Beaver Creek delays opening due to lack of snow
Snowmaking is underway, but dry spell has made it difficult on mountain operations
Beaver Creek is the latest Colorado resort to push back its Opening Day due to warm, dry weather.
On Friday, Vail Resorts announced that Beaver Creek’s scheduled opening Nov. 24 — the day before Thanksgiving — won’t happen because of the unseasonably warm weather and a lack of snowfall.
John Plack, a spokesperson for Vail Resorts, said recent, colder temperatures have allowed snowmaking crews to make considerable coverage gains on terrain in the upper and middle portions of the resort. It’s the lower elevations where a lack of snowfall and a warm start to the month have made it difficult to create connectivity to Beaver Creek’s base area.
“Right now, it’s really all about waiting for the right temperatures,” Plack said. “As we get closer to the right temperatures, it creates opportunities for us to make more snow.”
The delay follows a trend of other Colorado resorts pushing openings or opening with very limited terrain as a result of limited windows to make snow.
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Steamboat Resort recently delayed its opening by a week until Nov. 27, and Telluride announced this week it had delayed its opening from Thanksgiving Day until Dec. 3
Eldora ski area near Nederland opened Friday, and Copper Mountain in Summit County is set to open Monday.
Beaver Creek is set to host the Birds of Prey World Cup speed races Dec. 3-5. The race schedule includes a downhill Saturday, Dec. 4, sandwiched between two super-G races.
Plack said course crews working on the Birds of Prey track have dialed in the upper sections but still need more snowmaking windows to fill in the lower sections and the finish area. The International Ski Federation is set to evaluate how the course is shaping up Sunday.
Plack cited wet bulb temperature — which takes relative humidity into account — as key metric that snowmaking crews use for evaluating when to fire up the snow guns.
While a lack of snow is confounding mountain operations crews across the West, the dry air for snowmaking isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It just needs to be dry and stay cold at night, like it has recently, for optimal snowmaking to happen.
“We just need the dry and the cold together,” Plack said. “The past couple of days have been really great, and we’ve done a tremendous job of getting the upper and middle sections of the mountain dialed in.”
For guests visiting during the Thanksgiving holiday, Beaver Creek Village will still host the World’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookie competition Wednesday, Nov. 24, and the 41st Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony Nov. 26. The village ice rink will be open daily from noon to 9 p.m.
For guests looking to ski and snowboard over the holiday, Vail Mountain is open. Epic Pass holders can also ski at Breckenridge and Keystone.
Up-to-date resort information, is available at Beavercreek.com.