Wind closes Vail Back Bowls early as big storm bears down

Weather service calling for 6 to 14 inches

A skier takes on the gusty conditions in Vail’s Back Bowls on Sunday. The Back Bowls closed early due to high winds.
John LaConte/Vail Daily

Windy conditions closed Vail’s Back Bowls early for the second time in a week on Sunday as spring storms continue to roar through mountain valleys on Colorado’s Western Slope.

Vail Mountain recorded 5 inches of fresh snow on its snowstake on Sunday morning, bringing the season total to 235 inches with three weeks remained in the scheduled season at Vail. Beaver Creek recorded 6 inches on Sunday, one week before its scheduled closure of April 17.

For the resorts’ remaining days, ski conditions are looking favorable.

The National Weather Service office in Grand Junction issued a winter storm watch on Sunday, calling for snow to pick up again Monday night, continuing through Wednesday morning.

The Grand Junction office said heavy snow and near blizzard conditions are possible, with total snow accumulations of 6 to 14 inches expected, and higher amounts above 9,000 feet.

Support Local Journalism

On ridges in the Gore Range, however, “winds could gust as high as 65 mph,” the National Weather Service reported. “Strongest winds and heaviest snow expected late Monday night and Tuesday morning.”

For motorists, “travel could be very difficult due to near blizzard conditions in blowing and drifting snow, especially on ridge tops and mountain passes,” according to the winter storm watch issued Sunday. “Icy and snow-packed roads are likely.”

It’s also expected to be cold, with “cold wind chills as low as 20 below zero Tuesday night,” according to the winter storm watch.

Support Local Journalism