Ski blog: The outer reaches of Vail
VAIL — Mongolia Bowl may not have the cachet of Blue Sky Basin, but it has the snow.
I headed for the Poma lift at Vail’s eastern end on Saturday, opening day for Mongolia Bowl. A steady stream of skiers was making the slow climb up to East Vail Chutes, but I traversed east on the catwalk above the bowl.
Mongolia Bowl feels isolated, even more so than Blue Sky. It’s miles from Vail Village, and it’s even a long way from any high-speed quad.
There are wide views of Battle Mountain and peaks beyond up toward Vail Pass.
For some reason it reminds me of Wolf Creek in Southern Colorado. Maybe just because there are no condos or ski villages in sight.
I quickly found untracked powder just below the catwalk. I sliced big turns though the snow. It had been a week since we got our big snow, and a few days since we got our last snow, but the snow seemed fresh.
(It was freezing on Saturday, but the snow was still good, and I didn’t wait in a line for a minute the whole weekend. You can still find lots of soft crud in China, Sun Up and Sun Down. You can still find powder in the trees and glades.)
Mongolia isn’t the long, sustained bowl skiing like you get in Sun Down or China, but there are some good, steeper stretches. You have to cross a few gullies on your way down.
The runout is pretty flat. When I was a full-time snowboarder, I never went out there because it was so hard to get back.
But I enjoyed the slow traverse back on my tele skis. It was like cross-country skiing in the wilderness. I took my time, I enjoyed the views, I took deep breaths, and I thought, I am lucky to be here.
E-mail Edward Stoner at email@example.com.