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Broncos' collapse frees up Sundays for skiing as New Year brings new snow to Vail, Beaver Creek


Broncos' collapse frees up Sundays for skiing as New Year brings new snow to Vail, Beaver Creek

By David O. Williams

January 5, 2010 —  If you were smart like me last Sunday, you gave up on your favorite NFL team – even if it’s playoff bound – and headed up on the closest ski mountain for some (finally) quality powder turns.

I determined that no matter how the Denver Broncos did, win or lose they didn’t deserve the opportunity to get waxed in the wildcard round of the playoffs. In fact, after the last four years of truly atrocious second-half slides, I’m convinced that as the skiing gets better, the Broncos get worse … so why bother (with the Doncs that is, not the skiing)?

In what was only Day 9 of my 2009-10 ski season (I’m a self-confessed foul-weather skier who only goes out on bone-chilling powder days), I headed up on Vail Mountain with my wife and all three boys and had a blast in the lingering two feet or so of fresh snow that’s fallen in the last week-plus.

We returned home just in time to see the Broncos completely collapse in the fourth quarter, giving Broncomaniacs everywhere no reason to hold out any hope for next season. But at least I felt vindicated in not wasting any more time on them this NFL season and going skiing instead.

It’s been a super-slow start to the ski season so far, so I’ve been biding my time and waiting for El Nino to slink off into the bowels of the Pacific Ocean and open the snow spigot on the Central Rockies. That’s finally started happening with a nice blast of new snow New Year’s Eve and another storm over the weekend.

Now forecasters are calling for another front to move in tonight and give us a shot of mid-week powder (sans holiday crowds) at Vail and Beaver Creek. I’ll leave the projections to my RealVail colleague, the Powder Predictor, but have heard anywhere from 4 to 10 new by Wednesday depending on which forecast you believe. That would be enough to really put the mountain over the top in terms of nice, soft, mountain-wide coverage.

With the dryer, colder snow we get here, and our overall higher altitude than most resorts in North America, a 30- or 40-inch base can hold us over in hopes of a un-El-Nino-like mid-winter and spring of good snow.

Despite fast starts the last two seasons, March has not lived up to its billing as our snowiest month, so it would be great to see that trend reversed, especially since I’m going to spend February in Whistler for the Winter Olympics (by the way, the 2006 Games in Italy marked the last time the Broncos made the playoffs. In an Irish bar in Torino I watched Jake the Snake blow it in the AFC Championship Game to the Steelers, but at least the Doncs made it that far. Where are you now Shanny and Jake?).

Anyway, Whistler so far has had tons of snow -- 200 inches or so in November alone -- but it’s that coastal snowpack that doesn’t hold up as well as our continental powder (see my ongoing debate with a West Coast skier in the comments after my last blog entry). My sources in Whistler, which, make no mistake, is a great mountain, tell me it’s been typically soggy at the bottom but great skiing up top.

We’ll see when I get there early next month. In the meantime, I’m hoping for some deep, light and fluffy pow days at Vail before heading up to the Great (Wet) Northwest.



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