Vail Daily letter: And so it begins |

Vail Daily letter: And so it begins

Skip Thurnauer
Vail, CO Colorado

I awoke on a recent morning to a rumbling noise. Was it a neighbor hauling trash to the curb for the Honey Wagon or thunder? A second deeper rumble was followed by a flash of lightning. Thunder. It was raining hard when I looked out the kitchen window a few minutes later.

My plans to bike Vail Pass were more than dampened; they were extinguished. Quickly a backup plan came to mind – ski A-Basin. I checked out the Arapahoe Basin website. Eighteen-inch base, check; one lift operating, check; two trails open, check; 2 percent of terrain open, check.

Knowing well that conditions would be less than perfect, I dug out ski gear packed away last April. Epic Pass in hand, I loaded up the car and headed off for A-Basin. I was encouraged by the light but solid dusting of white covering the mountains as I drove over Vail Pass, my intended bike destination just a few hours earlier.

It was still spitting snow when I pulled into the slushy, wet A-Basin parking lot. Parking just a couple rows from the front of the lot, I was quickly out of the car, into my ski boots and off to the one operating lift. I moved through the short lift line quickly and, within minutes, was riding up the Black Mountain Express lift for a cruiser run down Exhibition.

A few runs later, skis on my shoulder, smile on my face, I was headed back to the car. The skiing was about what you might expect with an 18-inch base and only 2 percent of the terrain and one trail open for skiing (open trail 2 was the terrain park) – suboptimal.

But the news, the good news, is that the 2012 ski season is officially on. Skiing in October: Thanks, Epic Pass!

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