Vail Mountain unleashes its first snow guns of the ski and ride season |

Vail Mountain unleashes its first snow guns of the ski and ride season

Carolyn Paletta
Vail Daily

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct which ski resorts are owned by Vail Resorts.

Vail Resorts is wasting no time preparing for winter. With the peak of leaf-peeping season barely behind Eagle County, an Instagram post early Thursday from Vail Mountain’s official account shows the first snow guns of the season firing up in preparation for the resort’s projected Nov. 11 Opening Day.

Keystone Resort and Arapahoe Basin Ski Area in Summit County are slated to be the first to open with target dates of mid-October, though officials have said this prediction may be delayed due to higher-than-anticipated temperatures this week. Breckenridge, like Vail, is slated to start spinning chairs on Nov. 11.

Last year, Wolf Creek beat Arapahoe Basin and Keystone as the first resort to open in the state, opening on Oct. 16. A-Basin’s lifts started turning the following day, and Keystone opened on Oct. 22, followed by Loveland on Oct. 30.

A Vail Resorts spokesperson was unavailable for comment Thursday.

Getting conditions ready for the early start relies on man-made snowmaking machines, a strategy that Vail Mountain invested heavily in with its 2019 Snowmaking Enhancement Project, which brought 421 new snow guns to the mountain, covering over 500 acres of terrain.

Last year’s Opening Day was concentrated exclusively around Chair 4, leading into a limited selection of runs at mid-Vail including Ramshorn and Swingsville. The man-made surface provided a strong base below an inch of natural snow that came in overnight, and it is that foundation that the resort is beginning to build to ensure rideable conditions in less than a month’s time.

The snowmakers on Beaver Creek Mountain are also ready to go, but staff is waiting for weather conditions to drop to an adequate temperature before firing up its snow guns. Beaver Creek is projected to open on Nov. 24.

For up-to-date information on snowmaking progress, follow @vailmtn on Instagram.

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