The O. Zone

Steady snow could mean more open terrain at Vail

By David O. Williams
Real AspenJanuary 16, 2012

It's been snowing steadily all morning in Vail, where forecasters are calling for 4-8 inches of new snow today and another 1-3 tonight.

That means today will be one of those fill-in-your-tracks-behind-you days that actually gets better with each run. And the storm has now slowed down enough that more snow than expected will fall after the lifts have shut down tonight, making Tuesday a potentially very nice powder day.

It also means ropes could drop today or Tuesday in the Back Bowls.

On Saturday, Chair 17 in Sun Up Bowl opened in the afternoon, but then the lift did not open again on Sunday. There was no formal announcement, just the following post on Vail's Facebook page on Saturday:

“If you've heard that Chair 17 has opened this afternoon here's the scoop. The forecasts for next week suggest a huge storm front moving in Monday and into next week. We want to get skiers into the back bowls to begin tracking things out in anticipation. Chair 17 is open on a controlled basis for this reason - with only limited skiers allowed. It may not be open tomorrow [Sunday].

Sun Up Bowl at Vail on Saturday.

“But, if the predicted snows come, our intention is to begin opening parts of the back bowls as possible after Monday's snow and beyond. Stay tuned here and on Twitter and for up to the minute updates.”

I got in there Saturday and it was fun, but of course it will be a lot more fun with a bunch of fresh snow. is calling for a much more favorable jet stream that will be bring several small storms Wednesday through Sunday, each depositing a couple of inches, and then another potential big one to start next week.

People keep saying we need a foot or two of new snow to fully open the Back Bowls – which were shut down this late in the season for the first time in 30 years – but actually a lot of little storms can do the trick too, as long as it stays cold and the snow we do get holds up.

Keep your fingers (and your ski tips) crossed.

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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
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