Vail closes (again) after surge of April snow

Far better snow year boosts skier numbers, expectations for next season

By Real Vail
Real AspenApril 22, 2013
Vail’s 50th anniversary season was an eventful one, starting with a lot of celebratory hoopla, the opening of a new gondola, and ending (twice) with a massive amount of late-season snow.

After initially shutting down for the season right on schedule on Sunday, April 14, so much snow fell that Vail officials re-opened this past weekend.

Vail Resorts on Monday reported that through April 14 skier visits at its four Colorado resorts and three California ski areas were up 5.5 percent compared to last season, with lift-ticket revenues up more than 10 percent.

Vail closed for the season on Sunday, April 21, along with a handful of other resorts that cranked up the lifts for one last hurrah.

Breckenridge, Powderhorn and Copper Mountain also enjoyed a second (albeit short) ski season, closing again on Sunday. And Winter Park always planned to close on that date.
Scenes like this were common at Vail in April (Vail Resorts photo).

Now the only remaining ski areas still open for business in Colorado are Aspen Highlands (re-opening for the weekend of April 27-28 and then shutting down for the season), Loveland (closing on Sunday, May 5) and Arapahoe Basin (closing on Sunday, June 2).

A-Basin and Loveland could see good powder Tuesday morning as yet another storm slams the state starting today (Monday).

“More snow will fall today [Monday] and tonight with the deepest accumulations east of the divide,” reports “A few snow showers will linger on Tuesday, then warmer weather is in store from Wednesday through the weekend with just a few high elevation snow showers … It looks like we'll achieve peak snowpack for the state on Tuesday and then the melt-out will commence. It's been a great April for snow.”

Indeed. On April 4 Vail was well below average with just 250 inches and only 10 days until the originally scheduled closing date. Vail averages 350 inches a year.

Then the heavens opened up, and on the second closing day on Sunday Vail was reporting 330 inches of seasonal snowfall (just 20 inches below average), with a base depth of 67 inches and 47 inches in the last week.

Better snow means better financial performance in the ski industry, and Vail Resorts enjoyed a solid rebound from the record warm and dry 2011-12 season.

"As the 2012-2013 ski season comes to a close, we are very pleased with the strong results this season," Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz said in a press release. "The growth in skier visitation continued to accelerate through Spring Break and the Easter holiday, which contributed to our double-digit growth in lift ticket, dining and ski school revenues compared to the same period last year, offset by somewhat slower momentum at our Tahoe resorts and our retail business."

Katz added the company now has momentum heading into next season.

"I am pleased to report that our spring season pass sales for the 2013-2014 ski season are off to a strong start, showing good momentum over last spring's record results for the program. This early momentum highlights the compelling value of our pass product offering and our guests' continued loyalty to the unsurpassed experiences at our resorts."

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Snow Report

  24hr snow mid dpth snow cond.
A-Basin n/a n/a
Aspen n/a n/a closed
BC n/a n/a closed
Breckenridge n/a n/a closed
Buttermilk n/a n/a closed
Copper n/a n/a closed
Crest. Butte n/a n/a closed
Eldora n/a n/a closed
Heavenly n/a n/a closed
Highlands n/a n/a
Howelsen n/a n/a closed
Keystone n/a n/a closed
Kirkwood n/a n/a closed
Loveland n/a n/a
Monarch n/a n/a closed
Northstar n/a n/a closed
Powderhorn n/a n/a closed
Purgatory n/a n/a closed
Silverton n/a n/a closed
Ski Cooper n/a n/a closed
Ski Granby n/a n/a closed
Snowmass n/a n/a closed
Steamboat n/a n/a closed
Sunlight n/a n/a closed
Telluride n/a n/a closed
Vail n/a n/a closed
WinterPark n/a n/a closed
Wolf Creek n/a n/a closed
More Weather Reports
Vail powder day snow snake
Airing it out at Crested Butte
Feb. 17, 2011 Surprise 14 inches of Fresh Powder