Vail gets pounded by powder |

Vail gets pounded by powder

Edward Stoner
eagle county correspondent

VAIL ” Without hesitation, Tom Calvin declared this year’s snow the best

he’s seen in five seasons.

“It’s just endless powder,” said Calvin, who has skied about 60 days this

year so far. “I love it.”

Not only has the amount of snow been stellar, it’s been consistent, too,

coming in storm after storm, said Calvin, who works at Carl’s World Class

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“The first week in January, I skied eight days straight, and every day was a

powder day,” Calvin said. “I lost 11 pounds, and I’m not a big guy.”

After a warm and dry start to the season, Vail and Beaver Creek have racked

up two months of prolific snowfall.

At Vail Mountain, it snowed most days ‹ 24 of 31 ‹ in January. December and

January ‹ with 98 inches each ‹ tied for the snowiest month at Vail in seven


Beaver Creek had its snowiest December and January since 1996.

The season started off warm and dry, with Vail and Beaver Creek both

delaying their openings. Long-range forecasters, such as Klaus Wolter, a

Boulder-based climatologist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric

Administration, predicted lower-than-average snow, but they’ve been proven

wrong ‹ so far.

“This was a tough forecast for me,” Wolter said. “I’m glad it turned out the

way it did. It’s always better to predict dry and be wet than the other way


But Wolter said he still predicts a dry February and March.

Vail has seen a steady stream of storms, but a weather pattern usually does

not last the whole winter, said Nolan Doesken, Colorado’s state


“The next question is ŒWhat about the spring?'” he said.

Businesses are enjoying the big crowds that snow brings. Tom Ludwig, an

owner of Montauk Seafood Grill, said the Lionshead restaurant is having a

good year.

“Our numbers are definitely up, and I’d like to believe it’s the snow,” he


Vail’s snowplow drivers have been working overtime to clear the streets, and

additional contract workers were brought recently to help, too, said

spokeswoman Kris Friel. The town’s 60,000-cubic-yard snow dump is about

two-thirds full, she said.

Lou Meskimen, whose Thank You Masked Man Services plows driveways, said he’s

plowed more this year than he has in the last eight years. And the prolific

snowfall has made finding space for the white stuff more difficult, he said.

“We’ve just had to stack it a little neater and push it back farther into

the yards,” he said.

Meskimen said he’s been getting up at 4 in the morning and working till 8 at

night. That’s meant no time for skiing ‹ especially unfortunate for this


“I’m still trying to get up there,” he said. “What’s getting me flustered is

here it is great snow year and I haven’t been able to get up.”

Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 748-2929 or