WATCH: Ravinos carry on their inverted tradition at Vail |

WATCH: Ravinos carry on their inverted tradition at Vail

Crowds enjoy ample snow amid the show

The Ravinos extreme lifestyle club performed stunts for crowds on Northstar run on Thursday, carrying on a St. Patrick’s Day tradition which dates back to the early ’70s in Vail.

With heavy snow falling at times, the club found excellent conditions this year on their favorite feature, a gap nicknamed the Wailer.

Large crowds gathered to watch skiers and snowboarders perform inverted maneuvers in homage to an earlier era when inverts were banned on the mountain and clubs like the Ravinos became outlaws in performing flips on St. Patrick’s Day.

Ravinos President Rob Bak performs a flip of the Wailer in Vail on Thursday. In doing so, Bak carries on a tradition dating back to the early ‘70s in Vail.
John LaConte/Vail Daily

Today’s Ravinos are a throwback to that era, said Buzz Schleper. Schleper considers himself second-generation Ravinos, with his son, Hunter, a third-generation flipper.

Hunter Schleper wore his green Ravinos patch on Thursday, with a green patch representing a successfully executed double flip in the rock-laden terrain.

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Third-generation Ravinos staple Ryan Cole took two attempts at a green patch on Thursday, and found success in the double backflips themselves, but was unable to ride away clean. Cole said he was feeling the energy of the moment and had to try.

Ryan Cole performs a double backflip off the Wailer in Vail on Thursday. Cole was attempting to earn a green Ravinos patch.
John LaConte/Vail Daily

A “Wail for Dale” celebration ensued for recently deceased community member Dale Lee, who was well known and beloved by all.

Colleen Okolski flipped the gap to her feet to pass the initiation test. On Thursday, she joined the select few females who’ve pulled off the stunt to earn a patch and become an official member of the Ravinos.

Colleen Okolski attempts a backflip off the Wailer in Vail on Thursday.
Dave Pleshaw/Courtesy image

Seven new members were initiated – first names Colleen, Colin, Adam, Max, Kevin, Dylan and Ian.

Ravinos President Rob Bak and Vice President Dave Pleshaw told new Ravinos a memorable story of seeing Jeff Van Tassel, the Ravinos’ original president, skiing Vail years ago.

A Vail Trail image from 1979 by Joe Lewandowski.
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Van Tassel, Pleshaw said, was excited to see the younger generation carrying on his tradition.

“He told us one thing,” Bak said. “Keep it classy.”

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