I spent a couple hours Monday morning in Royal Elk Glade – my favorite part of Beaver Creek. A recent, multi-day storm cycle deposited 27 inches of thick, wet snow in the last three days, but overnight Sunday into Monday temperatures dropped into the 20s and made the snow lighter.
It was good and buttery back there, although I purposefully stayed away from the Alta Chutes, which could be dodgy given the weight of the recent snow. No need to get flushed into a terrain trap and go out in a blaze of glory this close to the end of the season – or at any point of the season, for that matter.
Royal Elk is accessed through a backcountry gate at the top of the Grouse Mountain Lift, and therefore there’s no snow control or ski patrol. You are on your own in the backcountry, even though the egress connects back to the base of the Grouse Mountain Lift.
Steep and heavily timbered, with a west-facing aspect, Royal Elk often stays light and fluffy, although low snow this season made for interesting conditions on gladed tree runs across Colorado. But still very nice to enjoy a powder day in nearly mid-April.
Hard to believe less than a week remains before the closings of both Beaver Creek and Vail on Sunday, April 15. Vail Resorts recently announced some closing day lift and time restrictions aimed at reducing the annual mayhem of drunken revelry (see press release below).
There may be even more pent-up aggression this season after some historically subpar snow totals. At Beaver Creek, 31 inches of new snow fell in the last week to finally got the resort over the 200-inch mark at 209, but it typically sees well over 300 inches by closing day and that’s not going to happen unless eight feet of snow falls in the next six days.
After a warm and dry middle of the week, there is some snow in the forecast for Friday and Saturday … but not eight feet. The massive two- and three-foot dumps just didn’t come this season.
“The next chance for snow will be from Thursday night through Saturday morning, and the northern mountains could get 6-12 inches from this system,” meteorologist Joel Gratz of Opensnow.com wrote Monday. “For that storm, my pick for the best powder is Saturday morning.”
That means things should be clearing up by closing day on Sunday, just in time for Spring Back to Vail’s annual World Pond Skimming Championships. There’s free music on Saturday as well, so go to the Spring Back website for all the details.
Meanwhile, here’s the info about Vail and Beaver Creek lift closures, followed by another press release about the deadline for renewing your Epic Pass. Enjoy.
Vail Mountain and Beaver Creek Resort Announce Lift Operations for Closing Day
VAIL, Colo. – April 9, 2018 – Beginning today, Monday, April 9, Beaver Creek Resort will offer skiing and snowboarding terrain in Rose Bowl and trails accessed from Centennial Express Lift (#6), Birds of Prey Lift (#9), and Grouse Mountain Express (#10). Vail Mountain will operate under a special schedule for the final day of the 2017-2018 ski and snowboard season on Sunday, April 15.
Skiers and snowboarders can enjoy spring skiing on terrain for all ability levels Monday, April 9, through closing day, Sunday, April 15, on the following lifts:
Spruce Saddle and the Beaver Creek Starbucks will be open for food and beverages through April 15. Private and group lessons will continue to be offered for children and adults through Beaver Creek Ski School through closing day, April 15.
For more information on Beaver Creek Resort updates and activities, please visit www.beavercreek.com.
Given the variable spring snow conditions and limited egress routes off the mountain, downloading early at the end of the day to get ahead of the crowd is strongly encouraged. In anticipation of the need to better accommodate guests for downloading, lifts will close to uphill traffic at the following times:
For closing day, off mountain egress routes will be available for expert skiers and snowboarders to Lionshead, Vail Village and Golden Peak. All guests – especially beginner and intermediate skiers and snowboarders – are encouraged to download Gondola One or the Eagle Bahn Gondola which will be available until Ski Patrol has swept the mountain.
Vail Resorts operates Vail Mountain under special use permit from the U.S. Forest Service and has made the decision to close these lifts early and to later close the mountain to the public on closing day. On Sunday, all operating lifts and decks will close for the season at 4 p.m. and public restrooms will close at 4 p.m. A series of air horns will play to signal the end of the season and the time at which guests are asked to depart.
U.S. Forest Service and local law enforcement officers will be on the mountain Sunday to help facilitate a safe end to the ski and snowboard season. Guests are expected to abide by the laws and rules of skiing and snowboarding and risk fines or arrest for irresponsible behavior and violations of federal laws. Skiers and snowboarders must continue to abide by the Colorado Ski Safety Act and “Your Responsibility Code” and observe all posted signs and closures.
Guests are reminded that using any ski lift or trail while impaired by alcohol or controlled substances such as marijuana is prohibited under the Colorado Ski Safety Act. Guests are also not permitted to ride lifts, ski or snowboard on Vail Mountain with open containers or exposed quantities of alcohol, coolers, suitcase-like carriers, barbeques, amplified sound equipment or similar items. One daypack per person will be permitted on closing day, provided the bag fits in a five-gallon container. Bags that do not meet the requirement are subject to search and will only be allowed if they contain no alcohol or controlled substances.
Inappropriate behavior that may jeopardize the experience of other guests is not tolerated. As in recent years, violators who are ticketed or arrested will lose skiing and snowboarding privileges for the 2018-2019 season. Those who disobey posted signs and closures or engage in other inappropriate behavior could lose skiing and snowboarding privileges for up to the entire 2018-2019 season.
Resort officials ask everyone for their continued cooperation with ski patrol and other Vail Mountain staff on closing day Sunday. For those picnicking on the mountain, trash and recycling containers will be provided. Skiers and riders are also reminded that variable late-spring conditions exist and are encouraged to descend or download early. Once Vail Ski Patrol sweeps the mountain, it will remain closed until summer operations resume in June.
For more information about Vail Mountain visit www.vail.com, stop by the Mountain Information Center in Lionshead or call (970) SKI-VAIL (754-8245).
And here’s some info on renewing your Epic Pass:
Purchasing the 2018-19 Epic Pass before Sunday, April 15, Locks in Guaranteed Lowest Price and 12 Discount Tickets for Family and Friends With Just $49 Down
BROOMFIELD, Colo. – April 9, 2018 – The Epic Pass is the only worldwide unlimited, unrestricted season pass that allows skiers and snowboarders to purchase a season pass next winter at the lowest guaranteed rate with just $49 down now. Purchasing the Epic Pass before Sunday, April 15 also provides skiers and snowboarders with 12 discounted tickets (“Buddy Tickets” and “Ski With a Friend”) to share with friends and family. Priced at $899 for the 2018-19 winter season, the Epic Pass provides access to 64 mountain resorts in eight countries and 11 states and provinces and remains unmatched in the mountain resort industry for the variety and value it offers skiers and snowboarders.
There’s never been a better time to be an Epic Pass holder. New for next winter, the Epic Pass will feature access to an additional 19 resorts around the world, including Telluride and Crested Butte Mountain Resort in Colorado; Hakuba Valley’s nine ski resorts in Japan; Resorts of the Canadian Rockies, including Fernie Alpine Resort, Kicking Horse Mountain Resort and Kimberley Alpine Resort in British Columbia, Nakiska in Alberta, Mont Sainte Anne and Stoneham in Quebec; Okemo Mountain Resort in Vermont; and Mount Sunapee Resort in New Hampshire, all in a long-term alliance.
Perks for Buying the 2018-2019 Epic Pass before April 15:
Additional season pass options and the Epic Pass Account Manager for new or existing pass holders can be viewed at EpicPass.com.