Speedy lift may help skiers find secret stash | VailDaily.com

Speedy lift may help skiers find secret stash

J.K. Perry

BEAVER CREEK – The new Larkspur Express Lift will bring bigger crowds to its namesake bowl, but Joe Jankowski says he’s willing to share the slopes he covets.”If they come, it’s cool,” he said. And, as Matt Pollack put it, the old Larkspur Lift – one of the longest rides on the mountains – was “pokey.””It’s great having a fast lift,” Pollack said. “You’d freeze up going up last year.”

The ride has been cut from 11 minutes to 5 1/2. Beaver Creek officials expect the lift, which opened Friday, will make getting around the mountain easier and Larkspur bowl a little busier.”There will be a couple more people,” lift operator Chris Williams said. “It’ll be used more often to traverse over the mountain to get to Bachelor Gulch or Strawberry Park.”Most skiers and riders said they were excited about the new Larkspur lift.”It’s much, much better and it’s a lot more comfortable,” Scott Evans said.And the snow Friday earned the description, “epic.””It’s great skiing, especially with the weather. It’s epic,” Mike Gallagher said. “Ten out of 10 – you couldn’t ask for anything more.”

Despite the enthusiasm, bugs plagued the chair Friday. The lift slowed to a halt twice or more every revolution lengthening lines at times. Employees said they expected to work out the kinks in short order.”Everything should be rocking for the whole season,” Williams said.By mid-afternoon, officials said the lift was running at full speed. The conditions were also running at full speed with blue skies, and immaculate corduroy sandwiched by deep, crisp and even powder.Jay Rzeplinski took a spill in the powder, but came out unscathed at the lift, cleaning the snow out of his goggles. “It’s wonderful,” he said. “You don’t get to ski powder all the time.”Some couldn’t resist the pull of first turns. Lift operator and die-hard Jake Northrup and his posse hiked up Dally to secure first chair. “We had the first three chairs,” he said. “It’s getting tracked out but it’s great.”

With the ropes drops on Larkspur Bowl, about 80 percent of Beaver Creek Mountain is open. Skiers Friday said the snow was bottomless, making it difficult to get up from a fall and easy to lose jettisoned skis.A group of Germans got into the groove and were digging Larkspur.”It’s very fine to ski here,” Annette Klaiber said. “The powder is also very nice.”Friday provided the opportunity for Liz Snook to get reacquainted with the Beav’.”I haven’t been here for years,” Snook said. “I remember it was fantastic and it’s meeting my expectations.”

Staff Writer J.K. Perry can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14622, or jkperry@vaildaily.com. Vail, Colorado

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