Vail on rails |

Vail on rails

Stephen Lloyd Wood
NWS Golden Peak4 12-27 CS

Get ready to free-ride.

Vail’s terrain park at Golden Peak is gettin’ ready to rumble.

The Jib Park – with as many as 10 rails, including the 40-foot School Bus Rail and the 6- to 7-foot high Double-Barrelled rail – has been open since Christmas Day; and the famous half-pipe, this year to have 18-foot walls, is being blown, shaped and carved as you read this story.

“We’re blowing lots of snow on the half-pipe,” says Brian McCartney, vice president of mountain operations.

Crews are working as temperatures dip below and above freezing while snow showers come and go.

“Given the weather, we’re on as good a schedule as possible,” McCartney said.

Mornings at Gold Peak lately have been fully operational as far as snowmaking is concerned. Substantial improvements were made over the off-season this year to the snowmaking system there and that should become evident once weather and technology come together this week, when the half-pipe is expected to go online.

Meanwhile, many jibbers have been practicing their trade above Lionshead, at the Bwana Terrain Park.

Jason Lance of Eagle-Vail, a free-skiing pro and new member of the Vail Freeride Team, says he’s looking forward to riding the half-pipe at Golden Peak.

“I’ve spent a few days at Keystone already this year, and they’ve got something going on over there,” says Lance, who’s been hanging around, waiting for full-tilt action. “At Golden Peak, once you get over the fear of how high the walls are, you really can get into the transitions.

“It’s all about confidence,” he adds.

John Burlingame and Ryan James came recently to Vail from Summit County. The two riders have plied their passion several times in terrain parks already fully open for business at Breckenridge and Keystone.

“Everyone else seem to have their parks fully open,” says James.

“It’ll be really nice when Vail gets its half-pipe open, adds Burlingame.

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