Big snowstorm helps Vail, Beaver Creek open more terrain

Vail opens Wildwood Express lift and three more runs; Beaver Creek opens first black diamond of the season

Vail Mountain opened more terrain Friday with the help of 11 inches of fresh snow.
John LaConte/Vail Daily

The snow has finally arrived in Eagle County as skiers at Vail and Beaver Creek rejoiced Friday to get in their first powder turns of the season.

An overnight storm dropped 11 inches of fresh powder on Vail Mountain and 10 inches at Beaver Creek, the resorts reported Friday morning. Skiers and snowboarders gathered early at both resorts to get fresh tracks and to see what new terrain openings awaited them.

Snow continued to fall throughout the day, accumulating an extra 3-5 inches at Beaver Creek and an extra 2-4 inches at Vail. “We went into this storm hoping for 7-13 inches and so far, so good,” Joel Gratz of wrote Friday morning. “By the end of the storm later on Friday, we’ll likely exceed the upper estimate of 13 inches.”

New terrain openings

With new snow comes more opportunity to spread out and enjoy the slopes. On Vail Mountain, the Wildwood Express (Lift. No 3) opened Friday along with the Berries, Pickeroon and Lodgepole runs. The day before, the Born Free Express (Lift No. 8) opened as well as the lower portion of the Born Free ski run. The Lionshead gondola (Lift. No. 19) now offers access to intermediate skiing at Avanti Express (Lift. No. 2) via Middle Ledges and Lower Columbine.

Vail Mountain now has nearly 700 acres of terrain open to skiers and riders, with 44 trails and 8 lifts.

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Kangaroo Cornice opened along with Wildwood Express Friday in Vail.
Chris Dillmann, Vail Daily

Down the road, Beaver Creek opened Barrel Stave and Fool’s Gold, marking the resort’s first offering of black diamond terrain of the season. Beaver Creek is currently offering 74 acres of skiing with Gold Dust, Fool’s Gold, Barrel Stave and Haymeadow Park served by two lifts, the Centennial Express and Haymeadow Express.

Incoming snow?

The bad news is the valley likely won’t see any more precipitation throughout the weekend. The good news is that with the temperatures staying low throughout the weekend, resorts around the state will be able to keep the snow guns running in the effort to expand terrain. “We are working hard on opening more terrain with the support Mother Nature is providing both in powder and to our snow makers with optimal wet bulb temperatures,” said Rachel Levitsky, a spokeswoman for Beaver Creek.

The National Weather Service in Grand Junction forecasts another storm system to roll in Tuesday through Wednesday night, followed by more storms into the weekend. predicts an extra 9 inches of powder Wednesday through Sunday.

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