Another day, another opening |

Another day, another opening

Ian Smith
Vail, CO Colorado

I literally couldn’t sleep last night, and it wasn’t because of the Broncos’ nightmarish defense. That’s a column for another day.

I was excited for my second opening day in less than a week. This time, Beaver Creek cranked on its lifts for the first time.

Believe me, it’s rough when your boss tells you to go skiing and write about the experience. And to think, I actually get paid to do this.

How lucky am I? I have skied four times already since Nov. 21 ” Vail Mountain’s Opening Day. I probably skied four times combined in the 10 years before that.

Remember, I’m from Iowa.

Apparently, a lot of other people were also pumped to ride Beaver Creek on Wednesday. No more than a minute after leaving my car, I came across a group of snowboarders passing around a Mickey’s 40. The celebration starts early on opening day.

After skiing Vail Mountain for the past few days, I couldn’t wait to see what Beaver Creek had to offer. I stumbled upon one of the attractions right after I got off the lift ” The Lumberyard.

It looked like a lot of fun, especially if you enjoy knocking out your front two teeth or breaking your wrist after falling off a rail. Maybe, that’s just me.

Dozens of other people took advantage of The Lumberyard, pulling off some tricks I couldn’t even imagine trying. The daredevils’ efforts were worth at least 30 minutes of entertainment.

When I worked up the courage to head downhill, I found Latigo ” the only intermediate run open on Wednesday ” to be challenging. My legs jiggled like Jell-O after I completed my first run. That’s not a good sign when your skiing skills are about as good as Roseanne’s version of the national anthem.

On my second trip down Latigo, a buddy pointed out something even funnier. A mesh yellow sign warned skiers and snowboarders that their speed was being monitored by aircraft.

Ex-squeeze me? Baking powder?

This had to be a joke, right? Of course, I immediately looked skyward to make sure. There was no sign of any UFOs, so I continued my imperfect skiing.

My day ended with a few more successful runs (i.e. not falling down), before I called it quits. Less than 10 minutes later, I was home.

It’s still crazy to me that I live 10 minutes from Beaver Creek and 20 minutes from Vail. This is going to be a good winter.

Bring it on

Testing my athletic prowess ” or lack thereof ” skiing is one thing, but I want more. First and foremost, more terrain, then how about telemark skiing or snowshoeing? When it gets warmer, maybe fly-fishing, which I’m dying to try.

Basically, I want to challenge myself with different sports adventures, particular if they are unique to the Rocky Mountains. If it looks like fun, I’ll try it. And no, I won’t be skiing the Birds of Prey course, so don’t even ask.

If you, the reader, have any good suggestions for me to try, shoot me an e-mail. I’d love to hear your ideas.

Sports Writer Ian Smith can be reached at 970-748-2935 or

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