Thanksgiving brings visitors to Vail |

Thanksgiving brings visitors to Vail

The Brookfield family, of Wisconsin, skies down Swingsville as a family unit on Thursday afternoon. Brianne, left, Joey, middle, and their parents Brian and Ann, plan a ski vacation every other Thanksgiving.
Townsend Bessent | |

VAIL — Both blue skies and snowfall Thursday greeted families from near and far for the Thanksgiving holiday on Vail Mountain.

With Chair 14, Sourdough Express, opening Wednesday, the resort lifted its terrain total to 1,360, the most of any resort on the Interstate 70 corridor and more than some combined.

The conditions this opening season are considered good even by those who have seen them all, like Lex Pinson, of Eagle, who has been skiing Vail since 1964. Pinson was enjoying the holiday with his brother, Wright Pinson, of Nashville, and niece and nephews Justin Johnson and Ciara Johnson, of Washington, D.C.

“It’s a perfect day,” Justin Johnson said. “We have a lot to be thankful for.”

For many, the vacation to Vail will be a nice escape. Brookfield, Wisconsin, resident Brian Colburn’s gas station convenience store was burglarized in dramatic fashion on Wednesday, when two masked assailants used a stolen van to tow the ATM out of his shop with a harness.

“It was on the news, because there’s just no crime out there,” he said. “Nothing like this has ever happened before.”

Now in Vail with his wife and children, they’re enjoying Thanksgiving on the slopes.

“We’re seeing my brother and his family,” Ann Colburn said. “We try to get out here for Thanksgiving as much as we can.”


Many Vail residents enjoyed a day off work on the slopes.

Terry Dinkin, of Terry’s Hair Studio in West Vail, skied with her sister’s family, the Sandbergs, also Eagle County residents.

“Every year we do the Turkey Trot in Eagle-Vail, then we go skiing and then we have Thanksgiving dinner at our cousins in Minturn,” Alan Sandberg said. “This year the skiing is awesome.”

Tom Higgins, of American Ski Exchange, got a few runs in. Joe Joyce, of Joe’s Famous Deli, was also out and about. Still recovering from a knee injury, former ski racer Simone LaRese, of the Blu Cow, said she is spending Thanksgiving the same way she has spent most Thanksgivings —with her family in their Vail Valley Swiss hot dog shop.

“My dad used to make me work with him in the shop on Thanksgiving,” she said.

Blu Cow founder Ernst LaRese died of natural causes Oct. 22. He was 84.

“We would argue here in the shop and drink vino in the back,” she said. “I’ll miss those days.”


Vail Mountain representative Sally Gunter said the resort will continue to open more terrain as conditions permit.

“In terms of what terrain opens next and when, it will depend on what happens during this storm cycle and the next one,” she said.

Colorado meteorologist Joel Gratz was also in Vail for Thanksgiving. He posted his daily blog entry as a band of light to moderate snow was moving over Vail Mountain from the west.

“We should see chances for snow continue from Thursday through next Monday as a storm wobbles and stalls to the west of Colorado,” he wrote. “I am keeping my forecasted snow accumulations light during this time, with the best chance for 1-3 inches to fall Friday night through midday Saturday and again from Sunday night through Monday.”

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