The Beav finishes strong with new snow
When it rained last week over most of the Vail Valley, nobody expected to end the ski season at Beaver Creek with winter-like conditions days later.
But when the Beav closed for the 03-04 winters ski season on Sunday, it offered: Powdery snow on top of the mountain -almost one foot of new snow fell on Beaver Creek Friday night-; views of the snow-covered Gore Range and other mountains, sunny skies and temperatures in the 50’s.
“This is one of the top three best end of the season days in the past 10 years,” said Steve Visosky, 30, of Edwards. “There are great winter conditions on top of the mountain.”
Beaver Creek closed with more than 60 percent of its terrain open -Arrowhead closed last weekend and in Bachelor Gulch, one run, Sawbauck, was still open- 10 lifts and about 1010 acres of skiable terrain.
“This is the best I’ve seen it; the best I can remember,” said ski patroller Kate McAtavey. “We have a strong end of the season. We needed this snow for the coverage and to make people happy.” McAtavey, who works with the local nonprofit Meet the Wilderness in the summer, said she plans to go to Moab in the next weeks.
Among the skiers and snowboarders who embraced the Beav’s last day on Sunday, was Dan Marshall, 18, of England, who came to the valley to ski for two weeks.
After an unhealthy week for the snow -that included rain and lightning- Marshall couldn’t wait Sunday morning to hit the powdery snow on the runs on top of the mountain.
“This is a great last day of the season considering how bad the snow was last week and that it rained,” Marshall said. “I think they should keep it open one more week. But I guess we’ll have to take the bus to Vail….” Vail Mountain, which has most of its terrain open still, is scheduled to close Sunday.
Although there were (very) short lines on the lifts at Beaver Creek Sunday, some skiers had runs, such as Goshawk, all for themselves.
“This is (expletive) sick!” yelled Mike Chen, 17, of Chicago, as he snowboarded down the double black diamond run, which still had quite a bit of powder left from Friday’s snow storm. “This is the best run with the best snow and nobody is here.
“Beaver Creek is the best kept secret in Colorado,” he added as he disappeared down the trail.
Despite the winter-like conditions in terms of snow, spring was in the air at Beaver Creek Sunday. While skiers carved their last turns on the mountain, others traversed the sky above it with their colorful paragliders. And at the Birds of Prey chairlift, skiers were greeted by lift attendant Scott Jones playing the mandolin.
“This was an outstanding day,” said Jason Ostby, 31, of St. Paul, Minn..
Although, it wasn’t a very snowy winter -Beaver Creek got 266 inches-, Vic Hauser, who supervises 134 volunteers at Beaver Creek, called the season “unbelievable.”
“We had great snow and great crowds. And what a great day to end the season,” said Hauser, a resident of Edwards, who has been volunteering at Beaver Creek for the past 10 years.
But Hauser said he wasn’t too impressed with the last-minute dump this weekend.
“This is fairly typical,” said Hauser, as he helped out skiers at the top of the Centennial lift on Sunday. “For some strange reason, we end up the season with great snow.”
Courtney Lager, a 23-year-old lift attendant of Avon, said she had an incredible season. But she was happy it was over.
“I’m ready for the summer,” said Lager, who is staying in the valley until May when she leaves to be a camp counselor. In addition to meeting a lot of great people, Lager said her winter job gave her a different perspective of a ski resort.
“I’ve been a skier all my life. But now I’ve got an inside view on how people work together to make it work. I’ve also met a lot of nice people in this job, including many foreigners,” said Lager as she hit a colleague with a water pistol.
Today, skiers and snowboarders can really get soaked at the Beaver Creek pond skimming event.
Veronica Whitney can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 454 or at email@example.com.