Consider yourself lucky, Vail |

Consider yourself lucky, Vail

Ian Smith
Vail, CO Colorado

I spent Sunday night cleaning my golf clubs and dreaming of straight drives.

It seemed close to reality with temperatures in the 60s. I dreaded the thought of more snow ruining what looked to be an early start to the golf season.

Mother Nature had other ideas. She decided Vail deserved one last snowstorm, and she was right.

On Thursday morning, thoughts of green grass vanished underneath a mountain of white stuff, and I started singing a different tune.

“Let it snow!”

A group of friends and I predicted Wednesday night’s onslaught and dutifully woke up for first chair. It was the first time I accomplished such a feat.

In my first five minutes on the slopes, I heard screams of “who-hoo” and “yeah, boy” coming from my overly-hyper companions. I’m sure other skiers or snowboarders shouted similar phrases of joy.

See, that’s what I love about this place. Most people share a passion for adventure. It could be riding some fresh powder, climbing a 14er, or golfing 36 holes in one day.

It really doesn’t matter. As long as it’s outside, people are into it.

It’s also an easy conversation starter for people who would otherwise barely acknowledge each other. I can’t even count how many times I’ve heard people talking about what runs they went down or how good the snow conditions were.

For instance, in only a short time on Vail Mountain Thursday, we hit up Game Creek, Sun Down, Sun Up and then numerous other runs on the front side. Now, every local skiers knows exactly where we went.

People are so glued into their workouts, that Alex Rodriguez, the biggest star in Major League Baseball, can go virtually unnoticed at the gym except for one crazy Yankees fan (me). (For the record, A-Rod is on Jay Cutler’s side in the Broncos’ quarterback fiasco.)

Another thing I love are the diehards. The liftees are a prime example. I’m convinced they know more about the weather than Al Roker.

Then there’s that friend who always knows a secret tree run, or where there’s a powder stash. Everyone has one, and they are always eager to push the limits of the mountain.

These are the type of people that make Vail great. The snow helps, of course, but the people make this place.

In my home state of Iowa, people are more interested in watching “Grey’s Anatomy” than exploring their surroundings. That’s not a slight to the fine folks in the Hawkeye State. They just don’t have the natural beauty there. We’re the lucky ones.

Is it surprising that A-Rod would rather do his rehab here than somewhere else? Not to me.

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

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