Vail opens portions of Back Bowls as another big winter storm barrels down on Eagle County |

Vail opens portions of Back Bowls as another big winter storm barrels down on Eagle County

Snow continues to fall as ropes drop on Sun Up and Sun Down Bowls

The view from High Noon Express Lift (No. 5) at Vail as portions of the Back Bowls opened for the season on Tuesday.
John LaConte/Vail Daily

Vail Mountain opened portions of the Back Bowls on Tuesday as snow continues to pile up in Eagle County.

While the runs connecting the two bowls are not yet open, the High Noon Express Lift (No. 5), transporting skiers out of Sun Up and Sun Down Bowls, opened for the season at the start of the ski day, and was accessible from both bowls.

Skiers can access Sun Down Bowl from the Wildwood area atop the Game Creek Express (No. 7) and Wildwood Express (No. 3).

In Sun Up Bowl, skiers and snowboarders can use the groomed trail The Slot to access Sun Up Express Lift (No. 9), and can use the Yonder trail to return to that chair.

The runs Milt’s Face, Campbell’s and Cow’s Face are open in Sun Up Bowl, as well.

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More snow on the way

On Tuesday, the National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory for the Vail area, calling out the Gore Range as an area which could see total snow accumulations of 12 to 24 inches and winds gusts as high as 45 mph.

The winter weather advisory is in effect until 8 a.m. Wednesday.

“Travel could be very difficult to impossible,” the National Weather Service said in the advisory. “Patchy blowing snow could significantly reduce visibility, especially on ridge tops. The cold wind chills as low as 20 below zero could cause frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 30 minutes.”

Vail Mountain is reporting 23 inches of new snowfall in the past seven days, and 50 inches of snow throughout December, for a season total of 96 inches.

Snowy conditions have persisted in Eagle County all week, with high winds closing the resort early on Sunday.

For skiers and snowboarders seeking fresh powder outside of the resort, avalanche conditions are high in the area. Avalanche work on Vail Pass snarled traffic in Vail Village on Monday, causing hourslong delays on I-70.

Snow remains in the local forecast through Friday.

‘Signature terrain’

The new snow allowed Vail’s mountain operations team to open the Back Bowl lifts on Tuesday, the resort confirmed in a release. Vail reported 3 inches of fresh snow to start the ski day on Tuesday morning, and snow continued to fall throughout the morning.

But some runs on the lower elevation, south facing slopes still need more snow for pleasant ski conditions.

The Forever run, which runs along the ridge between Sun Up and Sun Down Bowls before descending into Sun Down Bowl, is not yet open for the season. Skiers and snowboarders loading Chair 5 on Tuesday saw why as grass and rocks were visible on that run.

“We are thrilled to kick off the opening of our signature Back Bowl terrain at Vail, with Sun Up and Sun Down Bowls,” said Beth Howard, Vail Mountain’s chief operating officer, in a company release. “We have been opening pockets of terrain at every turn, including multiple runs and lifts throughout the holiday week, culminating in today’s opening of the Back Bowls.”

As of Tuesday, skiers and snowboarders at Vail will have access to over 1,800 acres of terrain, including trails accessed by High Noon Express Lift (No. 5) and Sun Up Express Lift (No. 9) in Sun Up and Sun Down Bowls.

Vail is open top to bottom with access from four base areas: Vail Village, Lionshead Village, Golden Peak and Cascade Village. From the Cascade lift (No. 20), skiers must return to Lionshead village as the Pride Express (No. 26) is not yet open for the season.

A view of the High Noon Express (No. 5) on Tuesday. The lift is now open for the 2021-22 ski season.
John LaConte/Vail Daily

Vail Resorts also announced Tuesday that it will require mask on gondolas at its North American resorts starting Wednesday.

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