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Holiday snow in store for Vail, Broncos produce lump of Christmas coal, Madoff money in Aspen
The skiing was good but frosty in Vail's Back Bowls over the weekend. Look for snow to fall and temps to rise in coming days.
By Dan Davis

Holiday snow in store for Vail, Broncos produce lump of Christmas coal, Madoff money in Aspen

By David O. Williams

December 22, 2008 —  We’re looking at some serious snow accumulations in the Vail Valley the first part of Christmas week, so if you’re hoping Mother Nature will gift wrap some great skiing for the holidays, you may be in luck.

Forecasts call for 2 to 4 inches during the day today (Monday), another 2 to 4 inches overnight and into Tuesday, and then another 4 to 6 during the day Tuesday. That’s means we could be in store for some significant snowfall-la-la-la by Christmas Eve on Wednesday.

An even better holiday gift? Temperatures are on the rise, with highs expected to be in the low 20s the rest of the week. I’ll take it.

On Saturday I got out for Day 8 of my 2008-09 ski season. After dropping my two oldest boys at Vail Devo (our excellent snow sports developmental team run by Vail Ski School), I headed up Chair 6 and tried to jump on Chair 11. It was apparently frozen and not yet running.

So I headed over the Chair 10 (now a new high-speed quad), warming up on a fairly soft Log Chute run on the way (padded by about 6 inches new overnight Friday). When I got on the chairlift I noticed the temp was hovering right around 2 degrees Fahrenheit.

Whatever. I experienced much worse as a kid skiing western Pennsylvania. And I never had anything like Highline – the run below me on Chair 10 – to ease the pain. I explored the trees on skier’s left on Highline, quickly finding that the snow was super soft in places and quite wind-blow, set up and firm in others. Again, beats the ice of Blue Knob in western PA.

A Whiskey Jack (the run, not a shot to fortify me that early, although it might have been a good call) and another frosty lift ride (Chair 11 had finally thawed out) and I was headed into the trees skier’s right on Wow in Sun Down Bowl.

There the protection of the flora had kept the snow nice and light until I broke into the open and back into the chop. Plus the wind was high and the visibility was low. Back to the front side and some of the best snow on the mountain: Spruce Face and 38, the run named for former President Gerald R. Ford that drops down right onto the Vista Bahn. And I called it a day. My frozen kids had to keep skiing.

So the good news is the snow will keep falling this week but the temps will be rising. A great combo.

Nothing, however, will heat up the Denver Broncos season of woe, especially not a trip to San Diego. Despite leading their division by three games with three to play, the Donkeys found a way to stumble at a frigid Mile High Stadium Sunday and now must play the Chargers in a winner-take-all contest for the playoffs.

The Broncos are a pretty bad – or at best mediocre football team – and one that really doesn’t deserve to be in the playoffs. They may shock us Sunday, winning another game they’re not supposed to while kicking away the easy ones, but I seriously doubt it.

And if they do win it’s for the right to get stomped in the first round by the likes of the Indianapolis Colts (for their third time in the playoffs this decade). No thanks, I’m skiing on Sunday.

Of course, things could be worse for our local sports franchises. Word is the owners of the New York Mets were caught up in Bernard Madoff’s alleged massive Ponzi scheme, and, according to the Aspen papers, a lot of people in Colorado ski country also may have been victimized.

The ripple effects of Madoff’s massive alleged fraud in which up to $50 billion of investors’ assets have disappeared are reaching all the way to Aspen, where Glitter Gulch’s large and wealthy Jewish community is reeling from the news. I’m betting there are some victims with Vail Valley ties as well.

According to the Aspen Times, many members of Aspen’s three Jewish congregations were victims of Madoff’s massive alleged fraud, which could have major implications for the ski town’s already reeling real estate industry.

While Aspen’s alleged victims were understandably tight-lipped and embarrassed about being caught up in Madoff’s web, according to the Times, it’s apparent that some big names are likely to surface as more details become available.

The paper reported real estate and media mogul Mortimer Zuckerman — owner the New York Daily News and the U.S. World & News Report — sold his Red Mountain home near Aspen for $9 million a month ago and may be one of Madoff’s victims.

A charitable trust controlled by Zuckerman may have been drained by the scheme.

“I never knew Mr. Madoff, never heard of him, and then last Friday I get the notice that the entire fund has been lost because of Mr. Madoff’s activities,” Zuckerman told Business Week earlier this week. “So, obviously, it’s going to affect the ability of this [charity] to do more things. Thirty million is a lot of money that I intended to spend for the welfare of others.”



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