Pride Express up and running on Vail Mountain
Vail and Beaver Creek topped the 72-hour snow totals for Colorado resorts during this last round of storms, which lasted much of the weekend.
After a massive storm on Friday, and then another surprise blast of snow on Saturday, Vail and Beaver Creek had recorded more fresh snow than other ski areas in the state in their three-day totals issued Sunday morning. Breckenridge, Steamboat and Winter Park all recorded 10 inches over the 72-hour cycle, Arapahoe Basin 9 inches, and Keystone and Copper 8 inches. Vail and Beaver Creek each recorded 13 inches.
The Saturday storm surprised even those who track the Colorado storms the closest, like ski meteorologist Joel Gratz of OpenSnow.com who, on Friday, predicted only a dusting to a few inches of accumulation, with low confidence.
But the storm came in harder than expected on top of Vail Mountain, which received about 4-5 inches of snow on Saturday, with the mid-mountain snow stake showing just under 4 inches received on Sunday morning. The new snow brought Vail to 87 inches total on the season.
Operations crews responded by opening much of the terrain on the west side of the Vail Mountain, including the upper Born Free, Pride, Bwana, Simba and Safari runs to skiers on Saturday.
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Vail also opened the Pride Express chairlift (No. 26) for the season on Saturday, providing an important connection to the Cascade lift (No. 20), which has enjoyed an early opening this season. The Cascade lift loads out of the Grand Hyatt Vail but is available to the general public, as well.
With Pride Express now running, Grand Hyatt Vail guests and those using the lift can access Eagle’s Nest and the mid-mountain area, instead of having to ski back down to another loading area at Lionshead Village.
“It’s exciting to get an early start on what is shaping up to be an outstanding season,” said Grand Hyatt Vail General Manager John D’Angelo. “Also, I’d like to thank Vail Resorts for their partnership in delivering this important amenity to our guests at Grand Hyatt Vail and community members in Cascade Village.”
Vail Pass avalanche danger
On Vail Pass and in the Gore Range, along with other parts of the state, avalanche danger is currently high, according to a report issued by the Colorado Avalanche Information Center on Sunday evening.
“Expect very dangerous conditions to develop by Monday morning and continue through Tuesday,” the information center said. “You can expect to trigger a large and dangerous avalanche on, near, or below steep northerly and easterly-facing slopes at all elevations. Dense slabs of recently fallen snow rest precariously above fragile weak layers near the ground. Numerous people have triggered and been caught in avalanches this weekend. Conditions will grow more dangerous Monday and Tuesday. We recommend that you do not travel in or near avalanche terrain.”
The National Weather Service’s Grand Junction followed up with an alert of its own, issuing an avalanche warning at 5:16 p.m. on Sunday for several areas around the region including the Flat Tops, Elk Head, Park Range, Gore Range and Front Range mountains.
There’s more snow in the forecast for the week ahead, with the National Weather Service expecting scattered to widespread snow showers persisting Monday through early Thursday.
“This snow could be moderate to heavy at times and may cause impacts to travel,” NOAA’s Grand Junction office reported in a hazardous weather outlook issued Sunday. “Snowfall totals over the course of several days could exceed 12 inches in some of the higher elevations.”