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More than 2 feet of fresh snow at Vail, Beaver Creek as closing day looms

Vail Resorts curtails lift access, operating hours for closing days on Sunday, April 15

April 9, 2018, 3:29 pm
powder day at beav 2 040918

A barely touched stash of powder in Beaver Creek’s Royal Elk Glade on Monday.

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.

Beaver Creek

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:

  • Buckaroo Express Gondola (#1)
  • Rose Bowl Express Lift (#4)
  • Red Buffalo Express (#5)
  • Centennial Express Lift (#6)
  • Cinch Express Lift (#8)
  • Birds of Prey Express Lift (#9)
  • Grouse Mountain Express Lift (#10)

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:

  • 2 p.m. | ticket sales will cease for daily access
  • 2:30 p.m. Closing | Riva Bahn Express Lift (#6), Sun Up Express Lift (#9) and Sourdough Express Lift (#14)
  • 3 p.m. Closing | Gondola One, Wildwood Express Lift (#3), Mountaintop Express Lift (#4), High Noon Express Lift (#5), Game Creek Express Lift (#7) and Northwoods Express Lift (#11)
  • 4 p.m. Closing | Avanti Express Lift (#2), Little Eagle Express Lift (#15) and Eagle Bahn Gondola (#19)

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

  • The Epic Pass is the only worldwide unlimited, unrestricted season pass to offer a $49 down payment, with the remainder due in the fall.
  • Sunday, April 15 is the last chance to get the added benefits of 12 discounted lift tickets for family and friends.
  • The Epic Pass features access to 64 mountain resorts in eight countries and 11 states and provinces, including Telluride, Crested Butte, Resorts of the Canadian Rockies and Hakuba Valley, Japan.

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:

  • $49 Down Now, Pay the Rest Later. For a limited time only, a $49 down payment now guarantees the lowest price for Vail Resorts’ season pass products with the remainder due in the fall.
  • 12 Total Discounted Tickets for Family and Friends. Purchasing a 2018-19 season pass by Sunday, April 15, ensures that skiers and snowboarders will lock in the lowest price, combined with the most discount lift tickets for friends and family to use: Six “Buddy” tickets at a flat discounted rate for friends and family to use and six “Ski With A Friend” discounted tickets are offered with eligible season passes. April 15 is the deadline to receive all 12 benefit tickets with purchase of an Epic Pass.
  • Put Your Ticket Towards a Season Pass Purchase. New guests can also benefit from the Turn in Your Ticket program, allowing skiers and snowboarders to apply the cost of their day lift ticket toward the price of an eligible season pass for the 2018-19 season. Guests can bring their same-day lift ticket to a season pass office at any of the Vail Resorts owned mountains and put the value of the ticket towards an eligible season pass product.

Additional season pass options and the Epic Pass Account Manager for new or existing pass holders can be viewed at EpicPass.com.

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David O. Williams

Managing Editor at RealVail
David O. Williams is the editor and co-founder of RealVail.com and has had his awarding-winning work (see About Us) published in more than 75 newspapers and magazines around the world, including 5280 Magazine, American Way Magazine (American Airlines), the Anchorage Daily News (Alaska), the Anchorage Daily Press (Alaska), Aspen Daily News, Aspen Journalism, the Aspen Times, Beaver Creek Magazine, the Boulder Daily Camera, the Casper Star Tribune (Wyoming), the Chicago Tribune, Colorado Central Magazine, the Colorado Independent (formerly Colorado Confidential), Colorado Newsline, Colorado Politics (formerly the Colorado Statesman), Colorado Public News, the Colorado Springs Gazette, the Colorado Springs Independent, the Colorado Statesman (now Colorado Politics), the Colorado Times Recorder, the Cortez Journal, the Craig Daily Press, the Curry Coastal Pilot (Oregon), the Daily Trail (Vail), the Del Norte Triplicate (California), the Denver Daily News, the Denver Gazette, the Denver Post, the Durango Herald, the Eagle Valley Enterprise, the Eastside Journal (Bellevue, Washington), ESPN.com, Explore Big Sky (Mont.), the Fort Morgan Times (Colorado), the Glenwood Springs Post-Independent, the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, the Greeley Tribune, the Huffington Post, the King County Journal (Seattle, Washington), the Kingman Daily Miner (Arizona), KUNC.org (northern Colorado), LA Weekly, the Las Vegas Sun, the Leadville Herald-Democrat, the London Daily Mirror, the Moab Times Independent (Utah), the Montgomery Journal (Maryland), the Montrose Daily Press, The New York Times, the Parent’s Handbook, Peaks Magazine (now Epic Life), People Magazine, Powder Magazine, the Pueblo Chieftain, PT Magazine, the Rio Blanco Herald Times (Colorado), Rocky Mountain Golf Magazine, the Rocky Mountain News, RouteFifty.com (formerly Government Executive State and Local), the Salt Lake Tribune, SKI Magazine, Ski Area Management, SKIING Magazine, the Sky-Hi News, the Steamboat Pilot & Today, the Sterling Journal Advocate (Colorado), the Summit Daily News, United Hemispheres (United Airlines), Vail/Beaver Creek Magazine, Vail en Español, Vail Health Magazine, Vail Valley Magazine, the Vail Daily, the Vail Trail, Westword (Denver), Writers on the Range and the Wyoming Tribune Eagle. Williams is also the founder, publisher and editor of RealVail.com and RockyMountainPost.com.

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