Mountain games and fresh snow collide on Vail’s busiest day of 2022

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Cars line Vail’s Frontage Road on Thursday. Frontage Road has been very busy in recent days, with cars pouring out of structures and onto the street almost every day for the past week. The busiest day of the year in Vail, by car count, was Saturday.
John LaConte/Vail Daily

VAIL – Vail reported fresh snow five consecutive mornings Tuesday through Saturday, Feb. 22-26, and cars filled parking structures and spilled onto Frontage Road the most often.

Many students across the country had several days off from school for the Presidents’ Day vacation, and a winter version of the popular Mountain Games in Vail also drew out-of-town guests.

The result was the busiest day Vail has had so far in 2022, according to the city of Vail’s car count.



The pair of busy weekends began on Thursday, Feb. 17, when Vail’s two parking lots filled up and 359 cars spilled onto the frontage road. Another 400 cars lined Frontage Road on February 18, and on Sunday February 20 and Monday February 21, cars also lined Frontage Road.

On Wednesday, 243 cars lined Frontage Road, Thursday it was 546 cars and Friday, 654 cars were parked on Frontage Road. The highest fallout total for 2022 was recorded on Saturday with 655 cars. On Sunday, 303 cars were registered.



The City of Vail was able to respond quickly, with Vail Transit operations manager Jordan Winters saying the city was able to bus customers from Frontage Road locations miles from Vail’s transportation hub every 5 to 10 minutes.

“We are very fortunate that even with the national driver shortage, we are still able to provide a high level of service,” Winters said. “Running the buses on peak days on Frontage Road stems from years of staff experience in handling major events, forecasting snowfall, having excellent mechanics to keep the buses running and presence of an incredible team of bus drivers ready to step in and help at short notice. note.”

Improved mountain games

Josh Ernst of Breckenridge traveled to Vail to compete in the Winter Mountain Games fat bike race on Sunday.

“For the first time I came here, I really enjoyed it,” he said. “I would definitely come back.”

The Vail Valley Foundation says this year’s Winter Mountain Games was a preview event that didn’t receive as much marketing and activation as a full event, but the test event grew. well enough to give the green light to the Winter Mountain Games again for 2023.

Chloe Lutgring of Glenwood Springs also traveled to Vail to compete in the Mountain Winter Games. She participated in the fat bike race with her father, Hans.

“Fat biking in the winter is the best thing you can do to be ready for mountain biking in the summer,” Lutgring said.

EagleVail’s Josiah Middaugh competed in the fat bike race, bootlegger ski boot race and snowshoe race. A former national snowshoe racing champion, Middaugh was beaten by his son, 18-year-old Sullivan Middaugh.

Middaugh said he hopes to see the Mountain Winter Games return next year.

“It’s a fun event that attracts great competition,” he said.

EagleVail’s Josiah Middaugh will compete in the Winter Mountain Games fat bike race on Sunday. Middaugh said the event drew good competition from across the state.
John LaConte/Vail Daily

Event calendar

Tom Boyd of the Vail Valley Foundation said the Mountain Winter Games are most likely scheduled for 2023.

“In 2023, all systems are working,” he said. “When exactly, however, is another question.”

Boyd said there were two ways to look at the timing of an event like the Mountain Winter Games. This year, the decision was made to hold the event the weekend immediately following President’s Day, to capitalize on the crowds that were likely already in town.

“When it’s one of the busiest weekends of the year, the goal isn’t to bring in more people, but to improve the experience for people who are already there,” said Boyd. “But if you do it when it’s not one of the busiest weekends of the year, you have more leeway for the TV crews, journalists and athletes who come to participate. “

Boyd said one possibility for a less busy weekend for the Mountain Winter Games would be in early February, but organizers will need to discuss with their partners what makes the most sense for everyone involved.

“We’ll see where we land on the timing,” Boyd said. “But the Mountain Games definitely sound like it has to be done again for next winter.”

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