Vail Daily 30th anniversary look back: 1999 |

Vail Daily 30th anniversary look back: 1999

Former President Jerry Ford welcomed the world when it returned to Vail for the 1999 World Alpine Ski Championships.

VAIL – A Colorado Court of Appeals ruled that the lynx is perfectly capable of saving itself, and we could all go skiing in Blue Sky Basin.

The judges gave the go-ahead after arsonists firebombed Two Elk restaurant and other buildings at the top of Vail Mountain.

There were several other protests. One man dangled himself from a 25-foot-tall tripod. Ten people were arrested on Vail Mountain for varying acts of civil disobedience. One called herself Sunshine. Her companion, named Moonblossom, climbed a tree marked for removal and refused to get out. It took crews 12 hours to remove her.

Another guy climbed into an overturned Audi with a hole cut through the roof and cemented himself inside. Firefighters had to cut through the concrete to get him out of the car.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Forest Service, those wild-eyed folks, said the expansion was fine by them.

The Colorado Division of Wildlife plopped 41 lynx down in the area. Nine died. The wildlifers said they’d be happy if less than half died.

Less than half did. We checked their math.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or

Jan. 28, 1999: They’re baaaack! The 1999 World Alpine Ski Championships filled the town with a sense of deja vu. “Weren’t we just here a few years ago? The opening ceremonies have a country theme, replete with cowboy gymnasts and country music. Leading the United States Ski Team into the arena were Vail’s own Chad Fleisher and Sarah Schleper. The ceremonies were moved back a day to Saturday night, so as not to conflict with the Broncos’ appearance in the Super Bowl.

Feb. 9, 1999: Ski Club Vail was honored as the top alpine ski club in the nation at the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association convention in Park City, Utah.

May 1999: The 1998-99 ski season is Colorado’s deadliest, as 12 individuals perish on the slopes, 10 of them on Vail Resorts ski areas. Although resort spokesmen refer to the high number of deaths as “a fluke” and blame them on poor snow conditions and speeding, VR institutes a number of measures to make sure it doesn’t happen again. A new mountain safety crew, known as the Yellow Jackets, is instituted at Vail and Beaver Creek, and merchants are asked to attend a safety awareness class before receiving a discounted pass.

Oct. 8, 1999: A wildfire in West Vail was sparked by an electrical line malfunction, and 125 emergency workers, from 15 agencies from around the region, some as far away as South Dakota, come to fight the small fire. Up to 100 homes were evacuated when the blaze came within 1,000 feet of some structures.

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