Vail’s Blue Sky Basin opens to ring in the New Year |

Vail’s Blue Sky Basin opens to ring in the New Year

Vail’s terrain is now 83% open, with 225 trails served by 26 lifts

A skier glides down Shangri-La in China Bowl on Thursday. Skyline, Pete’s, Tea Cup and Orient Express were all opened Wednesday.
Anna Suszynski/Vail Daily

Vail’s China Bowl and Blue Sky Basin have opened for the season.

According to witnesses, ski patrol dropped the ropes on China Bowl around 9:10 a.m. Wednesday. Skyline Express, Pete’s Express and Tea Cup Express also opened around the same time, as skiers flocked to some of Vail’s most beloved terrain.

Gabe Suszynski cuts a track below Orient Express to catch the first run of the season in China Bowl. Ski patrol dropped the rope around 9:10 a.m. Wednesday morning.
Anna Suszynski/Vail Daily

Vail’s terrain is now 83% open, with 225 trails served by 26 lifts.

“We’re now skiing and riding 4,023 acres,” wrote John Plack, senior communications manager for Vail and Beaver Creek, in an email Wednesday.

Slower to open, but not by much

In 2019, Vail opened Blue Sky Basin on Dec. 21 and the resort was 95% open at that time.

Considering the challenges of 2020 — namely, a pandemic, huge operational adjustments and lower-than average snowfall in the early season, Wednesday’s opening of Blue Sky Basin shows that Vail Mountain’s efforts to fully open are not much slower than a pre-pandemic timeline.

It also helps when an extra 8 inches of snowfall arrives.

Fireworks, but no ski-down for New Year

Vail’s opening of Blue Sky also offers visitors an extra outlet for activity, which is of great value on a New Year’s Eve that will be vastly different from years past.

Festivities will continue nonetheless, and visitors and locals will get to enjoy the fireworks.

“Vail’s New Year’s Eve salute will take place at 6 p.m., Dec. 31 with the fireworks visible from most areas of the valley floor including Vail Village, Golden Peak, Lionshead Village and on the north side of Interstate 70.” the Town of Vail wrote on its website.

A second, smaller fireworks show will also take place at 10 p.m. from the same location.

But one of Vail’s most popular New Year’s Eve traditions, the torchlight ski-down, will not happen in 2020.

“Look for the traditional torchlight ski down from Golden Peak to return next season when it is safe to gather” the Town of Vail wrote.

Anna Suszynski contributed to this report.

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