Vail Mountain launches its first snow cannons of the ski and hiking season


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

Vail Resorts wastes no time getting ready for winter. With the peak of leaf season barely behind Eagle County, a Thursday morning Instagram post from Vail Mountain’s official account shows the season’s first snow cannons firing in preparation for opening day. scheduled for November 11.

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

Last year, Wolf Creek beat Arapahoe Basin and Keystone as the first resort to open in the state, opening Oct. 16. 30.

A spokesperson for Vail Resorts was unavailable for comment Thursday.

Preparing conditions for the early start relies on artificial snow cannons, a strategy Vail Mountain has invested heavily in with its 2019 Snow Improvement Project, which brought 421 new snow cannons to the mountain, covering more than 500 acres of land.

Last year, opening day focused exclusively around Chair 4, leading to a limited selection of mid-Vail trails including Ramshorn and Swingsville. The artificial surface provided a solid base under an inch of natural snow that arrived overnight, and it is this foundation that the resort is beginning to build to ensure riding conditions in less than a month.

Beaver Creek Mountain’s snow guns are also ready to go, but staff are waiting for the weather to cool down to a suitable temperature before turning on their snow cannons. Beaver Creek is scheduled to open Nov. 24.

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

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