Vail’s ready to ride |

Vail’s ready to ride

Lauren Glendenning
Vail, CO Colorado
Dominique Taylor/Vail DailyJeff Bailey, left, his dog, Clyde and Kelli Baliey, right, get ready to skin up Vail Mountain for some exercise Thursday in Lionshead the day before Vail Mountain opens for the ski season.

VAIL, Colorado –The day has come that virtually everyone in the valley waits for every year – Vail Mountain’s opening day.

Anxious skiers and snowboarders were streaming in and out of the season pass office in Lionshead Thursday to pick up their passes. The Born Free trail, the only ski run scheduled to open Friday, might have mostly man-made snow on it, but that didn’t stop the excitement among locals.

Sarah John. said she was in the neighborhood Thursday so she figured she’d pick up her pass. She said she bought a few new things for the season, including a new jacket that she said she didn’t really need.

“You can’t just look exactly the same all the time,” John said. “The fashion (of skiing) is kind of unavoidable.”

Pat Barrett, a Vail local, said he’s been doing some general ski training to get physically ready for the season. He said his girlfriend, Meredith Morris, was taking it a step further – her and some friends have had a personal trainer give a ski conditioning class in their garage once a week.

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Getting into shape is something that pays off for locals, especially on the first power day. Fitness centers around the valley have been offering ski conditioning classes for weeks in order to build up muscle, endurance and enthusiasm for the ski season.

Local John Gruszynski said he’s been exercising as much as possible in the last month. He’s also been watching a few snowboarding movies to “try to get amped up,” he said.

Guy Rounthwaite, a Vail lift operator from England, picked up a new snowboard and boots for this season and has been to Keystone to practice a few times. For work, he’s been waking up early and running through the lift procedures with trainees and other operators at Vail.

As the Born Free Express lift and the Eagle Bahn gondola operated Thursday, ski patrollers set up gates and other ski signs along the trail in preparation for opening day.

Liz Biebl, spokeswoman for Vail Mountain, said the early-season snow conditions were about normal this year.

Rounthwaite, along with every skier and snowboarder who visits Vail, said he’d be waiting for the snow to fall and couldn’t wait for some powder.

For now, though, Born Free will have to do.

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

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