‘Start your day, plan your play’
AVON ” On a recent sunny morning, Ken Hoeve was strolling through Lionshead village on his way to work when a complete stranger walked out of his condominium in his bathrobe, spotted Hoeve and nailed him with a snowball.
Hoeve didn’t know the man in the bathrobe, but the man knew Hoeve ” as the local weatherman on TV8.
“We watch you every morning,” the man said.
Watched by more local viewers than the “Today Show” or “Good Morning America,” thousands of vacationers and valley dwellers wake up and tune in to “Good Morning Vail” from 7-10 every morning before they even grab their coffee cups. The first thing they see ” Hoeve’s face.
“I don’t feel like I’m a celebrity in any fashion,” he said. “I feel like I’m a local weather reporter who gets to report on two of the greatest mountains in the world.”
While bringing viewers up-to-the-minute weather reports and mountain conditions, the “Good Morning Vail” co-host said the bottom line is to have fun. After the snowball incident, Hoeve interviewed the man and his family of five, all in their bathrobes, at the front door of their Lionsquare Lodge condo.
“I get snowballs thrown at me occasionally. But in a good way,” Hoeve said. “People are always fired up. The only time people really get upset is if you promise the foot dump and you only get 2 inches.”
Whether reporting from the studio in Avon, or from the station’s live feed in Vail, Beaver Creek or Lionshead, Hoeve gives the report every 10 minutes, and he understands that an important aspect of the job is to entertain, which he does quite well.
Back in the studio the 34-year-old with more energy than a 3-year-old is running around trying to find his snowboard helmet before the next report.
“We’re live,” he said. “So every 10 minutes we have to come up with something new, because people will literally watch our show for the whole three hours and they want to see something different every single time.”
The camera cuts from co-host Tricia Swenson live in Beaver Creek back to Hoeve in the studio. He’s wearing a helmet, but it’s obvioiusly not his and two sizes too small. It’s even more comical when he puts it on backward and tells viewers, “Now just wait ’til you see the guy in the lift line who looks like this.” Even the station’s secretary starts laughing as she walks past the set to the kitchen to clean the coffee pot. He’s unflappable and it’s not the caffeine, but speaking of snowballs.
“Just working here, it forces you to be high energy in the morning. It’s almost like a snowball effect,” he said. “You get here, you’re tired in the morning just like everybody else, but as you start to do fun interviews and share information, you get fired up. You have to get fired up, because if you seem tired on TV, people will actually come up and tell you. There’s nothing worse than that.
“And the other thing that you have to think about is, while people are still laying in bed in their pajamas, they’re looking at you first thing in the morning and they’re saying, ‘Well I don’t like that shirt or why is he wearing a sport jacket?’ They’re questioning you,” Hoeve said. “You’re up first thing in the morning trying to bring them entertainment, but people are critical of you. You kind of keep that in the back of your mind all the while but the bottom line is try to have fun and entertain people, but at the same time the most important part of this job is bring them up-to-date weather and mountain information so that they understand how to be prepared for their ski day or snowshoeing day or dogsledding day and also that there are these activities available.
Hoeve’s not a real meteorologist, he said, “I just play one on TV” ” evidenced by the way he predicts the weather. He relies on his own garage-invented contraption consisting of a magic 8-ball.
“Is it going to snow today?” he asks. “It says outlook good, see, so it’s an accurate weather forecaster. Are we going to get a foot of snow? Without a doubt.”
When he’s not playing weather man, Hoeve has plenty of other roles to keep busy.
“I’m a new dad, which is the biggest project,” he said. “My son is still in the hospital in Denver. He was born three months early, so I’ve been doing a lot of commuting back and forth. He’s been doing really well, so that’s great.”
Then there’s the role of young entrepreneur. Hoeve operates Alpengo Mountain Transportation, a private ground transportation company for which he’s recently hired Ryan Sutter, the local firefighter who stole Trista Rehn’s, now Sutter’s, heart on “The Bachelorette” reality TV show.
When the cameras turn off for the winter and the driving slows down, Hoeve’s out on the river paddling full-time as a professional whitewater kayaker. Dagger kayaks pays him to travel through the Rocky Mountains and promote his passion.
“The saying is that ‘People come for the winter but they stay for the summer,’ and that is the truth. It’s fun for me to predict the precipitation in the winter time, but it’s even better to paddle in the precipitation in our fantastic rivers here in Colorado in the summer time,” he said. “This season is just going to be off the hook. The water with the snowpack that we have right now, once the snow runs off, the rivers are going to surge like they haven’t surged in probably 12 or 15 years.”
Right now, Hoeve’s just enjoying the flip-side of that.
“It’s great to be the weatherman this year, because it seems all that we’re reporting on is snow, snow and more snow, and that’s what people want,” he said, running out the door on his way to pick up a client in Beaver Creek.
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