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Vail Closing Day 2013 (Kind of)

April 19, 2013

Last Sunday,  locals and visitors came together to celebrate Closing Day at Vail and many of the surrounding ski areas.  Then the next day 2 feet of snow fell, and Vail (along with a few others) announced that they will reopen April 19-21.  As awesome as that is, there can only be one true Closing Day in a season, and I’d say we celebrated it in style.

(Side Note: I had a great time this ski season – you can read about some of my favorite days here, here and here.)

Closing Day is a great excuse for a party, and we do it up right.  Vail hosts Snow Daze, a week of events and concerts.  This year’s concerts included O.A.R. on Friday and Sublime with Rome on Saturday.  I was super excited about Sublime and went to the concert for a little while, until I left defeated by a wicked combination of crowds, a migraine and icy cold rain.  If I’d had the stamina to stay I’m sure it would have been awesome though!

Sublime Concert

Somehow this photo managed to capture the way the lights at the show looked through my migraine haze… some painfully bright and some oddly blurry.

No matter, I went home and rested up for the main event on Sunday – Closing Day at Vail and Beaver Creek.  Beaver Creek is much more of a family friendly mountain and doesn’t encourage the kind of shenanigans that make closing day at Vail so much fun, so naturally my friends and I planned to make a day of it at Vail.  One of my good friends who lives in Vail hosted a brunch party on Sunday morning.

Closing Day Brunch

Everyone brought something to eat or drink, and the scones and cinnamon rolls in particular were out of this world.  And the Bloody Mary bar…

Bloody Mary Bar

Oh, the Bloody Mary Bar.

Bloody Mary

I had such a great time eating, drinking and chatting that when the time came to gear up and head to the mountain I honestly wasn’t ready to go.  I’m glad nobody was waiting on my schedule, because it naturally only got more fun once we hit the hill.

Closing Day Ski

We took a few runs as a group and the snow was phenomenal.  It had snowed something like 10 inches overnight. (I know what you’re thinking – Why didn’t we go up earlier?  It’s April, people.  A brunch party sounded so much more appealing than an early powder day at the end of a long season… Try to understand!)  Anyway, the snow was awesome and we took a few runs as a group.

Closing Day Life Line

I don’t usually drink and ski and am a pretty horrendous skier when I’ve got a ginormous Bloody Mary and a couple scones in my belly, so it was probably a good thing that we stopped after only a few to join the craziness that is 4 at 4.  4 at 4 is a Vail Mountain tradition in which people gather at the top of Chair 4 around 4:00 p.m. (when the lifts stop running) on Closing Day to hang out and party for a while before skiing down.  It was my first time partaking in 4 at 4 and it was quite a scene!

4 at 4

Keep in mind that everything you see here is happening at 10,000+ feet.  There was a DJ and hundreds of people hanging out, most of them drinking smuggled booze.

4 at 4

Plenty of throwback ski suits/gaper onesies/fartbags.

4 at 4

Quite a few snowball fights and people being tackled left and right.

4 at 4

Way more people dressed like penguins than you’d ever expect to see in one place.

Penguin Party

And beautiful mountain views as far as the eye could see.

4 at 4

It was hands down one of the most unique parties I’ve ever been a part of.  After a couple of hours hanging out up top, we skied (very carefully) down to the village and went to Vendetta’s for beer and pizza.  Town was absolutely packed and the atmosphere was as festive as it had been up top.

I don’t know what the atmosphere will be like this weekend on the mountain and have plans to be out of town so I won’t find out first-hand.  I can’t imagine that it will be anything like the last – if anyone can party like that two weekends in a row, I’m just impressed.  And a little scared.  But for one weekend it was an awesome time and the perfect way to send off a killer season!

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