What’s new at Vail and Beaver Creek this winter?
Whether it’s your first time or your 50th, there’s always something new happening at Vail and Beaver Creek resorts.
A dedication to customer experience results in constant upgrades, new projects and also 20 mountains added to the Epic Pass for 2018-19.
Here’s a look at what’s new at Vail and Beaver Creek mountains. Vail’s Opening Day is planned for Friday, Nov. 16, and Beaver Creek gets going Wednesday, Nov. 21.
NEW FOR VAIL RESORTS
Emma: A digital mountain assistant at your fingertips
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Vail Resorts is introducing Emma, the Epic Mountain Assistant, to help skiers and snowboarding visiting its mountain locations. Using artificial intelligence and natural language processing, Emma has the ability to answer a wide range of questions in real time through text, such as weather and grooming conditions.
Emma will debut at Vail and Beaver Creek, as well as Breckenridge, Keystone, Park City in Utah, Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in Tahoe, and Whistler in Canada.
Commitment to zero waste
Vail Resorts announced an aggressive pursuit of zero net emissions by 2030, zero waster to landfill by 2030 zero net impact to forests and habitat.
During the 2017-18 season, a “lose the lid and the straw” campaign was implemented to eliminate the use of plastic soda cup lids and straw at all on-mountain dining facilities.
Epic Pass holders will receive unlimited, unrestricted access to Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Crested Butte and Arapahoe Basin in Colorado; Park City in Utah; Heavenly, Northstar, Kirkwood at Lake Tahoe; Stowe and Okemo in Vermont; Mount Sunapee in New Hampshire; Stevens Pass in Washington; Afton Alps in Minnesota; Mt. Brighton in Michigan; Wilmot Mountain in Wisconsin; Whistler Blackcomb in Canada; and Perisher in Australia. (Access to Okemo, Crested Butte and Mount Sunapee are pending transaction closure.)
Vail Mountain will install 10 large-capacity, low-energy fan guns on Born Free trail for the 2018-19 season. The snowmaking system on the mountain will also receive upgrades to pumps and pump controls. Both upgrades will increase snowmaking productivity.
The Back Bowls will be even more accessible with a 30 percent increase in groomed terrain. A few of the Back Bowls trails to expect increased grooming on include The Slot, Poppyfiels, Chopstix, Cloud 9, Grand Review, Big Rock Park, Red Zinger, Inner Mongolia, Morning Thunder, Ricky’s Ridge, Jade Glade, Genghis Kahm, Yonder Gully and more.
Colorado Ski & Snowboard Museum re-opens
Located in Vail Village, the Colorado Ski & Snowboard Museum has re-opened after a year-long, $2.6 million renovation. The newly renovated museum features six exhibits, a theater and three touch screen exhibits that delve deep into Colorado’s snowsports history.
BEAVER CREEK MOUNTAIN
Haymeadow Park Learning Area
Beaver Creek is focusing efforts on learning terrain with its reimagined Haymeadow Park Learning Area. Following the debut of the upgraded Red Buffalo Park beginner terrain in 2017-18, Haymeadow Park will feature a beginner gondola and lift, Haymeadow Express Gondola and Highlands Lift, in addition to magic carpets designed for beginner skiers and snowboarders — of all ages. Terrain improvements include a learning area with small terrain features, a beginner racecourse, Buffalo Bumps and Berms and Ske-Cology environmental learning. Haymeadow Park also features a new Ice Cream Parlour located at The Ranch, offering soup, sandwiches and more for kids enrolled in ski school.
Willy the Mountain Safety Dog
He can’t carry your skis or give you directions, but Beaver Creek’s newest ambassador will be accompanying the mountain safety team to spread the word about safety on the hill. Beaver Creek’s first-ever mountain safety dog Willy is not a certified avalanche rescue dog, but his handler Mark Carll has plenty of important information forcguests about safe skiing and riding in the mountains. Willy is a golden retriever. Follow his travels this winter using hashtag #WillyBeSafe.
McCoy Park Expansion
Planned for 2020-21, Beaver Creek’s continued focus on family-friendly zones on the mountain continue with the McCoy Park expansion. The proposal includes lift-served ski terrain at McCoy Park, located at the top of Strawberry Park Lift and currently offering Nordic and snowshoe trails. The plan would add about 250 acres to the resort’s skiable terrain, developing 17 trails that would be “groomable glades.” About 75 percent of the terrain would be beginner, with the remaining being intermediate. All plans are subject to U.S. Forest Service approval and a decision is expected later in 2018, with a two-year proposed build out.
Assistant editor Ross Leonhart can be reached at 970-748-2984 and email@example.com. Follow him on Instagram at colorado_livin_on_the_hill.