.”

They could at least keep a few chairs running on the front side, Chapin said.

But Vail Resorts isn’t budging.

“The closing date for Vail Mountain is and will remain April 13,” spokeswoman Jen Brown said in an e-mail.

The earliness of that date has more to do with how Easter falls this year than with how much snow is on the ground, Brown said.

The March 23 date is the earliest Easter has been in almost a century. Front Range and out-of-state guests lose interest in skiing a week or two after Easter, Brown said.

Still, some say Vail should extend the season at least as a gesture to locals.

“From a P.R. standpoint at least they’d come across as though they’re working with the town and working with the people instead of being David and Goliath,” said Steve Kaufman, an owner of the Tap Room bar and restaurant in Vail Village.

Aspen Skiing Co. chief executive Mike Kaplan said Thursday that Aspen Highlands’ season would be extended for two weekends as a “way of saying thank you to the community for a great season.”

Other business owners, though, say they understand Vail Resorts’ decision.

Steve Rosenthal,owner of Colorado Footwear, said his business drops off to almost nothing the day the mountain closes. But Vail Resorts has to make smart business decisions, he said.

“They have to do what’s right for them,” Rosenthal said. “They’re a major corporation, and they have to report to their stockholders. … If they’re going to lose money, they can only do so much for the community.”

Phil Long, owner and apres-ski performer at the Red Lion, said, even if Vail Resorts was willing to change the date, it’s too late.

“To keep it open one more week at this point is frankly very difficult for employees and staff because at some point they have to plan their offseason,” Long said.

Vail Mountain chief Chris Jarnot said earlier this month that a labor shortage is a big reason why the mountain can’t stay open later. International workers who are departing because their J-1 visas run out have already forced the mountain to call on its employees to work overtime during the busy Easter holiday, he said.

Beaver Creek and Copper Mountain also close April 13. Breckenridge shuts down April 20.

Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 748-2929 or estoner@vaildaily.com.


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