Finally some sun in Vail for the Back Bowls

After an incredible couple of months with snow and more snow, we finally have some sun.  Vail’s Back Bowls are in excellent condition.  Enjoying the views.  And Vail mountain is extending its operating hours this coming weekend.  

Beginning Friday, Feb.18, Vail Mountain will move to its full spring operating schedule at which time the majority of front side lifts will close at 4 p.m.; the Sourdough Lift (#14) will close at 3:30 p.m. Lifts and terrain in Game Creek, Sun Up, Sun Down, Tea Cup, China, Siberia, Inner and Outer Mongolia Bowls will also close at 3:30 p.m. Blue Sky Basin’s Skyline Express Lift (# 37) and Earl’s Express Lift (#38) will close at 3 p.m. and Pete’s Express Lift (#39) will close at 2:45 p.m. Lift operating hours are posted at the base of all open lifts.

View of the Back Bowls from the top of Blue Sky Basin

Cow’s Face

Vail’s Yonder

Vail groomers are trying to keep up on Vail mountain

Lots of snow this past week and it started snowing out again this morning (Friday).  In the last 7 days Vail mountain has received 40 inches.  256 inches so far this year.  The Vail groomers have been particularly busy trying to keep up.  The Antlers is filling up faster than ever with the recent snow so we are sorry if we are sold-out for your dates.  Call soon as the Antlers condominium/hotel is still offering 15% off for select dates when you stay longer five nights or more.   

Vail’s Chair 5 High noon express opening Friday Dec 10th

Here is the latest press release:  Incredible news, Vail’s newest high-speed quad chairlift, the High Noon Express Lift (#5), also known as “Chair 5,” is set to officially open for the season on Friday, Dec. 10 at 9 a.m. The long-awaited lift boasts a ride time of six minutes, just half that of the fixed-grip triple chairlift it replaces. With the opening of the lift and surrounding terrain, Vail’s skiable acres will climb to 5,000 on Friday. 

To celebrate the lift’s debut, guests are invited to gather at the top of the lift for complimentary cookies, hot cocoa and commemorative lapel pins while supplies last. Long-time Vail local’s Pepi and Sheika Gramshammer’s inaugural ride up the High Noon Express Lift (#5) will kick off the opening of the High Noon Express Lift and surrounding terrain at 9 a.m.

 “There is nothing on earth like Vail’s Back Bowls on a powder day, and with 70 percent more capacity and half the ride time of the old lift, the new Chair 5, will allow our guests to move quicker up and around the mountain and get even more out of their days,” said Chris Jarnot, senior vice president and chief operating officer of Vail Mountain.

 The legendary Back Bowls have been part of the ski scene since Vail opened in 1962 with only a gondola out of the village and two chairlifts, including the original lift out of the bowls. The area surrounding the new High Noon Express Lift (#5) is made up of Sun Up Bowl on the east side and Sun Down Bowl on the west with High Noon Ridge standing between and sweeping vistas of the Colorado high country that made the Back Bowls famous amongst skiers and snowboarders worldwide. Pepi himself was amongst the first to ski the terrain prior to its public opening in December 1962 and will be eternally linked to the long and infamous trail “Forever,” which he skied with Vail pioneers Dick Hauserman, Bob Parker and Morrie Shepard before the lift was installed, remarking that he thought it would take them “forever” to hike back out.

 Manufactured by Leitner-Poma of America, the High Noon Express Lift (#5) will improve skier and rider circulation in the Sun Up and Sun Down areas and will also provide an alternate route for guests moving west from the top of the Teacup Express Lift (#36) at the end of the day. The new lift increases Vail’s uphill lift capacity to 59,092 people per hour.

Chair 5 rides up that ridge straight ahead, picture taken from Sun Down Bowl looking East towards High-noon Ridge

Vail Back Bowl drama Chair 5

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.  

Bert responds:

“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…

Chris Ratzlaff

Vail’s Opening Day Will be Gigantic!

We have received nearly 3 feet of fluffy snow in the last week!

Vail Mountain has announced the mountain will open on Friday, November 19th at 9:00 am with 1,150 acres of skiable terrain and 9 lifts.

The following lifts and portions of terrain in these areas will be open

Avanti Express Lift (#2)

Wildwood Express Lift (#3)

Mountaintop Express Lift (#4)

Game Creek Express Lift (#7)

Born Free Express Lift (#8)

Northwoods Express Lift (#11)

Little Eagle Lift (#15)

Vista Bahn Express Lift (#16)

Eagle Bahn Gondola (#19)

Opening day celebrations include complimentary hot cocoa and $1 breakfast burritos at the base of the Eagle Bahn gondola with many other samples and giveaways. There will also be a free concert by Front Range Duo Big Gigantic at 3:30pm in Vail Square. Don’t forget the Antlers is offering a smoking deal for opening weekend with Studio and 1 Bedroom condos at just $168 a night.

Vail ski season opener, Antlers at Vail lodging $168

Vail ski mountain opens with at least one run (we hope for more!) on Friday November 19th.  Snow is expected most of this week, so we are keeping our fingers crossed.  For opening weekend, the Antlers at Vail lodge is offering a Vail lodging special $168 rate on all Studio suites and One Bedrooms.  They all have mountain views and a full kitchen.  There will also be giveaways and a band, called the Big Gigantic, in Lionshead opening weekend.

Snow falling on Antlers

With the snow finally falling this morning here in Vail and Loveland Mountain and A-Basin opening this weekend, I think it’s safe to say the winter ski season has begun! Snow on The BattleSo get out your skis and boards and gear up! If you know you are going to ski or ride more than 7 days this season there is still time to get an Epic Pass , it is the best deal, and if you have to travel to get here there are some great specials out there. Vail Snowdaze has an amazing lineup this year with some good hotel specials and you can’t beat free concerts! Vail is also introducing a new family oriented festival called Vail Holidaze, from December 18th to 25th.

There is still time to recieve “Book By November 1st” specials here at the Antlers

Blizzard Ski and Snowboard Sale!!

August 13th-15th only!  Get up to 70% off great items like skis, snowboards, goggles, jackets, etc.  I got a great deal on some new snowboarding pants from Burton, which I was in dire need of.  I would have bought lots more, but my husband told me I couldn’t spend any more money because I already had too much :(

There were tons of buckets of beanies, goggles, gloves and base layers.  If you are in the valley are are in need of ski gear to get you ready for the winter, I’d hurry to the Lionshead Village (only 150 yards from us at the Antlers at Vail) and start shopping the sales!  Most of the retail shops are having a great sale on their apparel too!

They are also GIVING AWAY 2010-2011 Vail/Beaver Creek Ski Pass, gift cards, and much more.  The sale begins at 10am on Friday, August 13th and continues through Sunday, August 15th

See you roaming the sidewalks!

Vail Blizzard Flyer 09_8 5×11

The Antlers at Vail walk to the ski lifts and gondola, with the world’s best polka song!

So many guests and possible guests at the Antlers at Vail condominiums ask us “how far are you to the Vail ski lifts?”, “are you ski in and ski out? “, or “how long does it take to walk to the Vail gondola?”.  Well check out the video below of a head cam perspective (and the best polka song in the history of the world) of our short 150 yards walk to the ski lifts and Vail ski school.  It’s easy and maybe even fun!