Spirit of the season – slopestyle
The glitter of the holiday lights sparkled throughout Vail Village Thursday as hundreds of skiers and snowboarders stomped through town and toward Vail Mountain.
Many riders Christmas Day decided not to spend the holiday indoors with family, but outdoors in slightly snowy and slightly chilly conditions.
Some riders from the Front Range awoke at the crack of dawn to drive about two hours into the High Country to feel the cool breeze drift on their faces. But not without waiting a little while in line. The longest lines of the day were found at Mid-Vail’s Chairs 3 and 4 but not many people were complaining.
Randy Hirsh, a Denver skier trying his might at snowboarding, said the lines weren’t bad – that’s why he skis on Christmas Day. That, and to get away from the family for a day.
“I work with my family,” Hirsh said. “I see my family six days a week. I don’t want to see them on my day off.”
Hirsh left Denver before 7 a.m. to catch one of the first lifts up the mountain. He decided to ski the first part of the day, then switch after lunch to try his heels at snowboarding – for the second time.
His counterpart, Kathy Lively, of Denver, said he was crazy.
Lively, whose family lives all over the country, had no plans for the holidays.
“This is better than sitting at home,” she said. It was her first trip to Vail, but she said she was getting the hang of skiing, albeit slowly. “I want to make this a tradition now – going skiing on Christmas Day.”
Lively has been skiing only a half a dozen times in her life, she said, making her first trip down a slop on a mountain in Japan when she was in the Navy. Now she doesn’t get a chance to hit the slopes as often as she would like, she said, but “hopefully this year I’ll get to come more often.
“I have to wear my new ski outfit,” she said, smirking.
Like Lively’s family whose from all over the world, skiers and snowboarders found on the slopes Thursday hailed from all over the world.
One skier, Valerian Simianu, a native of Romania who now lives in Indiana, just outside of Indianapolis, said he came out because he wants to spend as much time as possible on the slopes.
“I love Simba,” Simianu said. “As for my family, they’re spread all over the place. I don’t know where they’re out. My boys might be out on the Back Bowls.”
Simianu flew to Vail with his two sons, 20 and 16, beginning the week at Keystone and ending in Lionshead. He leaves today to go back to Indiana.
On his ninth day in Eagle County, Tain Fore, of Singapore, also will head back home. Fore spent most of his vacation with his family, but he said he couldn’t spend any time on the mountain because of an injury.
“Unfortunately, I have an injured knee,” Fore said. “When you live in the tropics of Singapore, you don’t get to ski enough, so there’s not as much practice.”
But the vacation provided time for family, he said.
In the case of Jim Babala, a snowboarder from Detroit, his family left him on the mountain.
“They’re around here somewhere,” Babala said. “But I don’t ski as well as they do so, I’m skiing alone. Everybody’s better than I am.”
Carmen and Jorge from Mexico City stayed about a week in Eagle County on a miniature skiing vacation, but said the time had been “wonderful.”
But the holidays aren’t just for people sitting around a Christmas tree goggling over their presents or for the more daring who ventured on the mountain.
Glenn and Anne Conrad traveled from Claude, Texas, about 28 miles west of Amarillo, to visit their daughter for the holidays. The duo were enjoying a Bloody Mary and watching the snow fall before their daughter joined them for lunch Thursday.
“She’s the one who brought us out here,” Glenn Conrad said. “She brought us here for Christmas.”