Vail mountain’s new Chair 5 High Noon Express is still being worked on (photo from 11/22/10). A sign nearby says that they’ll be opening in mid-December, so people are a bit worried and bummed. With some of the best early season snow in the last 6-7 years, everyone is ready to get in the Vail Back Bowls to hit the powder. Well, the lift isn’t ready yet, so what are we going to do !
It started me thinking what the old timers, such as Bert Farin (Antlers alumni) and our G.M. Rob LeVine would say. Apparently years ago, Chair 5 was shut down for an entire winter due to a broken bull wheel! I sent both of them an e-mail to see if they remembered the details.
“My first winter in Vail was 78-79. The next season I had moved to Jackson Hole and that was the year Chair 5 was shut down. So it was the winter of 79-80. If I recall, it had to do with the cable. I think they tried to add triple chairs to the old cable and it wasn’t safe, so the State shut down the lift for the whole season. I was in JH so it didn’t affect me, but I was thinking it would suck to be in Vail and not have access to the b.b. Ironically that was a poor snow season in both WY and CO, so maybe it wasn’t the end of the world. I should get double credit for knowing the history even when I wasn’t in town. Bummer about not having the lift ready to go. At least you still have access to China Bowl and Category III (see I am an old dude).”
Rob LeVine responds:
“Proving once again that my memory ain’t so good … I thought it was around 82 or 83. However, I totally trust Bert’s recollection. I do remember how bummed (and pissed) everyone was when it was finally announced, but Bert’s right … it wasn’t a banner year for snow, so it could have been worse.
Not surprisingly, there were folks who would ski down and then either ski out Two Elk trail, or hike back up … similar to the old stories about Pete Seibert and Earl Eaton. You know that “Forever” referred not to how long the run seemed, but to how long it took those pioneers to hike back out. I’m afraid I don’t recall much else.”
Well, hopefully we don’t have much more of a wait…