Vail Back Bowls opening announcement expected today

Fresh snow forecast today through Sunday

By KLVV V-squared
Real VailJanuary 18, 2012
Ten inches of fresh snow at Vail on Monday has Vail Ski Patrol very close to opening significant portions of the Back Bowls for the first time this season.

Part of Sun Up Bowl was opened briefly on Saturday, but the Back Bowls have been closed ever since, including during Tuesday's powder day.

“We'll likely be making a bowl opening announcement [today] related to China and Sun Up -- probably for tomorrow,” Vail officials said this morning on the Vail Mountain Facebook page.

An extremely dry month of December meant Vail's Back Bowls remained closed to skiing and snowboarding this late in the season for the first time in 30 years.

Finally ... a powder day at Vail on Tuesday.
Jack Affleck/Vail Resorts

A favorable jet stream and a looming storm cycle that promises fresh snow today through Sunday means Vail this week will be able to dramatically increase its skiable terrain.

After Monday's 10-inch storm, Vail now has had more than 100 inches of snow for the season (105) and a 28-inch settled mid-mountain base. The resort has seen 17 inches in the last week, but still only has 21 of 31 lifts running and just 1,603 of 5,289 skiable acres available.

That's about to change in a big way.

“Stay tuned for a Back Bowl/Blue Sky Basin update [today],” Vail officials wrote on Facebook Tuesday. “Ski Patrol's back there on a daily basis scoping out conditions; hopefully we'll have them for you soon.” is calling for several small storms to deposit a few inches of new snow today through Friday, with a much bigger storm hitting the Vail Valley this weekend. Today and Thursday will see high winds that will make for challenging conditions and could shut down upper lifts.

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center is warning backcountry skiers to use extreme caution because of wind slabs over a “highly variable snowpack.”

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