As snow piles up at Vail, more ropes drop and new terrain opens

Whistle Pig, Zot and Christmas open for the season, bringing terrain offering to around 120 acres

Nate Peterson
Vail Daily
Fresh tracks can be seen in the morning off to the side of the Mountaintop Express at Vail on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022. The mountain received 9 inches of snowfall overnight.
Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily

The early birds get the powder turns — always. That was the case Tuesday morning, Nov. 15, at Vail as skiers and snowboarders who arrived first got dibs on 9 inches of fresh snow that fell overnight.

There was also virgin terrain to be had as ropes dropped for the season on Zot, Whistle Pig and Christmas from the top of the Mountaintop Express (Chair 4). The new terrain brings Vail’s current offering to around 120 acres, said John Plack, the senior communications manager for Vail and Beaver Creek.

Plack added that crews at Vail are working hard on connecting top-to-bottom skiing and village-to-village skiing. The recent cold temperatures have allowed mountain operations to blow snow around the clock.

At Vail, skiers and riders currently have to download Gondola One to Vail Village or the Eagle Bahn Gondola to Lionshead to get back to the base.

Off the Eagle Bahn Gondola, where skiers and riders can access the Eagle’s Nest beginner area, Plack said the focus for snowmaking crews has been getting Born Free up and running

“We’re really working on Born Free, and then hopefully we’ll get some more action over there as we continue to make snow,” Plack said.

Prior to an unprecedented snowmaking upgrade ahead of the 2019-20 season, Vail Mountain’s opening historically featured terrain out of Lionshead Village, particularly Born Free.

More snow is in the local forecast, as well, with the National Weather Service calling for likely snow showers arriving Thursday into Thursday night.

At Beaver Creek, crews are hard at work getting the mountain ready for the resort’s slated Wednesday, Nov. 23, start while also working on the racecourse for this year’s Birds of Prey World Cup races.

“The team has definitely had a lot of really great opportunities to make snow,” Plack said. “It’s really looking good. The mountain is in a much different spot than we were last year.”

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