Vail drops ropes on Sun Down Bowl, the last of Back Bowls to open |

Vail drops ropes on Sun Down Bowl, the last of Back Bowls to open

John LaConte
Vail Daily
Blair Brewer, left, and Connor Smith look into Sun Down Bowl on Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023 during the bowl's first day of opening for the 2022-23 season. Conditions were challenging but snow was plentiful.
John LaConte/Vail Daily

VAIL — Vail Mountain dropped the ropes Tuesday on Sun Down Bowl, the last piece of the Back Bowls to open for the season.

While there has been ample snow this season, a haul rope to be used for the new Sun Down Express lift had been laying on the runs, creating an obvious hazard. The recent hanging of those cables has now made the area safe for skiers and riders.

The lift will be a four-person detachable quad from Leitner-Poma, transporting guests along a new lift line on Vail Mountain. That lift line will run from the bottom of the High Noon Express (No. 5) line to the top of the Wildwood area on Vail Mountain, where the Wildwood Express (No. 3) lift meets Game Creek Express (No. 7).

Skiers take the popular run “Forever” on Vail Mountain, which opened for the season on Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023. Forever takes skiers to the High Noon Express lift.
John LaConte/Vail Daily

Visiting from Oklahoma, Blair Brewer and Connor Smith said they felt lucky to catch the opening of the Sun Down Bowl.

“We definitely noticed some new stuff open this year,” Smith said.

John Shannon, locally known as “The Colorado Kid,” said he too felt fortunate to catch the morning rope drop, but found the conditions difficult.

“Snow is great, visibility was minimal, could not see a blessed thing,” he said. “Had a nice run down, choice to do it again was Ramshorn to Chair 3, decided to go to Blue Sky and ski the trees…”

Vail reported 5 inches to start the ski day, and more fell throughout the day.

Snow was falling on the mountain on Tuesday as crews worked on the Sun Down Express lift, and more is in the forecast for this week. The National Weather Service’s Grand Junction office issued a winter weather advisory for this week on Monday, saying snow is possible on Wednesday.

The advisory specifically mentions the Vail area.

“Plan on slippery road conditions especially along I-70 from the town of Vail to Vail Pass,” according to the advisory. “Patchy blowing snow could significantly reduce visibility.”

The 5 inches Vail Mountain reported brought the resort to 169 total this season, nearly 4 feet more than Vail had at this time last season.

Sun Down Bowl opened to skiers and snowboarders on Vail Mountain on Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023. The bowl was the last of Vail’s seven Back Bowls to open this season.
John LaConte/Vail Daily

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