Time Machine: 40 years ago, Vail Mountain reopens for skiing in a ‘second season’ following massive snowstorms | VailDaily.com

Time Machine: 40 years ago, Vail Mountain reopens for skiing in a ‘second season’ following massive snowstorms

10 years ago

May 19, 2013

A wildfire in the Wildridge neighborhood in Avon was quickly contained on the 2500 block of Old Trail Road.

The Vail Daily reported that the fire was contained by firefighters using “hand lines from brush trucks that were able to drive into the drainage and flank the fire,” but in a letter to the editor which was published a few days later, a Wildridge resident said that wasn’t quite accurate.

“When the firefighters arrived, the Wildridge fire was already out … about 10 residents encircled and quickly contained the fire” using hoses, buckets of water and shovels, wrote Dave Petrowski of Wildridge.

“When the firefighters arrived, they only needed to put out hotspots,” Petrowski said. “I do thank all those yellow shirts for being there in our time of need, but they were not the ones who got the fire under control. They can be credited with putting the fire completely out, but if the residents had just watched the fire grow and did nothing, homes might have been lost by the time the fire department arrived.”

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20 years ago

May 18, 2003

A consortium of land management agencies and local units of government identified 336 acres of woods to be thinned or removed in an effort to protect structures against the threat of wildfire, the Vail Daily reported.

The high-risk areas included Deer Boulevard, Elk Lane and Whiskey Hill in EagleVail; the Forest Service compound in Minturn; Intermountain, Streamside, Davos, Chamonix and Bighorn in Vail; Bellyache Ridge in Wolcott; and Eby Creek in Eagle.

Quoting town of Vail Environmental Health Officer Bill Carlson, the Vail Daily reported that homeowner buy-in was an important component of the effort.

“The really key piece in this plan is homeowner involvement and education and participation,” Carlson said. “The government doesn’t have the resources to mitigate and do treatment on private property.”

The effort was part of the larger Vail Valley Forest Health Project, which “envisions a combination of intentional fires, tree thinning and even timber harvest on 2,000 out of a total of 65,000 acres of land astride Interstate 70 from Vail Pass to Edwards,” the Vail Daily reported. “It’s going to take a number of years to complete.”

30 years ago

May 21, 1993

Vail was selected to host the 1994 Alpine World Cup Finals, the Vail Trail reported.

“The Vail Valley Foundation will organize the finals, set for March 14 to 20, with the event following on the heels of the American Ski Classic, slated for March 9 to 13,” the Trail reported. “The finals will feature men’s and women’s races in the downhill, super-G, giant slalom and slalom disciplines. The event will also mark the first time this level of men’s ski racing has been seen in Vail since the 1989 World Alpine Ski Championships.”

Mike Beckley of the Vail Ski Patrol digs out one of the 12-foot posts that mark the chairlift mazes on Vail Mountain in this photo from the May 20, 1983, edition of the Vail Trail.
Vail Daily archive/Vail Trail

40 years ago

May 20, 1983

Vail Mountain planned to reopen for a “second season” of skiing on May 21 after closing for the season on April 10, the Vail Trail reported.

“With a 138-inch snow base at the summit of Vail Mountain, with 42 inches of new snow in town during May — 22 inches of it Monday and Tuesday — the people at Vail Associates decided this week to resurrect the ski season and give it a second run that will last through June 5,” the Vail Trail reported. “Vail Associates will open chairs 2, 8, 9 and 15 tomorrow, and plans to open chair 7 and the Lionshead gondola by Memorial Day weekend. Lift ticket prices will be $12 Saturday and Sunday and $8 during the week. Tickets will be sold at the Lionshead ticket office only; season passes and Colorado Cards will not be honored during the three-week second season.”

It was the first time in Vail’s 20-year history that the mountain reopened after closing, the Vail Trail reported.

50 years ago

May 18, 1973

The town of Vail projected a sizeable increase in group conferences planning events in Vail for the summer, the Vail Trail reported.

New groups coming to Vail this summer are the Colorado Association of Public Employees with 125 people expected, the Colorado Geological Society with 250 expected, the IBM Spectroscopy with 225 expected, the Colorado Broadcasters Association with 150 expected, the American National Cattlemen’s Association expecting 300, the American Psychological Association expecting 100, the American Society for the Surgery of the Hand expecting 300, and the Community Development Society expecting 700,” the Vail Trail reported. “Another important group returning to Vail this summer is the American Society of Travel Agents expecting 800.”

Using a figure called “people nights,” which multiplies the number of people in the group times the number of nights they will be staying, the Trail showed significant growth in Vail when compared to the previous year.

“May 1972 saw 13 groups with 1,750 people nights compared with May, 1973, with 22 groups and 3,381 people nights. June 1972 brought 48 groups with 7,348 people nights compared with June 1973 with 48 groups and 17,860 people nights expected. In July 1972, 51 groups came to Vail with 14,308 people nights. July 1973 expects 44 groups with 17,464 people nights.”

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