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Vail Back Bowls

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

Anyone have any thoughts/speculation on when the back bowls could open?

post #2 of 21
When there is enough snow to cover the trail. Could be tomorrow if there is a 12 inch dump; could be never if nothing drops. Sorry to be snarky, but kind of obvious, no?
post #3 of 21
I think Vail has received 75 inches so far this season. I think that when they get close to 100 in. The prospects for the bowls to open are pretty decent. Tons of variables regarding this in addition to snowfall inches YTD , but 100 in. resonates in my head as a snowfall level that should allow the bowls to open.

Open Snow believes prospects for a decent snow fall exists around the 12 th of the month with a couple less significant snow possibilities before that.

Hopefully the bowls will be open before Christmas
post #4 of 21

Along with the OP's question...will Vail open the back bowls as soon as possible (in terms of snow depth)? Or do they hold out until the crowds start building and they need the extra terrain (regardless of snow)? 

post #5 of 21

Its snow-dependent and not crowd-dependent.  

post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by roundturns View Post

I think Vail has received 75 inches so far this season. I think that when they get close to 100 in. The prospects for the bowls to open are pretty decent. Tons of variables regarding this in addition to snowfall inches YTD , but 100 in. resonates in my head as a snowfall level that should allow the bowls to open.

Open Snow believes prospects for a decent snow fall exists around the 12 th of the month with a couple less significant snow possibilities before that.

Hopefully the bowls will be open before Christmas

Thanks for the reply. I heard a rumor that Sundown might open today but I guess not.

I'm coming 12/19 and read Opensnow daily so I have hope 3 storms before Christmas week might do the trick.

Appreciate the insight
post #7 of 21

A relevant older link from Vail's blog : http://blog.vail.com/vails-back-bowls/

 

According to @Tony Crocker 's Vail page the back bowls are open by Christmas about 75% of the time. Given that this is looking like a decent snow year, I'd guess chances are good for Christmas, and possibly earlier. 

post #8 of 21

Vail opening the back bowls is entirely snow-dependent, not crowd-dependent and they want to get them open as early as it is safely possible as it is also good for marketing, PR, and future bookings/skier visits to do so.

 

It isn't so much the YTD snowfall as it is the base that drives when the bowls will open.  Typically, most advanced terrain / non-snowmaking areas need a 36" base to open (and stay open) to enable skier to sufficiently compact the snow into a base without skiing everything down to dirt.  Portions of the back bowls could open with less more in the 30" range (bring your rock skis), particularly the more mellow areas and that is mostly grassy underneath, but rockier and steeper areas need more base to open safely.

 

Vail need about 1 more good 12-15" storm-cycle to get portions of the Back Bowls and Blue Sky Basin open. The current snow there would act as a decent base for new snow to fall and be compacted on top of to allow for a sustainable base to get through the holiday season, which will take a beating on the surface without replenishing new snow.  Blue Sky tends to hold better snow than the Back Bowls since it faces north and has more favorable wind-loading and protection.

 

My unscientifc estimates using recent memory:

10% chance open by Thanksgiving

25% chance open by first weekend in Dec

50% chance open by second weekend in Dec

75% chance open by third weekend in Dec/weekend prior to Christmas

100% chance open by end of Jan

post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 
Great response
post #10 of 21

Surprised this didn't show up here yet - some of the Back Bowls have opened!

 

https://vimeo.com/147664681

post #11 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by afski722 View Post
 

Vail opening the back bowls is entirely snow-dependent, not crowd-dependent and they want to get them open as early as it is safely possible as it is also good for marketing, PR, and future bookings/skier visits to do so.

 

I was skeptical of bowl opening being "entirely snow-dependent" when the statement was made a week ago.  Since then it snowed 3" and Vail plans to open blue sky and more back bowls tomorrow.

 

Vail is highly motivated to have as much open as possible for the rush on Dec 26 and that is the primary factor in my opinion.  Yes, they'd also like good PR and they care about mid Dec. customers but it's a lower priority. 

post #12 of 21
Vail has big storm potential on the horizon as well .

If it looked dry for the next several weeks,they may not have opened some of these bowls.
post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by nathanvg View Post
 

 

I was skeptical of bowl opening being "entirely snow-dependent" when the statement was made a week ago.  Since then it snowed 3" and Vail plans to open blue sky and more back bowls tomorrow.

 

Vail is highly motivated to have as much open as possible for the rush on Dec 26 and that is the primary factor in my opinion.  Yes, they'd also like good PR and they care about mid Dec. customers but it's a lower priority. 

 

 

I skiied Blue Sky today, opening day for the season, and it was amazing, simply amazing. Typically, I ski groomed runs (blues / blacks) and ventured into Blue Sky today -- never have I felt more inadequate, lol. Cloud 9 and Big Rock park, no problem, they were fun groomed Blues to cruise down a few laps. Then, and this is where my inadequacy showed, my sister, who knows my ski level, convinced me to try In The Woods. She said that it was amazing powder and was having a blast lapping it. Well I have never encountered 3 foot deep, basically untracked at EOD,  powder, and my powder skiing is shoddy at best.  It's a touch windblown at the top, but shoot between the two lifts and don't follow the ridge trail back down the lift to get there, and you will find some great powder, or as I now call it, my nemesis.  It took me an hour to work / fall my way down the mountain! 

 

if you're a POW chaser, you need to be there tomorrow!

post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by thumpcbd View Post
 

 

 

I skiied Blue Sky today, opening day for the season, and it was amazing, simply amazing. Typically, I ski groomed runs (blues / blacks) and ventured into Blue Sky today -- never have I felt more inadequate, lol. Cloud 9 and Big Rock park, no problem, they were fun groomed Blues to cruise down a few laps. Then, and this is where my inadequacy showed, my sister, who knows my ski level, convinced me to try In The Woods. She said that it was amazing powder and was having a blast lapping it. Well I have never encountered 3 foot deep, basically untracked at EOD,  powder, and my powder skiing is shoddy at best.  It's a touch windblown at the top, but shoot between the two lifts and don't follow the ridge trail back down the lift to get there, and you will find some great powder, or as I now call it, my nemesis.  It took me an hour to work / fall my way down the mountain! 

 

if you're a POW chaser, you need to be there tomorrow!

Here's guessing the 3 feet was very heavy snow. Ive doen BLue Sky ,China ,etc on their opening and the snow was heavy as hell from sitting there for weeks. 

post #15 of 21

The wind event last Friday didn't help.  It was pretty challenging skiing until Sunday.

 

 

 

Of course, some new fat skis would have made the world, your oyster!

post #16 of 21


That is me stuck for 20 minutes after the first opening of China Bowl on the Genghis Khan run at the bottom .
post #17 of 21
Vail seems to be "stuck" at 78% terrain open for the last week or so. Anyone want to start a pool on when the remaining terrain will be opened?

With all the snow in the forecast this week, I hope it will be soon.
post #18 of 21

I haven't been there yet this year but I'd estimate about 95% to be open before new years.

post #19 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by nathanvg View Post

I haven't been there yet this year but I'd estimate about 95% to be open before new years.

Nice estimate. It's 97% as of Christmas Day.
post #20 of 21

Skied about a dozen runs in the back bowls yesterday.  Didn't see anything that was closed, although I imagine there was. Zero crowds; literally skied on to No. 5 each time through singles line.  Regular line was never more than 4 or 5 groups deep.  Snow was super; fairly heavy powder from 16 new over past two days; windblown in spots. Today's report is no guarantee of tomorrow's conditions, especially at Vail when the hoards hit.

post #21 of 21

 

Bluebird day from Chair 17.

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