Winter weather returns to Vail Valley |

Winter weather returns to Vail Valley

Chris Outcalt
Beaver Creek, CO Colorado
NWS ski conditions KA 02-27-09

BEAVER CREEK, Colorado ” Massoud Khavari looked toward the sky and threw his hands in the air above his head.

“It’s snowing,” said Khavari, who lives in Breckenridge and is from Iran.

Khavari and two of his friends made their way over Vail Pass this week for a few days of skiing in Eagle County. Every time they’ve made the trip, the snow hasn’t disappointed them, they said.

“On a whole, I think this has been a better place (than Breckenridge),” said Khavari. “Every time we came here, the snow has been pretty good.”

Friday was no exception.

Khavari stood at the bottom of the Cinch Express Lift waiting for a friend before taking another run in the trees. He had a bandana sheltering his face from the snow that was dumping and blowing around the top half of the mountain.

By 11 a.m., Khavari’s friend Sean Dewitt already had several icicles dangling from his goatee. He didn’t seem to mind.

“If you jump in the trees where no one else is is the beautiful part about this,” Dewitt said. “Everyone stays on the groomers and you can drop in the trees ” we went in for 10 minutes, came back out and got fresh tracks from where we were just at.”

The chilly temperatures and steady snowfall on top of the mountain were a break from what has been a very mild February, said Joe Ramey, a forecaster with the National Weather Service.

And that trend will continue into at least the beginning of March, he said.

Temperatures today are expected to be in the 30s and could climb into the 50s on Sunday. The next chance for snow in the Vail Valley is Wednesday, when the mountains could get 4-8 inches, Ramey said.

Beaver Creek employees Greg Monks and Joey Peters had to close the Drink of Water lift Friday for a while because of the weather. But at least it’s snowing, Peters said.

“Yeah, it started seeming like people were thinking spring, but this is nice, finally,” Peters said. “It hasn’t been like this in a while.”

Dewitt said he wouldn’t be surprised if people have been giving up on winter sports a little the last few weeks.

“If you look halfway up the mountain there isn’t much up there,” Dewitt said. “The other half, where it’s supposed to snow, it is ” and it’s dumping.”

Joe Vaccarino chose Beaver Creek and this week for his first Western skiing trip and was excited about Friday’s conditions.

“It’s phenomenal,” Vaccarino said. “I thought it was pretty good yesterday, but I’m used to Northeast skiing, so I think anything is better than that.”

Despite a warm February, Vail Mountain is at about 115 percent of its average snow totals for the season, Ramey said.

“We’ve been running above normal since we got the good snow in December,” he said.

Beaver Creek has had about average snowfall for February and a little ahead of the mountain’s year-to-date average, said Beaver Creek spokeswoman Jen Brown.

Staff Writer Chris Outcalt can be reached at 970-748-2931 or

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