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Weather gods deliver deep, fluffy early holiday gift to Vail, Beaver Creek
This is what you'll get if you can make it out at Vail or Beaver Creek in the next couple of days. We're talking nearly 50 inches of new snow in the last week.

Weather gods deliver deep, fluffy early holiday gift to Vail, Beaver Creek

By David O. Williams

December 23, 2008 —  Santa just unloaded early on the Vail Valley, delivering more than a foot of fresh snow to Vail overnight and nearly a foot and a half to Beaver Creek.

Beaver Creek has received just under 50 inches in the last week, and Vail was right at 41 in the last week as of 5 a.m., Tuesday (Christmas Eve Eve). And as I write this at 6:45 a.m. Tuesday, it’s still snowing lightly outside.

I got up on the hill Monday afternoon for a few runs with my oldest boys, Nick and Max, who are out of school for the holiday break, and Day 9 of my 08-09 season was stellar. Vail Mountain is soft all over, with snow piling up throughout the afternoon as we skied.

By our last run down the front side of Vail at 3:40 in the afternoon, our tracks were filling in behind us and we could tell today (Tuesday) would be one of the truly special ski days of the young season. We’ve been dreaming of a White Christmas, but this is ridiculous.

Nick, 8, enjoying just his 10th day on a snowboard, was linking killer turns down blues like Avanti, Pickeroon and Ledges, occasionally riding switch and generally shredding all of that new snow. Max, 5, hit the first black-diamond of his young ski career, managing a few French-fry turns down lower Pickeroon without too much complaint.

Either one of them would be buried by our Monday night snowfall (powder-skiing skills aren’t really something they work on too hard in ski school at this stage), so Tuesday may be a sledding day for those two. If Nick wants to head up, I’ll insist it’s on skis because of his greater maneuverability on two planks versus one and his higher comfort level with something he’s been doing since he was two.

We’ll see, though, because you know what they say: No friends (and no kids) on a powder day.

Meanwhile, temps have been quite reasonable the last couple of days following a bitterly cold weekend. Highs have been topping out in the mid to upper 20s (so don’t try to use all of this snow to discount global warming).

Speaking of upward temperature trends, Denver waiter and avid skier Kristopher Klain is expanding on the time-honored ski-area tradition of charging huge sums for greasy food by propelling a vehicle with that grease and transporting skiers to the slopes.

Klain’s seven-passenger SUV is powered purely by vegetable oil from Denver-area restaurants, and his Colorado Green Shuttle company charges $400 from Denver International Airport to Vail, according to The Summit Daily News. Klain, 31, said that is competitive with other luxury, private-shuttle services.

“It’s really the simplest way I could think of to truly keep Colorado green,” Klain told the paper. “The environmental cost of a standard shuttle trip to the mountains is simply too steep, so I decided to create a low-impact alternative. It’s a way for eco-minded travelers to get up to the mountains and leave the smallest footprint possible.”

And if stranded by an avalanche on Vail Pass, just crack open the fuel tank before hungrily eyeing fellow passengers.

I know I promised to back off of local political news following the November election, but I just have to make a few final notes.
Beaver Creek Republican Ali Hasan spent more than $350,000 on his failed campaign for the state House of Representatives, according to newspaper reports — more than four times the amount spent by his Democrat opponent, Christine Scanlan.

Scanlan, recently tabbed majority whip, spent $84,540, according to The Vail Daily, and Hasan — who ran a flamboyant and some say over-the-top push for the House District 56 seat (representing Lake, Summit and Eagle counties) — spent $352,792.

The son of a managed-health-care pioneer, Hasan’s campaign was marked by months of bizarre twists and turns culminating in his slim victory in wealthy Eagle County but defeat in the more working-class mountain enclaves of Summit and Lake counties.

The Vail Daily noted that Hasan singlehandedly nearly outspent all other state and local candidates in Eagle County combined. He also may have set a new high-water mark for spending for state House races in Colorado.

Finally, the Daily article reported the final spending tallies for Eagle County commissioner candidates, including former Avon Town Council member Debbie Buckley. Nothing out of line in any of those numbers.

But I did want to draw attention to the fact that Buckley’s husband, Pete, has yet to update his Web site, since the election, which would seem to confirm my suspicions that it was merely an empty front designed to anonymously campaign for Buckley and other conservative candidates rather than, as it claims, serving as the “online home for the common sense voice in Eagle County.”

Besides, the first rule of Web is “update or get off the pot.”



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