EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado - Last year at this time, Vail Back Bowls were nearly bare, and the spring runoff had begun. This year, no one is wondering how Vail Mountain will stay open until closing day.
A combination of better-timed snow - although not much more snow than last season - along with cooler early-spring temperatures has left both Vail and Beaver Creek with most of the resorts' skiable terrain still open.
In a statement last week, Vail Resorts Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Vail Mountain Chris Jarnot wrote that "keeping virtually the entire mountain open is an enormous thank-you to our passholders for a great season."
Bolstering the existing conditions, which local residents have described as anywhere from "fine" to "great," the state's mountains are set to receive one more solid blast of snow.
The National Weather Service is forecasting between 3 and 7 inches of snow for Vail Tuesday. Meteorologist Joel Gratz of OpenSnow.com forecast between 5 and 10 inches for the state's mountains, but also wrote that some areas could see more or less than those totals.
Cool temperatures will help the snow stick around a while, too. According to the National Weather Service, Vail's daytime high temperature won't get back into the 40s until Friday.
This particular storm system is expected to bring a little bit of everything to just about every part of the state. In fact, tornadoes are forecast for parts of the state's eastern plains.
The prospect of new snow coincides nicely with the Spring Back to Vail activities planned for the last weekend of the season.
"Snow always helps business," said Matt Carroll of the Double Diamond Ski Shop in Lionshead. "Whether it helps much in the last week of the season ... we'll see."
Carroll said he expects a big storm could bring some Front Range skiers looking for a last wintry weekend.
In Vail Village, Yeti's Grind co-owner Tara Picklo said new snow could definitely help boost the Spring Back to Vail crowds.
"It might convince people who are on the fence to come up," Picklo said.
And, while business has slowed down markedly since Easter, both Picklo and Carroll said people are still skiing.
"It's always good to have snow - for skiing and moisture in the summer," Carroll said. "And, it gives us (at the store) a chance to get up there."
This year, unlike last season, people still want to get up on the hill, Carroll said. And, he added, he still sees people just finishing their hike-up-and-ski down runs when he gets to work in the mornings.
Picklo said it's great that the mountains are still skiable, and still fun to ride, this late in the season. But the Eagle resident said she's ready for a change of seasons.
"Most of us (at the coffee shops) are all excited to get out our mountain bikes," she said.