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Vail Heads Up Mountain With All-In Snowmaking For Opening Day

Vail-Snowmaking-Map The graphic map shows the extent of Vail's snowmaking project around the upper mountain. (Courtesy Vail.com)

Because of a huge snowmaking project begun this summer, Vail Mountain managers are more confident than ever that the Nov. 15 opening day will have the best skiing and riding conditions ever on Colorado's largest mountain.

A number of seasons since 2000 have had less than adequate coverage at Vail, so owners Vail Resorts decided to do something about that.

The result: More than 400 new snow guns and 19 miles more delivery pipes will add 50 percent more terrain with artificial snow. Most of it is on the upper mountains, where temps get colder sooner, and all have been installed on beginner and intermediate trails.

In a sense, the early-season skiing and riding will take place from Mid-Vail up, rather than around the Lionshead base area. The top of Gondola 1 will become the new base area, with access to popular beginner and intermediate runs. Plus, a lift on Golden Peak will open right away for never-evers and rank beginners.

At lower elevations, Vail will focus on Bear Tree run and others that provide a route back to the base village.

“We’re really changing our operation from the Born Free scenario opening to the Mid-Vail scenario,” says Director of Snowmaking Dave Tucholke. “We’re taking the snowmaking up top of the mountain so we can take advantage of colder temperatures sooner. We’ll be so much more effective there.”

Vail Resorts owns 37 ski and snowboard resorts across North America, Europe, and the Far East. Snowmaking has become a corporate priority, so visitors to many of Vail-owned mountains will begin to see an upgrade in the production of artificial snow early in the season.




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