Vail and Beaver Creek celebrate Opening Day with some terrain, mountain dining |

Vail and Beaver Creek celebrate Opening Day with some terrain, mountain dining

Beaver Creek Guest Service employees get a training course on scanning passes Tuesday, Nov. 21, in Beaver Creek. The mountain opened for the season with 65 acres.
Chris Dillmann | |

Four facts

• The Born Free Express and Born Free trail are open at Vail.

• Also at Vail, the EagleBahn Gondola will take passengers on scenic rides and provide access to the Forest Flyer alpine coaster.

• Beaver Creek will open the Centennial Express lift and Buckaroo Gondola for skiing and snowboarding on the Gold Dust and Haymeadow runs.

• Lifts open at 9 a.m. at both resorts.

Source: Vail Resorts

EAGLE COUNTY — After a dry fall, a bit of much-needed snowfall has given a boost to the Vail and Beaver Creek ski areas. Both celebrate Opening Day on Wednesday, Nov. 22.

Beaver Creek’s Opening Day had been set for some time. Vail’s Opening Day moved around a bit. While temperatures had cooled enough for nighttime snowmaking in the days before the originally scheduled Friday, Nov. 17, opening, a dearth of snowfall prompted the company to move Vail’s Opening Day to Thursday, Nov. 23.

Then nature did what nature often does and provided several inches of snow over the weekend. Vail Resorts announced on Monday, Nov. 20, that Vail Opening Day had been moved to Nov. 22.

In a statement, Vail chief operating officer Doug Lovell said, “Vail’s mountain operations team was able to take full advantage of the colder temperatures and natural snowfall during the last several days, allowing us to move up our Opening Day.”

Cooler temperatures mean the snow guns are blowing at both resorts at night, and, sometimes, during the day.

Is all that clear?

Regardless of the rest, both resorts open Wednesday, Nov. 22. Here’s what you can expect:

• Lifts at both resorts open at 9 a.m., although they may open a few minutes early.

• Both resorts can only make so much snow. That means terrain is limited.

At Vail

• The Born Free Express high-speed quad lift out of Lionshead Village will lead skiers and snowboarders to 45 acres of skiable terrain on the Born Free run.

In addition, the Eagle Bahn Gondola will run from noon to 3 p.m. for now. That lift will take passengers on scenic rides up to Eagle’s Nest. The Marketplace at Eagle’s Nest will be open, as will the Express Lift Bar at Mountain Plaza in Vail Village. On-mountain restaurant The 10th will also be open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. through Thanksgiving weekend. Reservations at The 10th can be made at

Ski school offices at Vail and Lionshead villages also will open Wednesday, Nov. 22. The Small World Nursery at the Golden Peak Children’s Center will be open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Guests can book in advance at or by calling 970-754-8445.

Vail Mountain Nordic School at Golden Peak also opens Wednesday, Nov. 22, with guided backcountry, snowshoe and cross-country ski tours. To learn more, go to or call 970-754-3200.

Lift ticket offices in Lionshead and Vail villages will be open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

At Beaver Creek

• The resort’s 58 acres of terrain are on the Gold Dust and Haymeadow runs, served by the Centennial Express and Buckaroo Gondola.

• Beaver Creek’s annual World’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Competition also is set for Wednesday, Nov. 22. Five finalists will serve their creations to the public. The winner earns $1,000, and his or her recipe will be the official cookie at the resort for the coming season.

The judging begins at 2 p.m. Cookies are free, but the 5,000 cookies usually are eaten quickly. Winners will be announced at 3 p.m., which is also daily Cookie Time at Beaver Creek Village, so there are more cookies coming if you missed the competition.

• Beaver Creek’s annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony is set for Friday, Nov. 24. The event features a holiday poetry contest, an ice skating show at the rink in the village and musical performances. There will be a visit from Santa and fireworks.

• The Spruce Saddle Lodge and Toscanini restaurants open Wednesday, Nov. 22. The Beaver Creek Starbucks is already open.

• The ski school opens Wednesday, Nov. 22, and will operate four magic carpets for lessons. For more information, go to or call 970-754-5300.

• Pass restrictions are in effect at both resorts on Friday, Nov. 24, and Saturday, Nov. 25. Restrictions apply to Epic Local, Epic School Kids and merchant passes.

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930, and @scottnmiller.

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