VAIL, Colo. (press release) - Vail is set to open this Saturday, Nov. 16 with morethan 2,300 acres of skiing and riding-the most terrain open in North America.The recent cycle of winter storms have dumped nearly seven feet on Vail sinceNov. 1, allowing the ski area to move up its opening date for the 2002-2003season with the best early season conditions since 1992.
"We have not experienced snow conditions this exceptional in 10 years," saidBill Jensen, Vail chief operating officer. "We are providing guests with a skiexperience they normally would find during the Christmas holidays."
As of today, the ski area is reporting 78 inches of snowfall at mid-mountainmarkers since Nov. 1 with a mid-mountain settled base of 32 inches. Vail'scumulative snowfall since Nov.1 has already surpassed the average snowfall forthe entire month of November and more is expected to fall this week. The aboveaverage snow will allow the resort to open the original Back Bowls-Sun Up andSun Down- and the majority of the front side of Vail Mountain this weekend. Theresort plans to open additional terrain on Saturday, Nov. 23 including GameCreek Bowl.
On Saturday, Nov. 16, skiers and snowboarders will be able to access themountain beginning at 9 a.m. out of Lionshead and Vail Village. The resort willopen a total of 10 lifts, giving skiers and snowboarders access to 2,331 acresof terrain on the front side of the mountain and in Sun Up and Sun Down bowls.The ski area will operate 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
On opening day, the Lionshead, Vail Village and Mid-Vail Ski and SnowboardSchools will open for adult ski and snowboard lessons. The Lionshead Children'sSki and Snowboard School will be open for children's lessons. The Small WorldPlay School in Golden Peak also will open to provide childcare.
Skiers and snowboarders will be able to stop by a number of on-mountainrestaurants for dining including Buffalo's at the top of the Mountain TopExpress, Wildwood at the top of the Wildwood Express, Eagle's Nest and Mid-Vail.
Thanksgiving Terrain Opening
Vail anticipates opening the rest of the resort's terrain by Wednesday, Nov. 27giving skiers and snowboarders access to approximately 5,000 acres of terrain intime for the Thanksgiving holiday. This includes China Bowl and Blue Sky Basin.
"We are excited to be able to offer our guests the full Vail experience- thefront side, Back Bowls and Blue Sky Basin-this early in the season," saidJensen. "It's an historical first that our Thanksgiving visitors will haveaccess to nearly the entire mountain including Blue Sky Basin."
Beaver Creek will open for the 2002-2003 season Saturday, Nov. 23 with recordsnowfall, allowing the resort to open more than 950 acres of terrain, served byseven lifts, including Rose Bowl, Larkspur Bowl and Grouse Mountain. BeaverCreek is reporting a 28-inch settled base at mid-mountain with more snow athigher elevations.
With the amount of terrain that will be available to guests during theThanksgiving holiday, Vail and Beaver Creek have lifted all pass restrictionsfor Nov. 29 and 30 on their season pass products including the Colorado Pass,Value Pass, Merchant Pass, Young Adult Pass, Senior Value Pass, all employeepasses and employee dependant passes.
Early season skiers and snowboarders can take advantage of free parking in theTown of Vail parking structures this weekend. The parking structures are locatedin Vail Village and Lionshead. However, due to the anticipated crowds for Vail'sopening weekend, the Town of Vail and Vail Mountain are encouraging skiers andsnowboarders to help the environment and relieve parking congestion bycarpooling to the mountain.