Vail opening excitement: ‘Most epic season to date’ |

Vail opening excitement: ‘Most epic season to date’

Sarah Mausolf
Vail, CO Colorado
NWS Ski Season Optimism 1 DT 11-16-10

VAIL, Colorado – Excitement for Friday’s opening day is peaking in Vail, where snow has been blasting the mountain for days.

As the resort readied to open Friday with 1,150 acres of terrain, the mood around town was optimistic.

“It’s going to be the most epic season to date, by the looks of the snow,” 21-year-old Vail snowboarder Nikko Grambow said. “I’m hoping it just pounds us this winter. The snow Gods are shining on us.”

The fact that snow arrived late last year has people even more pumped up about the early snow here in Vail. Last year, skiers and snowboarders were confined to the Born Free run at the beginning of the season.

Vail Resorts has announced plans to run nine chair lifts Friday.

“Vail’s opening up so much more terrain this year,” Grambow said. “That’ll make such a big difference. Last year, with just the ribbon of death, that was pretty nasty.”

Vail Resorts received 13 inches Tuesday and Wednesday, and nearly 3 feet this past week, a resort spokeswoman said. A National Resources Conservation Service weather gauge on the mountain said the snow was 23 inches deep Wednesday morning. Those who have ventured onto the mountain say the snow is good.

“I’ve had buddies hike Mushroom Bowl already and they said it’s dope back there,” Grambow said.

Business owners in Vail Village say it’s huge that the Vista Bahn chair lift will be open Friday.

Dan McGinnis, rental manager for Christy Sports at the top of Bridge Street, said the lift will draw more customers to the store.

“It’ll be fantastic for our business,” he said. “We get very little business if Lionshead is the only area open because you have to take a bus over there.”

Likewise, people were already streaming into Buzz’s Boards this week in Vail Village to get their skis tuned or just say “hi.”

“The more snow that’s falling, the more people start thinking about skiing, so they’re coming in, getting their stuff ready to go,” ski shop manager Neil Conroy said.

While some people are getting ready to ride, others simply can’t wait for opening day. The diehards could be found hiking up the mountain this week and testing out the terrain.

One of them was E.C. Hoffman, a 29-year-old skier from East Vail. He hiked up Vail on Tuesday and tried out some of the runs.

“The snow was pretty good where there was a deep enough base,” he said. “It was about knee high with powder shots to the chest, which was a lot of fun. That made it worth it.”

Hoffman hopes to once again score first chair on opening day. He and his friends earned that honor last year after camping out overnight by the lift.

“I am very optimistic for this year, which I think will be in stark contrast to last year, with the El Nino system taking us out of the snow game,” he said. “This year we can expect many more powder days and, hopefully, some blue birds along with those.”

Staff Writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 970-748-2928 or

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