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Spring breakdown

Staff Reports

If you’re on spring break this year, you’re about the right age to remember choose-your-own-adventure books. Well, here’s our version of the classic books, this time spun into a Vail Spring Break adventure, packed with as many thrills as we can cram into our pages. Follow the instructions and mix ‘n match as you wish.THE BEGINNING: You’re mesmerized by the Rocky Mountains rising on either side of I-70 through the CME van window, envisioning your snowboard floating in knee-deep powder through shady aspen groves. It’s lucky that your buddy (who never quite grew up after graduating a few years ago) is ski-bumming it in Vail. All this can make you forget that you did blow most of your paltry savings on lift tickets and the flight out here. If this describes you, skip to B below. If you’re headed for a cushier stay, read “A.”A: You can’t believe you have your parents’ timeshare for seven days of total spring break blowout with your friends. The week promises to be a whirlwind of powder and partying. If you’re thinking about aprs while carving up the mountain all day, read C below.B: You wake up on shag carpet, eye-level with a dozen half-crushed PBR cans. Pushing aside these and other debris littering the living room floor of this old school snowboarding fraternity, you stagger to the window and pull back the curtain. Your sleep-puffed eyes are greeted with sunshine, bluebird skies and what looks like a dusting of fresh snow on the deck. After dousing your face with some SPF 30, it’s time to hit the slopes.If you’re bee-lining for the back bowls out of Lionshead or Vail Village, skip the lines at Chair 2 and Mid-Vail. Head down to Golden Peak to Chair 6, which drops you at the base of Chair 11. Or take the Gondola, drop into Game Creek Bowl and ride Chair 7 to the top of the mountain.Even peak vacation crowds can spread out in Vail’s six miles of back bowls. Start sampling in Sun Down Bowl with Ricky’s Ridge or Morning Side Ridge. Head into Sun Up Bowl via Milt’s Face or Cow’s Face, make some turns on Yonder or Headwall or drop into Tea Cup Bowl via Emperor’s Choice or Red Zinger before taking off for Blue Sky Basin.Drop the infamous Lover’s Leap cornice or test your grit on the Steep & Deep chutes. In need of a powder stash? Ski far to the skier’s left off of Chair 37 and find the fluffy stuff right along the resort boundary in Champagne Glade.After a full day of shredding the pow, it’s time to pick up some fine ale or spirits and perhaps victuals for your gracious hosts, not to mention breakfast rations for the rest of the week. Both are conveniently located in West Vail, on the free in-town bus line, at West Vail Liquors and Safeway and City Market. Just don’t buy beer at the grocery store state law prohibits it from being brewed with more than a 3.2 percent alcohol content.Be sure to hit the sack, er, floor early tonight in order to be up for first chair in the morning. Lifts open at 8:30 a.m.C: So everyone knows the sport of skiing is all about seeing and being seen (and the grooming report, of course). But maybe that cute snowboarder chick will lure you slightly off-piste for a few runs, or at least long enough to get her phone number to meet up in the village later.If whizzing down fresh corduroy on wide-open cruisers is your thing, stay on the front side and see C1 below. If you want to explore all Vail has to offer on the backside but aren’t quite ready to join the black diamond club, read C2 below.C1. Lap Born Free, Simba and Bwana under Chair 8 and the Gondola to get your legs warmed-up.The area under the Avanti Express Lift (Chair 2) hosts some very well-known intermediate favorites that are usually a mix of groomed and natural terrain. Explore Berries, Lodgepole, Columbine and Ledges.If it’s time for Apres ski, read on to C3. Otherwise see C2.C2. Once you’ve worked years worth of laziness out of your thighs, drop into Game Creek Bowl. From the top of Chair 7, follow Lost Boy to Dealer’s Choice, another cruiser. For a little challenge, try bumping and cutting the small moguls of Showboat or bigger bumps on Wildcard or Baccarat.Be sure not to miss intermediate gladed runs in Blue Sky Basin. Take in the 360-degree views and then hit In the Wuides in Earl’s Bowl to Big Rock Park and the Grand Review in Pete’s Bowl. After all that, if you’re still game to try a cold one after skiing, see below: try C3 for Lionshead and C4 for the Village otherwise skip to D.C3: Coming down off the slopes, you find yourself in a town where “aprs” is a verb. Better start things off right with some food in your stomach. If you end up in Lionshead, check out happy hour at Mezzaluna, across the snow from the Gondola, for $2 Coors Light bottles and $5 pizzas bigger than your face. The margaritas aren’t bad, either, on special for $4. Be careful if you’re taking ski lessons, though, you might just overhear a few instructors lavishly recounting their clients’ and tribulations of the day.C4: Skiing down to the Village offers an experience in itself. Relive it and relax on the deck at Los Amigos for an unparalleled view of Pepi’s Face, a notorious black-diamond slope leading directly to Vail’s doorstep. Enjoy Los’ loaded nachos for two or four if you need to prime for the night ahead. Still not done? To party like a rock star, try C5. If you’re looking to live the upscale nightlife, try C6. If you’re tuckered out, head to D.C5: Move on to The Club, where you can groove to the comedic musical stylings of Steve Meyer aprs ski Wednesday through Saturday, including a particularly rousing x-rated rendition of “Sweet Caroline.”If aprs turns into evening, the bar hosts live music every night around 10 p.m. There’s no better place to show off your ski-boot dancing skills. When it’s all said and done, take a taxi (or the bus) to D.C6: If you’ve pampered, primped and, most importantly, changed shoes since the slopes, head to the Tap Room to get warmed up. After hanging in the hand-carved-wood atmosphere, catch booty-shaking hip-hop upstairs at The Sanctuary. If you dare, put your balance and coordination to the test on the bouncing dance floor at Club 8150: catch a show or groove to the tunes of resident DJs.Later, cruise down Bridge Street for some pizza at Vendetta’s. Cap the night off with a beer or drink on special at the George, a favorite local late-night spot. When it’s all said and done, take a taxi (or the bus) to D.D: Here you are at the end of the day, tired and tuckered out. Now it’s time to relax, get some sleep, and do it all again tomorrow! By Kate Stepan


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