Vail closing weekend will be a pared-down offering

But conditions are good on the terrain that remains open

A view from the top of Vail Mountain on Monday following 5 inches of fresh snow. Vail’s popular Windows Deck gathering area will not be open for closing weekend April 30 to May 1.
John LaConte/Vail Daily

With Chair 3 closed, but Chairs 2 and 4 open on either side of it, Vail’s closing weekend terrain offering might look like a large “V” if viewed from the sky.

Windows Deck, a popular hangout located between Chairs 3 and 4, has been rendered inaccessible for the closing weekend, with a new fence line erected to block access from the Chair 4 side. The Back Bowls are not open, and the far east and west sides of the mountain are no longer accessible as well.

Those are a few of the notable differences from regular operation skiers and snowboarders will notice on Vail’s closing weekend April 30 and May 1, as the mountain completes its longest season in history after starting on Nov. 12 and running through May 1.

The decks that are open, like Steady’s Deck near Chair 2, are scheduled to close at 4 p.m. per U.S. Forest Service regulations.

A view of Vail Mountain’s “Chaos Canyon” on Tuesday. Vail was reporting a mid-mountain base of 52 inches on Wednesday.
John LaConte/Vail Daily

Recent snow

Skiers enjoyed 5 inches of fresh snow on Monday morning, which was the third-straight day the mountain reported more than 4 inches to start the ski day. The 15 inches of snow Vail Mountain has recorded in the last week has kept packed-powder runs from reaching slush conditions on high-elevation, north-facing slopes.

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Vail had a mid-mountain base depth of 52 inches as of Wednesday, with several top-to-bottom routes accessible heading into the closing weekend. But downloads are always recommended this time of year for skiers and snowboarders who struggle in the spring slush on the low-elevation slopes. Downloads will be offered on Chair 6 as well as the Vail and Lionshead gondolas.

Skiers and snowboarders this weekend will likely be reminded at gondola entrances that they are only allowed one small backpack per person on Vail Mountain, and the bag has to fit in a five-gallon container.

Upper Born Free is currently closed on Vail Mountain, funneling skiers who loaded the mountain in Lionshead toward Chair 2.
John LaConte/Vail Daily

Skiers can load the mountain in Golden Peak, Vail and Lionshead. On the Lionshead side of the mountain, access has been blocked off to the west of Chair 26 — including the upper Eagle’s Nest Ridge, Bwana, Simba and Upper Born Free — funneling skiers toward Chair 2.

From Gondola One in Vail Village, skiers and snowboarders can access Chair 4 or ski down to Chair 2. Kids headed in that direction will be pleased to learn that the popular Chaos Canyon trails are still open with ample snow reinforcing the former bobsled course’s banked turns.

Chairs 10 and 14 are not running, preventing lift access to the eastern side of Vail’s ski area.

A fence blocks access to the upper Eagle’s Nest Ridge area of Lionshead and the western side of the mountain including the Bwana and Simba runs.
John LaConte/Vail Daily

More weather on the way

Windy, rainy conditions are in the forecast for the days leading up to Vail’s closing, and mountains in the area of the Gore Range could see some snow on Friday, the National Weather Service reports.

On Wednesday, the National Weather Service’s Grand Junction office issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook for Western Colorado, lasting all the way through Tuesday.

“Temperatures will remain warm and above normal until Friday when a cold front brings cooler temperatures and valley rain and mountain snow to northeast Utah and northwest Colorado Friday morning through Saturday morning,” according to the weather service report. “Conditions dry out this weekend with a few passing disturbances clipping the north through early next week.”

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