VIDEO: Blue Sky Basin opens for 2022-23 season on Vail Mountain |

VIDEO: Blue Sky Basin opens for 2022-23 season on Vail Mountain

Vail Mountain on Monday began running the Skyline Express chairlift, along with Pete’s Express, opening the beloved Blue Sky Basin area to skiers and snowboarders for the 2022-23 season.

While Earl’s Express was not running, the terrain in Earl’s Bowl — including runs like In the Wuides and Montane Glade — was open as well, with the long skate down Kelly’s Toll Road taking skiers and snowboarders back to Skyline Express from the bottom of Earl’s Bowl.

Vail Mountain, in the last week, also opened a portion of the Back Bowls for the season, with China Bowl, Teacup Bowl and Sun Up Bowl opening during Vail’s 60th anniversary celebration on Thursday. The large terrain openings doubled the amount of available terrain previously open at Vail, and the mountain is now claiming a 73% opening terrain percentage.

Skiers ride the Pete’s Express chairlift on Monday during Blue Sky Basin’s 2022-23 Opening Day on Vail Mountain.
John LaConte/Vail Daily

Beaver Creek on Saturday opened the Larkspur Express lift for the season, and is now claiming an opening total of 47% of the resort.

Vail skiers and snowboarders are eagerly awaiting the opening of Game Creek Bowl and Sun Down Bowl, both of which saw the construction of new chairlifts over the summer and fall. The new Game Creek Express six-seat chair is expected to open first. On Friday, the Wildwood Express lift was closed as a helicopter flew in parts for the new Sun Down Express lift.

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The mountain has seen good snow conditions this season — Vail Mountain has recorded 120 cumulative inches of snow this year and is currently boasting a 44-inch base depth. The USDA’s snow telemetry sensor on Vail Mountain is showing a snow-water equivalent of 6.5 inches currently; the average from 1991-2020 for Dec. 19 is 6.2 inches.

Skiers gather at the top of the Little Ollie trail in Blue Sky Basin on Monday during its first day of operation for the 2022-23 ski season.
John LaConte/Vail Daily

Temperatures are expected to remain cold in Vail. The National Weather Service’s Grand Junction issued a Wind Chill Watch on Monday, calling for “dangerously cold wind chills … as low as 50 below zero” which is expected to last from Wednesday evening until Friday morning from the Gore Range in eastern Eagle County to the Flat Tops in the western part of the county.

A chance of snow showers is likely to accompany the cold winds, especially on Wednesday night when the National Weather Service is calling for a 100% chance of snow. There’s also a chance of snow in the forecast for Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

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