Vail Resorts announces Vail Mountain will remain open until May 1
Vail has received nearly 200 inches of snow this season
Correction: Vail Mountain’s longest season on record was the 1997-98 season, which ran from Nov. 7, 1997, to May 3, 1998.
VAIL — In a surprise Monday announcement, Vail Resorts extended the ski season at Vail Mountain until May 1.
The extension, along with the mountain’s Nov. 12 opening this season, will create Vail Mountain’s longest continuous season in its 59-year history, resort officials have confirmed.
“Thanks to the mountain’s investment in snowmaking, passholders and guests will be able to enjoy one additional week of legendary spring skiing and riding,” the resort announced in a release. “The extended week will provide more value to passholders and guests, and is the perfect way for the local community to end an amazing winter season.”
Beth Howard, vice president and chief operating officer of Vail Mountain, said the resort was very excited to break the news.
“This extension is made entirely possible by the dedicated mountain staff who have worked to provide guests with an outstanding winter season,” Howard said. “We are truly grateful for everyone’s hard work to open over 5,100 acres of terrain and for our longest season on record.”
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In 2019, Vail Mountain invested in North America’s largest snowmaking enhancement project, creating a new early season experience on the mountain. But the late season will also be revolutionized by the snowmaking system, the resort contends, with this year serving as an example.
“Despite challenging early-season weather conditions, the resort’s snowmaking efforts enabled a phenomenal ski and ride experience this year, building the base that will allow for this season extension,” according to the release.
Vail has received more than a foot of snow over the last week, bringing the total accumulation for this season to 193 inches.
Terrain offerings for the late-season experience will depend upon snow and weather conditions, according to the release.
In a February announcement detailing the resort’s decision to forgo tubing for this season, Vail said the snow used to making the tubing lanes would be repurposed to create a favorable spring skiing experience.
A Vail Resorts spokesperson on Monday said while the tubing decision was made separately from the decision to extend spring skiing, the snow from the tubing hill could come in handy in late April.
“That snow will be utilized around the mountain throughout the spring,” said John Plack, senior communications manager for Vail and Beaver Creek.
Other properties, too
Vail Mountain is not the only Vail Resorts property to offer skiing into May.
Breckenridge, in recent years, has stayed open into May, as well, setting Memorial Day as a target.
Last season Breckenridge mountain kept the lifts running until May 23.
“Beginning in late April, intermediate-, advanced- and expert-level skiers and riders can celebrate spring and get on the snow long after many resorts have closed for the season, with access to signature high alpine terrain throughout May across Peaks 6, 7 and 8,” according to a release from Breckenridge resort.
In California, the Vail Resorts mountains of Heavenly and Kirkwood also announced season extensions on Monday. Heavenly plans to stay open an extra week with plans to shut down the lifts after its final day on Sunday, April 24; and Kirkwood is staying open an extra three weeks with plans to shut down after its final day on Sunday, May 1.
In January, Vail Resorts announced all full-time and all part-time hourly employees would be eligable for a $2 per hour bonus for all hours worked from Jan. 1, 2022 through the end of season, or April 15 if the season runs longer.
Plack confirmed on Monday that all employees who cannot stay will still receive their end-of-season bonus for hours worked through the end of their scheduled season.
“For those employees who are able to stay with us through May 1, those hours will count towards the $2 per hour season-end bonus,” Plack said.