‘Lucky’ storm blasts Vail with cold temps, fresh snow on Tuesday
Vail Mountain among ski areas to report country’s highest snow totals
While Vail Mountain’s decision to close a few lifts on Monday caught some by surprise, the preserved runs turned out to be welcome stash spots after Tuesday’s snow event.
Vail reported 8 inches of fresh snow at 5 a.m., and snow continued to fall on the mountain’s high-elevation runs throughout the morning.
Temperatures in the single digits greeted skiers when the lifts started turning at 8:30 a.m. and parts of the mountain remained in the 20s into the afternoon hours.
Vail, Breckenridge and Winter Park all reported 8 inches of snow at 5 a.m.; the three ski areas were tied for the highest totals reported of any in the country on Tuesday. Beaver Creek reported 7 inches.
Meteorologist Norv Larson with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction said the cold front that came through the area stalled over Vail and the region for a while.
“It also looks like you were in a deeper pool of moisture than the remainder of the area,” Larson said.
Meteorologist Joel Gratz of opensnow.com, himself a Vail skier, described it as a fortunate weather event for Vail Mountain.
“We were lucky and a cold front near the ground and the jetstream up high combined to create a couple hours of very intense snowfall right over Vail,” Gratz said. “And the snow was a little on the heavier side which actually covered up some of the crunch, not all of it but some of it, and made for some pretty good skiing, especially on the front side.”
The front side of Vail Mountain had a few runs which remained relatively untouched throughout the day – those in the Highline Express area. That lift, No. 10 on Vail Mountain, stopped running for the season on Monday.
Vail skier Cesar Hermosillo said he took an afternoon run down one of those Chair 10 runs and found amazing skiing there. While the Blue Ox and Highline runs are in bounds and open, they’re not easily accessed, and require a long skate down the road known as Brisk Walk to exit.
But after a great run in that area, “Brisk Walk wasn’t bad at all,” Hermosillo said.
Outer Mongolia Bowl remains open, as well, for hikers who want to take it on without the aid of the No. 22 lift.
With a period of warm weather expected to hit the area in the coming days, Tuesday’s storm was a good weather event to have for skiers hoping to see as much terrain as possible skiable on Vail’s closing day, April 18.
“By the weekend, it looks like it could hit the 70s in the Edwards area,” Larson said.