Vail, CO 1/2-3/00

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Vail, CO 1/2-3/00

Postby jkamien » Tue Apr 18, 2000 8:27 am

<I>(Note from the Administrator: This report was originally posted on 1/4/00. Due to our move to new servers, the date and time attributed to this post is incorrect.)</I> <BR> <BR>Day 4: <BR>Vail, 1/2/00 <BR>Celebrating the Millennium along with the occasion of my nephew and niece's visit, Leslie and I headed up to Vail on Jan 1. Ignoring Y2K fears, we booked a couple days' stay at The Antlers, a condo-plex near the Lionshead gondi that is very accommodating regarding our two dogs and cat that travel with us whenever possible. <BR> <BR>Fortunately, I had alerted my friend, "The Weather", about our plans and he arranged for it to start snowing in Vail around 6PM on the day we arrived. We hit the Lionshead gondi as it opened at 8:30AM, happily anticipating the 6" of freshies the amateur TV show hosts of "This Morning in Vail" were giddily announcing. Game Creek Bowl lift was next to get us to the top. I had an idea that the Back Bowls' Sun Down Bowl traverse to the skier's right boundary would yield wonderful untracked. Although there were some nice hits of ankle-deep fluff, the surface underneath was real crunchy and that choice turned out to be a poor one. <BR> <BR>After riding the #5 lift, Tori (niece) and Leslie (wife) decided they wanted to get on easier stuff, so Evan (nephew) and I decided to head towards Yonder Glade, which has always been rewarding for me. Here's where the goods were! <BR>Ankle-deep untracked with a less-crunchy surface underneath was heavenly. <BR> <BR>We missed our planned ride up the #17 lift when I decided that continuing past the cat track looked just too sweet. Riding up #5 again, Evan's Talkabout radio cackled to life with Tori asking where we were. (After three days listening to ski area walkie-talkie chatter, I've decided that the the number two most-used phrase on those things is "Where are you?". The number one most uttered phrase is, "What?") She announced that they were heading down China Bowl to #21, and we could meet them there. After a long traverse to Tea Cup bowl, Evan and I hit some real nice untracked ankle deep. On the ride up, we all decided an early lunch was in order, and we headed inside to the Two Elk Lodge. <BR> <BR>Two Elk Lodge was entirely rebuilt this past summer following it's demise due to eco-terrorist arson last year. The new structure looks just as impressive as the old one, with yard-wide natural timbers soaring skyward. I recommend this as your lunch spot if you ever ski Vail. <BR> <BR>Evan and I split from Tori and Leslie again, and we spent the rest of the day savoring the powdery bumps of the Highline (#10) lift. After that we basically just headed back to Lionshead, after a quick sampling of Game Creek Bowl. It takes a loooong time to get from the top of one side of Vail to the bottom of the other side! <BR> <BR>Day 5: <BR>Vail, 1/3/2000 <BR>OK, I think I can reasonably call this day "cold", without being criticized as a Western Whose. It was -8 degrees F at the top, with intermittent snow showers. The "Good Morning Vail" crew reported 3" fresh. Learning from the day before, we made the same trip to the top, but made the very long traverse to begin on Yonder Glade. *I* thought that the cover and snow was sublime, but the Evan and Leslie pleaded for an easier choice. It was Tori's day to rip, however, and we loved it. This time, we caught the #17 chair and then skied a fantastic line down into China Bowl. Again, about ankle deep untracked snow, but with a smooth not crunchy surface that was about the best run of the day. We all agreed that we were frozen, so we went into Two Elk for Hot Cocoa and cookies. It required at least 15 min for my toes to thaw! <BR> <BR>Given Tori's sweet turns of the morning, and Evan and Leslie's waning enthusiasm for the chilliness, we split again. Leslie and Evan headed to the front size, while Tori and I cruised into China Bowl again. Vail has at least two new lifts this year. TeaCup Express is between the #21 and the #17 in the Back Bowls and the lift that services Blue Sky Basin, the 1000 acre+ expansion that opens on Jan 6 (formerly known as Category III and the cause of last years eco-terrorism.. I had seen the TeaCup lift turning, and I had the bright idea of catching that out of the BAck Bowls instead of the #21. BAD MOVE! We didn't see the rope and we headed down a traverse to the bottom of that lift. When we got there, a liftie informed us that the lift was closed, and that we were stranded with not way out. I really felt like a total whose. However, following a short telephone call, the liftie promised us that Vail Ski Patrol would show up soon to give us a snow mobile ride out. About 15 min later, two of VSP's finest skied down and told us that they were expecting us there since they saw our tracks. They suggested we hike out (30-45 min). We told them we were waiting on a snow mobile. I asked how they were getting out. They said they'd probably hike, but then they turned and hopped on the Blue Sky Basin lift. Their backpacks were labeled "Explosives", so I assume they were off to bomb the new terrain in preparation of the Jan 6 opening. I wished we could go with them!!! <BR> <BR>About 10 minutes later, Peter from Auckland showed up on a snow mobile to ferry us out, exclaiming "No Worries, Mate" several times. Never underestimate the thrill of a 12 yr-old getting a fast snow mobile ride. Tori proclaimed the whole experience "Wicked Awesome", but I felt ridiculous being down there altogether, not to mention the loss of precious ski time. <BR> <BR>Tori and I proceeded to Highline and skied Blue Ox, a gentle bump run that Vail labels a double-black in a fit of over-rating not equaled anywhere, to my knowledge. It had really great snow on it and I'd have liked to do more. However, we were facing some tired legs on Tori along with a 3PM checkout time, so we packed it in and started the very, very long cruise down to Lionshead. <BR> <BR>So, all in all, Colorado has started to really get some snow now and the conditions are improving every day out here. <BR> <BR>P.S. Next up is the XTEAM CLINIC at Big Sky starting Friday, Jan 7. I can hardly contain myself!!!
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