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Despite staffing challenges brought on by the surging COVID-19 pandemic and lack of housing, Vail Mountain is nearly three-quarters open for snow riders who can expect a decent shot of new snow this week.
Vail on Tuesday was reporting 69% of its terrain open, with 219 of 317 runs and 22 of 33 lifts. Beaver Creek on Tuesday was a little behind that pace, with 63% of its terrain open, 107 of 169 runs and 18 of 25 lifts.
The even better news is that both resorts have surpassed 100 inches of snowfall so far this season, with Beaver Creek at 107 and Vail at 117. Season averages are more than 300 inches for each resort by the time lifts shut down in April.
But bear in mind that last season both Vail and Beaver Creek barely hit 200 inches of seasonal snow, so they’ve both more than halfway there in early January.
On tap for the rest of the week, the National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for Wednesday morning through Thursday morning, with up to a foot of new snow possible.
Of course, all the recent fresh snow — dating to mid-December — means things are very dicey in the backcountry. As of Tuesday morning, the Colorado Avalanche Information Center rated the level of danger in the Vail and Summit County region as “considerable”. A big slide was recently reported in the East Vail Chutes, with no injuries or fatalities.
Here’s that weather alert issued on Monday:
GORE AND ELK MOUNTAINS/CENTRAL MOUNTAIN VALLEYS- INCLUDING THE CITY OF VAIL 837 PM MST MON JAN 3 2022
…WINTER STORM WATCH IN EFFECT FROM WEDNESDAY MORNING THROUGH THURSDAY MORNING ABOVE 8500 FEET…
* WHAT…HEAVY SNOW POSSIBLE ABOVE 8500 FEET. TOTAL SNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF 6 TO 12 INCHES POSSIBLE WITH LOCAL AMOUNTS UP TO 18 INCHES. WINDS COULD GUST AS HIGH AS 50 MPH.
* WHERE…GORE AND ELK MOUNTAINS/CENTRAL MOUNTAIN VALLEYS.
* WHEN…FROM WEDNESDAY MORNING THROUGH THURSDAY MORNING.
* IMPACTS…TRAVEL COULD BE VERY DIFFICULT. AREAS OF BLOWING SNOW COULD SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCE VISIBILITY. A DETAILED MAP OF THE SNOWFALL CAN BE FOUND AT: WWW.WEATHER.GOV/GJT/WINTER.
PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…MONITOR THE LATEST FORECASTS FOR UPDATES ON THIS SITUATION