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

Its Starting To Look A Lot Like Christmas…..(Dec. 18-25)

The holidays in Vail can be a magical combination.  This year looks to be better than ever with Vail’s, week long,  Holidaze celebration.  The holiday activities include Snowman decorating, kids glow stick parties, and free concerts by Milkshake and Brady Rymer & The Little Band That Could.  Got a sweet tooth?  I hope so, because Brownies and Candy Canes will be given away at the base areas all week.  All these fun, family activities, along with some great early season snow, promise to make Vail “the place to be” this holiday season.

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.

These Are The Daze (Dec. 6-12)

It’s Vail… it’s Snowing…. and the Daze are growing shorter.  That must mean that Vail’s Snow Daze are nearly upon us.  This annual event kicks off December 6th and runs thru the 12th.  Activities include concerts, street and apres party’s,  and the return of the Dummy Demolition Derby.   A nice variety of top musical talent will bring sweet music to everyones ears.  Musical acts include Mix Master Mike(Dec. 9) at the Solaris, Dwight Yoakam(Dec. 10) in Vail Village, O.A.R.(Dec. 11) at Ford Park, and finally Weezer(Dec. 12th) at Ford Park.  The price is right too, as all of the shows are free.  So come out and help us celebrate the 2010/11 ski season in grand Vail style.  Check out the Vail Snow Daze website(www.vail.com\snowdaze) to get specific details and more info.

Vail Mountain expands its terrain for Closing Week

Can you believe it?! Vail Resorts sent out a press release yesterday reporting that portions of China Bowl, Tea Cup Bowl and Blue Sky Basin will remain open through closing day, Sunday, April 18th. The additional lifts open: Sun Up Lift (#17), Tea Cup Express Lift (#36) and Skyline Express Lift (#37). More than 3,600 acres of skiable terrain will be available beginning Monday, April 12th so what are you waiting for? Call the Antlers at Vail and book your stay with our “Snowball Special“.

Vail Mountain Powder (Photo courtesy of Vail Resorts)

~Aisha

Ask an Antler!

That’s right, I have unofficially decided that the singular title for an employee at the Antlers at Vail Condos is “Antler.” This is largely because I really like the alliteration it gives the title. But enough digression. I’m looking to bring you loyal readers a new regular column here on the blog. Not to compete with, but to supplement Ratz’s regular snow updates. I endeavor here to bring you a local’s insight into anything and everything Vail through interviews with our loyal and dedicated staff. First up is Amy Scherm, a 2 season veteran of the Antlers front desk and even longer Vail local.

Favorite Chair or Run on Vail: Chair 2.
Ed’s Note: She’s not exactly lying, but to really find out you’ll need to go skiing with her (and try to keep up).

Best Pizza: Old Forge Pizza. The garlic knots are the best.

Best Apres Ski: Garf’s. It’s got a good scene and plenty of TV’s to watch the game.
Ed’s Note: On a sunny day they have a killer deck too. And I suppose its there on a not sunny day. But its best enjoyed on a sunny day.

Best Fine Dining Restaurant: Lancelot. Great steaks, and great portions for the price.

Best Non-Skiing Activity: Ski Biking. Its fast, and its dark out.

Best Gear/Rental Shop: Ski Base.

Best Nightlife: Is it cheesy to say The Club?

Best Reason to Look Forward to the Snow Going Away: The activities: mountain biking, hiking, whitewater rafting… and the weather.

Best Reason to Go Downvalley: The movie theater (the only one within 20 miles of Vail) and Loaded Joe’s. Loaded Joe’s is great for morning coffee and drinks at night.

Anything Else? Best Lodging: Antlers at Vail

So there we have it, straight from the local’s mouth. Tune in again sometime soon when I will interview whoever else happens to be working with me the next time I remember to write one of these. In the meantime, if there’s anything you’d like someone’s take on next week, leave me a comment or drop me a line at rgray@antlersvail.com.

Amy dropping some cliffs.  Again…

Greg’s Delayed Ski Report

It’s Sunday, February 14th, Valentines Day.

Myself, Randi, Rob, Danny, and Lisa along with 4 friends from Ohio, 4 friends from Denver, Rob’s brother-in-law and nephew, and a couple thousand strangers went out to see what all the buzz was about on Vail Mountain.

Snow, and lots of it. The superlatives can not adequately describe how much fun this place can be after 3 days of dumping. Suffice to say, one of the best ski days of the year.

A few quotes from the gang:

Randi, with a huge smile and a gleam in her eyes said “The Forever run was the best of the season. I could have made it top to bottom, but I stopped to wait for all the other old people”.

Tim (Ohio buddy) said “I’m a lousy skier and Blue Ox was easy. I’m re-naming it Little Calf”.

Dave (Denver buddy) said “If it wasn’t for Vail, I’d be at home shopping for an inappropriate Valentines card. I love this place”.

As we stared down knee deep powder, Lisa said to me (for the 4the time) “Just let it go”. (This time I was determined to fall on purpose and make her wait).

Rob remarked “Has anyone seen my brother-in-law”?

The 2 o’clock picnic beside chair 5 was the ideal ending to a glorious day. The back-packs came out from under the trees and were undressed on the table. The typical ingredients were laid out for a mountain top picnic. Something to eat; hot dogs, chips, grapes, cheese. Something to drink; wine, sambuca, champagne, beer, brandy, and melted snow for hydration. Then Rob opened his pack and started grilling a couple of racks of lamb, garnished with goat cheese (I could make this stuff up but I’m not).

One more Forever run before the Bowls close and then in for the day. What a Happy Valentines Day. I hope everyone’s night was just as exhilarating. Personally, I called everyone I knew and left messages begging for a return call. I didn’t want to fall asleep on the couch at 7:15. I made it to 7:45.

That’s your Hallmark Holiday Ski Report.

Greg Z

Vail snow and ski conditions February 15

22 inches of snow in Vail Colorado over the last 7 days.  O.k., maybe that might not seem like much if you live in Washington D.C., but things are really soft around here and we have “hills” to play on.  Vail mountain reported 3 inches new today, but most of that came yesterday (Sunday) morning.  This is what the ski slopes (see the pictures) look like on a holiday weekend when you go up early.  They are empty.  I was up to Mid-Vail down Look Ma, then a run in Northwoods, back down the frontside and off the hill by 9:25.  Hardly anyone around.   But I’m sure there were some people out there around 10:45!  More snow predicted (and already on the radar) for tonight.  Even though it is a holiday week, if you are looking for a vail rental, the Antlers at Vail has a few One Bedroom condos still available.  Chris R.

Vail groomer
Quick pics up towards Kangaroo cornice

Vail snow

Looks like the groomers were busy last night