Vail Mountain boss: No ski season extension
VAIL, Colorado Despite record snowfall over the past two months, Vail Mountain will close as scheduled on April 13. Dave Chapin would like another week.Chapin, an owner of Vendettas restaurant in Vail Village, asked new Vail Mountain operations chief Chris Jarnot if the company had given any thought to prolonging the season at Tuesdays monthly meeting of the Vail Chamber & Business Association.Weve talked about it, Jarnot said. But the early Easter really evaporates our destination demand by April 13.Jarnot said Vail Resorts will try to bring skiers to Vail in the four weeks the mountain is open beyond Easter with several special offers.Of all the Vail Resorts-owned ski areas in the region, only Breckenridge will stay open past April 13, Jarnot said, and that mountain will close April 20.Jarnot was at the meeting of Vail business owners and managers to introduce himself, answer questions and talk about some of the short- and medium-term plans for Vail Mountain.Jarnot grew up in the Vail Valley, graduated from Eagle Valley High School, and has worked for Vail Resorts his entire adult life. He moved to the Front Range about 18 months ago when the company moved its corporate offices to Broomfield, and will move his family back to Eagle County now that hes in charge of Vail Mountain ski operations. After driving to Vail the past couple of seasons, Jarnot said hes keenly aware of the resorts parking problems. The town and resort company need to work closely to improve whats now one of the biggest hassles for skiers, he said.Vail Boot & Shoe owner Steve Rosenthal said that people trying to park on their way to Beaver Creek are greeted and directed to where they need to be. That should happen at Vail, he said.We absolutely need to do a better job communicating to our guests, Jarnot said. He added that the resort companys planned EverVail project west of Lionshead will take care of some parking, but that the resort company and town have a lot of work to do on skier drop-off and other problems getting skiers from their vehicles to the lifts.Skiers will see several new lifts over the next few years, Jarnot said.The first of those lifts is Chair 5, the High Noon lift. The company is planning to replace the three-seat fixed lift there with a high-speed quad. That new lift could be ready by the 2009-10 ski season, Jarnot said. The company has already heard complaints that putting more people on the High Noon lift could spoil whats now a soft snow patch in the area. I dont buy that, Jarnot said. I feel strongly that this is the right thing to do for our guests. While Jarnot is all for a better, faster, High Noon lift, he said improvements in Sundown bowl now being discussed by company officials might have an in-house opponent. Those improvements which are more than five years away, Jarnot said might harm the soft snow skiing in Sundown.I think I might agree with that, he said.Other planned improvements include a sit-down restaurant that takes reservations at the top of Nigh Noon. That restaurant could seat as many as 300 people.Vail Resorts is also working with Ski and Snowboard Club Vail on improvements to the race area near Golden Peak.The bottom line is that our investment continues in Vail, Jarnot said. Well put a lot of our own money on the line.