When did Vail allow snowboarders?
When did China Bowl open on Vail Mountain, and when did Vail first allow snowboards on the mountain?
Both happened in 1988.
China Bowl opened to the public on Dec. 3, 1988. The expansion also included Tea Cup, Siberia and Mongolia bowls. The added terrain ” 1,881 acres ” made Vail the biggest ski resort in the country. It was called China Bowl because the cliffs near the top of the Orient Express Lift reminded Vail founder Peter Seibert of the Great Wall of China.
Snowboarders were first allowed on Vail Mountain during a two-month trial period at the end of the 1987-88 ski season. After the trial period, mountain officials were confident that skiers and snowboarders could co-exist, and snowboarders were officially welcomed to the mountain for the 1988-89 season.
The introduction of snowboarders was met with both support and opposition, Vail Associates Executive Vice President of Mountain Operations Larry Lichliter told the Vail Trail in 1988.
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“Will it continue to grow?” he said. “I think it will. My sense is that it’s not a fad.”
The Trail estimated there were 200,000 snowboarders nationwide in 1988. That number had grown to 6 million by 2005, according to the National Ski Areas Association.
In 1988, however, there were no plans to build a “stunt tube,” also known as a halfpipe, the Trail reported.