Howard: Entering the home stretch of a celebratory season
The second half of the winter season is always bittersweet for me. It’s so gratifying that our mountain and community teams have provided an outstanding experience through the Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year, MLK and President’s Day holidays. It’s bitter because I know we’re on the backside of another amazing ski and snowboard season in Vail.
When I reflect on the first half of the season, I’m reminded of what this community can do when we work together and focus on fun. I’ve met with numerous guests, community members (new and old), journalists and public leaders — and everyone seems to agree: this season has been incredible. From the mountain to the villages, with great snow and fabulous events, everyone has worked hard to successfully celebrate 60 years of Vail.
A big part of that celebration has been charting a course for what the next 60 years will look like. In my last column, I wrote about the importance of hosting the National Brotherhood of Skiers. This was a moment for Vail to shine and send a message that inclusion is the future of our sport. And I’m so proud that Vail showed up in a way that only Vail could.
The opening ceremony was a highlight for me, not only because of the energy and excitement brought by NBS club members but because I saw so many community members participating in the festivities with enthusiasm and smiles! I want to share a special gratitude to Mayor Kim Langmaid for delivering the Key to the City to Henri Rivers and NBS.
So, what’s next for the rest of the season? Well, we’re going to continue to operate this mountain with excellence. We’re preparing for a bustling spring break, music in the villages, and hopefully more snow. Our intent is for the mountain to start ramping down in April, targeting an April 23 closing date. I hope this provides you with the ability to plan for the spring ramp-down and some well-earned vacation time. With summer concert announcements and registration open for the GoPro Mountain Games, we know that summer is on the horizon!
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I felt a tremendous sense of pride with how our community leaders came together to navigate the past few seasons through challenging times, and I have even more pride and gratitude when reflecting on how our community has emerged with a renewed sense of fun. I also want to share my appreciation for the wonderful team I get to work with day in and day out on Vail Mountain. We couldn’t do it without their hard work and commitment. Our motto this season has been “the time to celebrate is always” and I’m looking forward to wrapping up a season full of celebration with all of you.
Beth Howard is the vice president and chief operating officer of Vail Mountain.