Blog: 11 inches at Vail |

Blog: 11 inches at Vail

VAIL, Colorado — Today was an opening day of sorts at Vail.

Yes, a week and a half ago, Vail had its official opening. But this year, as happens once in a while, opening day was just one trail on manmade snow. The weather had been dry and warm. Locals turned out that day, many of them just take a few runs and get their ski legs under them.

Vail had already delayed its opening, and skiers fretted about whether the snow would ever come. It did come, this weekend, with Vail reporting 15 inches over the last two days.

So there is opening day, but there are other, subsequent opening days One kind is when hundreds of acres of terrain open across the mountain.

Saturday was a day like that, when Vail fired up chairs 2, 3, 4, 7, 26 and the Vista Bahn, among others. With a few inches of powder waiting, skiers got to rip up the terrain they hadn’t skied since last April.

Yes, there were a few water ditches you had to jump over, and grass and bushes stuck up on some of the trails, but much of Vail seemed to be in great condition.

The snow kept coming Saturday night, even closing the interstate that night. Vail said it would keep opening terrain, this time Northwoods, for Sunday.

The snow report came in early Sunday at 11 inches. That’ll get most skiers out of bed.

Which brings me to a third kind of opening day — the first time Vail gets a good dump.

That’s when the skiers really come out. Skiers steadily streamed up Bridge Street Sunday morning, and the lines quickly grew as the 9 a.m. opening approached.

Before long the lines at the Vista Bahn were past the mazes. Before much longer they were way, way beyond the mazes. It was like some spontaneous, unannounced gathering where everyone still knew exactly what the purpose was.

Maybe that’s the truest kind of opening day at Vail, the first time hundreds and hundreds of anxious skiers congregate in the maze to wait to ski powder on this mountain.

The snow was pretty light , lighter than Saturday, and pretty deep. Shortly after nine, skiers arced down Kangaroo Cornice, throwing up dust clouds of snow behind them.

Others did laps on Chair 4 until Northwoods would open at 10.

It’s so early the steep faces haven’t gotten stacked with moguls yet, so the steep frontside faces were nice, smooth powder skiing.

On Sunday, lots of the bushes were gone, and so were the water ditches. It’s probably a bit early for tree skiing, but Vail is approaching true winter form.

That next opening day? When Vail’s signature terrain, the Back Bowls, open. At least part of them. We just need another good dump.

Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 748-2929 or

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