The riot of spring |

The riot of spring

Matt Zalaznick

Ski season ended Tuesday with a bang and a tiger suit<not a whimper.That sums up the chaos that erupted on Vail Mountain Tuesday. And that’s how thousands of locals<camped out in snow forts built days ago at Minnie’s Deck and more adequately fortified with booze than any local bar<said goodbye to ski season at Tuesday’s BB&B blowout.”You know that scene in “Braveheart,’ where everybody fights each other?” said Paul Musow, a ski instructor from Breckenridge. “It’s like when you were five and you and your buddies built snow forts and had snowballs fights.”Minnie’s Deck, a normally placid picnic grove near the top of the mountainabove Lionshead, was overrun with a party as colorful as Mardi Gras, rowdier than a rock concert and about as perilous as walk through a demolition derby.Locals had been up at Minnie’s Deck for days building snow forts.After all, “working’s for chumps,” said one local musician, who was found stumbling through the woods.”I’m supposed to be at work, but I ended up in a tree in a loincloth,” said the musician.”You’re not in a tree,” said his friend, a local singer, who was then askedwhy the word “monkey” is funny.The friend then began babbling about the movie “Aladdin.”BB&B is about more than just bedlam. According to Edwards psychologist Meredith Ringler-White, who attended her first BB&B Tuesday<in a leopard-print bikini<BB&B is a vital coming together for locals who have spent a ski season together working hard.”Everybody works all season and watches the tourists have their vacations, and this is like a mini-vacation,” Ringler-White said. “It’s about letting lose, feeling the camaraderie and the local bonding.””Local bondage,” added Ringler-White’s friend, Ken Gravenhorst.Gravenhorst said he’s pals with one of the visionaries who created BB&B 20 years ago. Today’s BB&B is a far cry from the original vision, he said.For one, it used to be in the Back Bowls, where the food was a lot fancier.”It used to be more of a drunk fest,” Gravenhorst said. “The crowd’s a lot younger (now).”Police presence has definitely increased, however, since BB&B’s beginnings. Vail police and Eagle County sheriff’s deputies were out in force Tuesday in Lionshead village, as well as up on the mountain.While not making forays into the grove, a platoon of sheriff’s deputies, U.S. Forest Service rangers and police from throughout the state kept the festival mostly contained to Minnie’s Deck.By the end of the evening Tuesday, when thousands of BB&Bers tried to make it down Born Free full of booze and other substances, there was some whimpering, indeed, under the piles of babbling and drooling skiers and snowboarders.”It’s a Grateful Dead show gone crazy on a ski hill,” said Anne Davidson, whocame up from Boulder for the spring ritual. “It’s a rockin’ good time. I sawsome girl dressed as a teddy bear running through the snowballs and shealmost made it<until this guy came out of the woods and tackled her.”

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