Vail targets earliest opening since 1998 as Vail Resorts drops starting dates

The Mountain Top Express Lift at Vail takes skiers and snowboarders up to the top to get the season's first turns on Opening Day at Vail on Friday, Nov. 11, 2022. The resort opened with more than 100 acres of skiable terrain.
Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily

Vail Mountain is targeting a Nov. 10 Opening Day, while Beaver Creek is slated to open on Nov. 22, Vail Resorts said in a release issued Wednesday.

The Nov. 10 target for Vail Mountain would be the earliest since 1998 when the mountain opened on Nov. 9.

The push to open Vail Mountain earlier began in 2018 after five straight seasons of Vail Mountian opening on Nov. 20 or later. The mountain installed a new snowmaking system in 2019, lining the sides of runs with large fan guns connected directly to a water line that was installed beneath the mountain, along with a power feed, also buried underground. Working with its supplier, Vail came up with a new technology that it calls a swing arm gun for some of the resort’s hard-to-reach places.

The first-day-of-season offering was switched from Born Free in Lionshead to Ramshorn and Swingsville in the Mid-Vail area, with guests riding Gondola One to an elevation 2,000 feet higher, with temperatures 10 degrees cooler, to start their ski day.

Since that time — 2020 excluded — Vail has been able to open earlier and earlier, opening on Nov. 14 in 2018, Nov. 15 in 2019, Nov. 12 in 2021 and Nov. 11 in 2022.

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Breckenridge is slated to open Nov. 10 along with Vail Mountain.

All opening dates could change, though, depending on weather.

Vail Resorts’ target opening dates

  • Mid-October – Keystone
  • Nov. 10 – Breckenridge, Vail Mountain
  • Nov. 17 – Heavenly, Northstar, Park City Mountain
  • Nov. 22 – Beaver Creek, Crested Butte
  • Nov. 23 – Whistler Blackcomb
  • Dec. 1 – Kirkwood, Stevens Pass

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