Vail Valley skiers rode powder all season |

Vail Valley skiers rode powder all season

Lauren Glendenning
Dominique Taylor/Vail DailyMark MacDonald takes advantage of the late season powder and the soft landings to jump of as much as he can on Vail Mountain. On Friday, Vail Mountain was reporting 418 inches of snow so far this season.

VAIL, Colorado “-The 2008-09 ski season kind of began last spring when Vail Resorts announced its new Epic Pass ” the deal was less than a third of the price of a season pass the year before, and hundreds less than a merchant pass.

Only time would tell whether the pass would draw in more daily visitors and crowd the mountains and parking lots at Vail and Beaver Creek as some worried it might.

As the season’s end approaches ” Beaver Creek closes tomorrow and Vail closes next Sunday ” worries of what the Epic Pass was going to do to the mountains are long gone. The only thing epic on people’s minds seems to be the powder.

“It’s been a really fun season,” said Jodi Link, of Avon. “As far as the number of ride days are, I’ve gone down, but the quality (of riding) has gone up because I had a ton of powder days this season.”

Link said her drop in days on the hill happened when there was a lull in snowstorms around February and March ” some locals just can’t be bothered with skiing and riding in anything less than several inches of new snow.

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But for guys like Chris Landgreve and Ryan Martin, both of Denver, the powder was plentiful throughout the season ” even when the locals were over it.

“I’ve skied before, but I never skied powder before so this has been a serious season,” Landgreve said. “It definitely took some practice, but it’s a blast now.”

Landgreve didn’t buy an Epic Pass, but he used up nine of his 10 days at Vail and Beaver Creek on his Colorado Pass.

“I’ll probably go Epic next year,” he said. “Vail and Beaver Creek are better mountains.”

As of Friday afternoon, Beaver Creek’s snowfall for the season was at 383 inches, when the average is 311 ” six feet above average, said Jen Brown, Beaver Creek spokeswoman.

“It was a terrific snow year with powder days from beginning to end,” Brown said.

Vail logged 418 inches of cumulative snowfall by Friday afternoon ” the annual average is 343.9 inches, said Liz Biebl, Vail Mountain spokeswoman. Biebl is optimistic the total snowfall could get higher by the time the mountain closes next weekend.

December and January had the light, fluffy snow that Vail and Beaver Creek are known for, then it tinkered off in February and March before dumping a heavier powder on the hills in recent weeks.

“There were ups and downs (this season),” said Derek George, of Avon.

George rode Beaver Creek Thursday on one of the more “down” days of the season ” the mid-morning conditions were crunchy and slick.

Link said at this time of year it doesn’t matter. You have to get out and make some turns before it’s all over in a week, she said.

“At the end of the season you kind of just have to ride whether it’s a powder day or not,” she said.

– Vail opened its remodeled Lionshead Ticket Office and Adult Snowsports School, located at the base of the Eagle Bahn Gondola and the Born Free Express Lift (Chair 8) in November. The upgraded space has helped better accommodate guests with ticket and pass sales as well as group and private ski and snowboard lessons, said Liz Biebl, Vail Mountain spokeswoman.

– Vail Mountain collaborated with the town of Vail and local merchants and lodging partners to launch Vail All the Love,, in December 2008, a community-wide promotional effort aimed at making it easier for Front Range guests to visit and enjoy Vail this winter through a custom Web site of exclusive offers

– the Ranch, the new kids’ ski school facility for ages 7-14, opened this season, complementing the beginner and kids experiences with the Buckaroo Express Gondola

– the Osprey Hotel completed a $7 million remodel

– the Westin Riverfront in Avon added direct Gondola access from the town of Avon to Beaver Creek

– the addition of the Lumberyard Terrain Park and The Rodeo Terrain Park

– launch of, a Web site that highlights the resort’s terrain variety, from Stone Creek Chutes to Talons Challenge runs to terrain parks to Royal Elk Glade

Source: Jen Brown, Beaver Creek spokeswoman

Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or

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