Vail Opening Day 2019: New experience, nice snow surface, uncrowded runs, longish lines |

Vail Opening Day 2019: New experience, nice snow surface, uncrowded runs, longish lines

Skiers and snowboarders get their first look at Vail's new snowmaking system

VAIL — A new early-season experience awaited guests Friday for Vail Mountain’s Opening Day, and the snow surface received rave reviews.

Skiers and snowboarders got their first look at Vail’s new snowmaking system; immediately noticeable were the 80 or so fixed location cannons lining the sides of the runs like trees.

Vail native Cesar Hermosillo, who boarded the first gondola up the mountain on Friday, said it felt like a whole new ski resort at both Vail and Keystone this season.

“Amazing what they got done over the summer,” he said.

Hermosillo was joined by Jennifer Natbony, Tyler Moore, Liz Westbrook, Thomas “Trailer Tom” Miller, Jeff Bosboom, Dr. Kelly White, Jason Waldman and Tuck Stafford.

While it was Hermosillo’s ninth “first chair” experience, and there have been too many to count for Trailer Tom, Stafford enjoyed his first in 2019.

Atop the Gondola, they were greeted by several open runs, both groomed and ungroomed. The terrain was serviced by Chair 4, and while lines backed up during the day, the runs themselves remained uncrowded as there were several to choose from.

Longtime local Steven Teaver, a beverage director at the Four Seasons, returned to snowboarding Friday after a long hiatus due to a broken elbow.

“Felt good to get back on the board,” he said.

Visiting from Texas, Eric Beauchemin said his group of six friends picked Vail to ski because it was open and located in a convenient location between their other two destinations of Aspen and Estes Park. He said they also found lodging to be more affordable than expected as the resort transitions out of offseason early this year. Beauchemin’s group toured the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness on Thursday, skied Vail on Friday and plan to visit the Rocky Mountain National Park on Saturday.

“This time of year is nice because you can ski and still do the parks,” he said.

Other skiers and snowboarders on Vail Mountain were awaiting more events throughout the weekend.

Visiting from Summit County, Zach Griffin said he was pleasantly surprised in the snow surface at Vail as it skied better throughout the day. After a long day of riding Vail, Griffin said he planned on participating in the Groove Silverthorne Rail Jam on Friday night in Summit County.

Longtime Vail snowboarder Bob Aubrey took time between runs at Vail to promote his new short film, “Trees,” which was set to debut at the Altitude Bar and Grill on Friday. The short film was shot in the Vail area and features log sliding legend Shaun Cypher.

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