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Vail COO says terrain will be limited for Friday’s opening due to warm fall weather

November 10, 2021, 2:55 pm

Vail Mountain will open on Friday as scheduled, but, due to a warm fall and limited snowmaking opportunities, there won’t be a lot of skiable terrain, and snow riders will likely have to download on Gondola One.

Beth Howard

“Until we get colder temps we’ll probably be downloading on Gondola One. So it’ll be Gondola One, Chair 4, couple of runs, and then download, and then as we get more [colder] temps we’ll start to connect the dots and get snow egress down to our villages,” Vail Chief Operating Officer Beth Howard said at the Vail Symposium’s State of the Vail Valley on Wednesday.

Those “couple of runs” will be Ramshorn and Swingsville above Mid-Vail, Howard said.

Vail did receive four inches of fresh snow overnight Tuesday into Wednesday, with more in the forecast for Thursday, but it wasn’t enough to allow for top-to-bottom skiing after a warm, balmy fall.

However, Howard added things can change quickly, and Vail’s new snowmaking system can rapidly transform the mountain when temperatures drop.

“Snow fell on Tuesday night with totals coming in around 2-5 inches by Wednesday morning,” Opensnow.com meteorologist Joel Gratz wrote on Wednesday. “From Wednesday midday through Thursday midday, we’ll see light additional accumulations. Then on Thursday night, the northern mountains should receive a quick shot of 2-6 inches of snow with soft conditions on Friday morning. After that, our next chance for a storm will be around the middle of next week.”

Howard also outlined Vail Resorts’ COVID-19 protocols for this coming ski season, which will see far fewer restrictions than last season:

On Thursday, Vail Resorts issued the following press release on the opening of both Breckenridge and Vail on Friday:

Following the successful kickoff of Vail Resorts’ winter operations at Keystone last month, Breckenridge Ski Resort and Vail Mountain will welcome skiers and snowboarders back to the slopes on Friday, Nov. 12. This kicks off Breck’s 60th Anniversary Season, while Vail will host the Biggest Opening in Colorado throughout the entire opening season.  


On Friday, Breck will officially kick off its 60th anniversary season with skiing and riding at the base of Peak 8 on approximately 50 acres. The free BreckConnect Gondola will begin running for the season at 8 a.m. for access up to Peak 8, and the resort will open for skiing and riding off the Colorado SuperChair and 5-Chair beginning at 8:30 a.m. Guests will have access to the Springmeier and 4 O’Clock trails. 

The winter season gets underway in true Breck style with high-energy fun including music from the Breck DJ Cat, free waffles and a celebratory first chair banner break. The resort will celebrate #60yearsofBreckall winter long from Opening Day through Memorial Day.  

“I am so stoked to be kicking off my first winter season here at Breck during the resort’s 60th anniversary season,” said Jody Churich, vice president and chief operating officer at Breckenridge Ski Resort. “We can’t wait to get the party started here on Opening Day at Peak 8, and to carry that energy throughout the season across our Five Peaks and right on through Memorial Day.” 

NEW Freedom SuperChair, Coming Soon 

In addition to celebrating its 60th anniversary this season, the resort will also debut a brand-new high-speed chairlift on Peak 7, the Freedom SuperChair. The new lift is located on the north side of Peak 7 and will run alongside the existing Independence SuperChair to provide another way to access terrain on the popular peak. The new lift will be a game-changer for Peak 7 and the resort’s interconnected, peak-to-peak experience. The new lift is expected to open in early Dec., as soon as terrain on Peak 7 is ready to open for the season. Across Vail Resorts, the company is investing $120 million into capital investment projects this year to transform the guest experience, and another $320 million next year. Terrain expansions at Beaver Creek and Keystone, new lifts, restaurants and more will greet guests this year and next across Vail Resorts’ 34 North American resorts. 

Signature Events Return to Breck 

Following the pause of events in 2020, the Breckenridge community is thrilled to welcome back some of its most cherished winter traditions, including the Lighting of Breckenridge and The Race of the Santas, Dec. 4; the quirky and fun signature festival to pray for snow, Ullr Fest, Dec. 9-12; and the Breckenridge International Snow Sculpture Championships, Jan. 24-Feb. 2, 2022.  


Thanks to Vail’s industry-leading snowmaking system and over 35 inches of natural snowfall, Vail will open with over 70-acres of terrain with access from Gondola One at Vail Village.  Celebrate the season with free music, free food and the official Cutwater Opening Day Après Party at the Express Lift Deck near Gondola One, featuring free Cutwater tastings.  

Throughout the entire opening season, Vail is pleased to welcome back fan favorite events like Revely Vail Nov. 19-Jan. 2, Vail Snow Days Dec. 3-4, and Powabunga Dec. 9-12. In addition to an exciting line up of events, Vail Après is back and better than ever. After a long day on hill, kick back and relax at 4 p.m. every day with Signature Specials throughout Vail’s quaint villages. Memories are made on hill and reminisced about during #VailAprès. This will be an opening season to remember! 

“Excited is an understatement,” said Vail Mountain vice president and chief operating officer Beth Howard. “Thanks to the hard work of our mountain operations team and our significant snowmaking system, we’re able to open a week earlier than last year.”  

Guests will have access to over 70-acres of trails on Opening Day from Swingsville and Ramshorn. Vail Mountain will continue to make snow with its state-of-the-art snowmaking system as weather and conditions permit, working to expand terrain and open more trails for guests to explore and enjoy.  


Opening Day Mountain Dining at Breckenridge Ski Resort & Vail Mountain 

As skiers and snowboarders work up an appetite, on-mountain dining will be open at:  

·         Breckenridge – Ski Hill Grill, TBar, Vista Haus and Sevens. 

·         Vail – Express Lift in Vail Village Mountain Plaza, Mid Vail at the top of Gondola One, and Buffaloes at the top of Mountaintop Express (#4).  

Guests who would like to sit down to dine can book their table through the Time to Dine platform on the EpicMix app– a convenient way to book mealtimes, so guests can enjoy skiing and riding without worrying about the lunch rush. Please remember that face coverings are required indoors at all times, except while actively eating and drinking, and proof of vaccination is required to enter cafeteria-style establishments.  

Access to Breck, Vail and Other World-Class Resorts all on one Epic Pass 

Epic Pass products are now on sale for a limited time this early season, offering the best deal in the industry for skiing and riding, offering a variety of options for every type of skier and rider. 

Winter Safety Protocols  
Breckenridge Ski Resort and Vail Mountain are committed to doing everything we can to keep guests and employees safe. With the core of the ski and snowboard experience taking place outdoors in vast mountain settings, this season our COVID-19 Safety: Know Before You Go protocols are focused on indoor spaces. Specifically, indoor cafeteria-style restaurants will require masks and proof of vaccination for guests 12 and older this season. All chairlifts and gondolas will be loaded at normal capacity to facilitate guest movement around the mountain. Learn more about these safety measures for the 2021-22 season here.   

Early Season & Uphill Access 
Please be reminded that early season conditions exist. Breckenridge Ski Resort and Vail Mountain require skiers and riders to observe all posted signs and warnings. Closed trails may contain hazards due to limited natural snow coverage and snowmaking operations. For the safety of all guests, please keep off closed trails and out of closed areas.   

Uphill access is currently closed at both resorts during the early season due to snowmaking operations and limited terrain. The resorts will provide an update when uphill access is open for the season. Guests are reminded to familiarize themselves with uphill routes and safety guidelines ahead of the season and to always call the resort Uphill Access Hotline before accessing the mountain. For more information on the resort’s uphill access policy, guidelines, designated routes and Uphill Access Hotline number, visit the Mountain Info page at Breckenridge.com and Vail.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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