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Flakes keep falling on Vail, Beaver Creek this holiday season

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December 26, 2018, 10:12 am
Nick Williams sends it off a rock in Vail’s Prima Cornice area earlier this week.

Even the Grinch left home alone in the White House, stewing because Santa didn’t leave a border wall under his tree, wasn’t able to put a damper on the festive holiday season in the Vail Valley, where all we want for Christmas is snow, snow and more snow.

In my last post, I noted that several more inches of fresh fluff were in the forecast, and once again the Snow Gods delivered with a low-level powder day on Christmas Eve and another storm heading into valley Wednesday night. I also riffed on what celebs were in town for the holidays.

Actress Kate Bosworth will reportedly ring in the New Year here in the Vail Valley, and another actor (and comedian) to keep an eye out for locally is the great Eddie Murphy, who apparently is a somewhat frequent visitor. I’ll keep my ears open for any other celebs in town this season and pass along any deets.

The O Zone by David O. Williams
The O. Zone

They’ll likely have some more soft snow to ride on Thursday as forecasters call for a few more inches overnight Wednesday, followed by very cold temps into the weekend and then another storm on New Year’s Eve. Be sure to go to the Colorado Daily Snow for in-depth forecasting.

Thus far this season, Vail has received more than 10 feet of snow (131 inches) and Beaver Creek is approaching the 10-foot mark with 112 inches. That puts us a little above average at both resorts and well ahead of the abysmal snow levels at this stage of the past two ski seasons.

There haven’t been any truly monster dumps so far this season – no two- to three-foot poundings of powder over one or two days. But we’ve had lots of little five- and six-inch storms rolling through every few days, and that’s kept the mountains soft and very skiable.

All of it adds up to a ski season that’s remarkably ahead of where we were at this time last year, with the Back Bowls still closed and snow riders ranging far and wide to find something resembling a typical Vail snow year. For instance, I headed all the way up to Whistler for the holidays last season.

No need this season – and that’s been a blessing – but climate change is a consideration these days, and Vail is hedging its bets by moving forward with increased snowmaking. Under a new plan, Vail will up its snowmaking capacity 52 percent to 686 skiable acres, or more than the entire skiable surface of Aspen Mountain (676).

On the topic of Whistler and climate change, Allen Best’s recap of a battle between the Canadian resort town and its neighboring fossil-fuel-producing companies is worth a read on his Mountain Town News site. Seems oil and gas producers don’t like to be scolded when the tourism industry should be shouldering its fair share of carbon-spewing blame.

Which brings us full circle to the Individual 1 in the West Wing who’s doing his best to Scrooge us all this holiday season. My 12-year-old, who loves to ski and still believes a little bit in Santa (no thanks to the orange Grinch), asked the jolly elf for some concrete climate-change solutions for Christmas. He knows better than to ask the climate-change-denier-in-chief.

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David O. Williams

Managing Editor at RealVail
David O. Williams is an award-winning freelance reporter based in the Vail Valley of Colorado, writing on health care, immigration, politics, the environment, energy, public lands, outdoor recreation and sports. His work has appeared in 5280 Magazine, American Way Magazine (American Airlines), the Anchorage Daily News (Alaska), Aspen Daily News, the Aspen Times, Beaver Creek Magazine, the Chicago Tribune, the Colorado Independent, Colorado Politics (formerly the Colorado Statesman), Colorado Public News, the Colorado Springs Gazette, the Colorado Independent (formerly Colorado Confidential), the Colorado Springs Independent, the Colorado Statesman (now Colorado Politics), the Daily Trail (Vail), the Denver Daily News, the Denver Post, the Durango Herald, the Eagle Valley Enterprise, the Eastside Journal (Bellevue, Washington), ESPN.com, the Glenwood Springs Post-Independent, the Greeley Tribune, the Huffington Post, the King County Journal (Seattle, Washington), KUNC.org (northern Colorado), LA Weekly, the London Daily Mirror, the Montgomery Journal (Maryland), The New York Times, the Parent’s Handbook, Peaks Magazine (now Epic Life), People Magazine, Powder Magazine, the Pueblo Chieftain, PT Magazine, Rocky Mountain Golf Magazine, the Rocky Mountain News, Atlantic Media's RouteFifty.com (formerly Government Executive State and Local), SKI Magazine, Ski Area Management, SKIING Magazine, the Summit Daily News, United Hemispheres (United Airlines), Vail/Beaver Creek Magazine, Vail en Español, Vail Valley Magazine, the Vail Daily, the Vail Trail and Westword (Denver). Williams is also the founder, publisher and editor of RealVail.com and RockyMountainPost.com.

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