Vail ski mountain and the Antlers at Vail hotel are not done for the ski season just yet. We have over a another week to go and there isn’t a brown spot on the mountain. Even before the 3-4 inches of snow today, the base on the top of Vail mountain was 77 inches. Sort of sad we’ll be closing in Vail on April 24th. We could probably go until May 24th this year! Rest of this week, stay 3 nights at regular price and get the 4th, 5th and 6th nights free. Rates from $160 per night for a full Vail condo on the river.
Even though it is April here in Colorado (isn’t it April everywhere?), we still have lots of snow in the high country. The base up on Vail mountain near Mid-Vail is over 80 inches and more snow is expected this Sunday April 10th. Here are a couple of photos and a video from a recent back country hut trip to the Peter Estin hut near Vail Colorado that Chris Ratzlaff (Antlers at Vail Director of All things Big and Small) and Tom Schlader (Antlers Director of Preservation) did this past week.
Powder skiing near Vail, Colorado April 5th
Peter Estin hut about an hour drive (and then a 5 hour hike) from Vail
Video of us measuring the snow outside the Peter Estin Hut, we figured it was around 95-120 inches depending on where you measured
Group of Vail Backcountry skiers, the snow looks good.
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
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.
The skiing has been fantastic and more snow is coming this weekend on Sunday. Vail has a great base and the temps are staying cold making for some nice and dry snow.
Vail’s ski run ” Cow’s Face” is in the background
Skiing Headwall in Sun up Bowl
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 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.
“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…
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.
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 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.
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! So 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