Vail opens more lifts, terrain as 2-day storm drops a foot of new snow |

Vail opens more lifts, terrain as 2-day storm drops a foot of new snow

Public access to larger mountain now available out of Golden Peak

A view of the Whiskey Jack run Saturday near the top of Chair 14 on Vail Mountain. The Whiskey Jack run opened for the season on Saturday. (John LaConte

Vail expanded its open terrain to 785 acres on Saturday with the opening of several lifts. A storm which began delivering snow to the valley early Friday morning still had not stopped as of Saturday evening, with nearly a foot of snow in total recorded on Vail Mountain.

The Riva Bahn Express (Chair 6) began running on Saturday, creating a new loading area for guests looking to access the larger mountain from Golden Peak. From there, skiers can access the Northwoods Express (Chair 11) to reach the top of the mountain.

From the top of the mountain, the beginner terrain in the area known as Bun Bun Bowl surrounding the Sourdough Express (Chair 14) was also made available Saturday via the Timberline Catwalk. In addition to the Sourdough and Boomer runs, Whiskey Jack is also available to skiers and snowboarders who egress the lift to the right and traverse to the skier’s left side of the lift.

The difficult-to-access Whiskey Jack run was empty on Saturday, offering skiers a mostly groomed surface with a few off-piste pockets along the sides of the run.
John LaConte photo.

Public access at Golden Peak

Before Saturday, the Riva Bahn Express was only available for private access among clubs like Ski & Snowboard Club Vail, which train at Golden Peak.

Vail expanded the Golden Peak area of the mountain in 2019-20, installing a new lift and cutting three new runs. That new terrain has not yet been made available to guests in the 2020-21 season. No public notice was issued in the 2019-20 season about public access to that lift, although members of the public did report that they were able to use the new surface lift.

The Golden Peak project was Vail’s first terrain expansion since Blue Sky Basin, and was expanded in part to provide more training area for ski racers at Ski & Snowboard Club Vail.

No reservations

In addition to benefiting from the expanded terrain this season, Ski & Snowboard Club Vail athletes were informed last week that they will not be subject to Vail’s reservations system this season.

Vail Resorts unveiled the reservations system in November as a way of limiting crowding at Vail’s 34 North American ski resorts during the COVID-19 pandemic. Before accessing the mountain, pass holders must make a reservation. Reservations are currently full for many of the days between Dec. 19 and Jan. 3 at Vail and Breckenridge.

“Due to our long-standing operating agreement with Vail Resorts and Vail Mountain, we are able to have pre-reservations loaded for all mountains that are available on your current pass product,” Ski and Snowboard Club Vail athletes were told in an email. “If someone has an Epic Pass, there will be valid pre-reservations at each Vail Resort on that pass. Likewise, if you only have a Colorado five-resort pass product, pre-reservations would only be loaded for the five Colorado resorts that Vail Resorts owns and operates.”

Beaver Creek

At Beaver Creek, the mountain reported 10 inches from this storm cycle as of Saturday morning — and more falling after the report.

Beaver Creek has top-to-bottom skiing available with over 10 lifts turning, including Centennial Express, Cinch Express, Strawberry Express and Haymeadow Express, among others.

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