7 Reasons to End Your Ski Season at Vail

Closing Day is coming fast, April 14th at Vail, and it’s time to decide where to end it all. I know where I’ll be and here are a few reasons why.

It’s Vail
Not only is it a world class resort but Vail- the second largest resort in North America- has plenty of runs left, no matter how withering the spring sun has been to the snowpack. You may be skiing corn, but there is plenty of it. The crowds are way smaller than regular season too. At least they were until some idiot wrote a blog about it.

Last year I skied with Elvis, Captain America, Marilyn Monroe and Spider Man, all on the same run. No, I wasn’t drinking. Okay, yes I was, but I swear they were all there along with a gaggle of gorillas, a bunch of bikinis, both male and female varieties, along with a convent of Nuns. The nuns were a bit un-nerving due to my parochial school flashbacks, but it was all good as they were wielding ski poles and not rulers. The costumes come out as the season draws to a close. So do the crazies, myself included.

The Weather
The last few years didn’t come through, but normally the spring thaw means sunshine, blue skies and t-shirt skiing. Last year the snow was awful but this year is shaping up to be a great one. Unfortunately when describing me the former is true, but not the latter.

The Parties
The hardest decision for me is rather to attend the World Pond skimming Championships at the base of Golden Peak or the 4 at 4 party on closing day. My first year up a friendly fellow on the lift invited the wife and me to a party at the top of lift 4 at 4 o-clock. We decided to take him up on his offer and were surprised to find a couple thousand crazies at the top of the mountain. Make that a couple thousand plus two. This is an annual tradition, though not officially sanctioned like the Pond Skimming Championships. Recent Pond skimming highlights include Olympian and World Cup skier Jonny Moseley back-flipping across the water in 2008 and adaptive skier Marine Cpl. Daniel Riley skimming last year while seated on his mono-ski. Recent 4 at 4 highlights include, uhhhh, it’s a bit of a haze.

The Concerts
Vail puts on quite a show every year. From Snoop Dog to Chris Isaak, Kid Rock to Grace Potter they’ve had it covered. Whether like me, you watch Grace in a snowstorm or blow off Snoop for the bars, the town will be rocking. This year Vail brings O.A.R, Sublime and Jimmy Cliff in for free shows. Of course, you’ll have to mortgage your house to drink beer, but the shows are free.

The Freebies
Okay, I know they’re not worth that much, but folks are crazy for freebies. I watched a lady (I use that term loosely) grab about twenty pairs of cheap sunglasses and thirty beer cozies right before I got to the table. Luckily they had boxes and boxes more. My buddy who will remain nameless (mainly due to a pending lawsuit after naming him last time) grabbed so many bags of free Beef Jerky last year he still has some left in his ski bag. There are lots of sponsors with plenty of freebies handed out, as long as you don’t mind opening bite-sized bags all season.

The Deals
Condos are cheap. Okay I guess, “cheap”’ is relative. Let’s go with, condos are cheap for Vail. It’s the end of the season so bargain with condo owners. It’s worth whatever price you pay just to ski with Elvis, Marilyn and me. The drinks go down cheaper as well. Garfinkel’s and other establishments offer $3 you-call-ems on certain closing weekend nights to clear out their liquor inventory. This means you could be drinking Jamison’s or Patron for $3. Now may be your best chance to buy me that drink for giving you these tips.

Michael Ryan