VAIL — In a surprise announcement Monday, Vail Resorts extended the ski season at Vail Mountain through May 1.
The extension, as well as the mountain Opening November 12 this season will create Vail Mountain’s longest continuous season in its 59-year history, resort officials confirmed.
“Thanks to the mountain’s investment in snowmaking, passholders and guests will be able to enjoy an additional week of legendary spring skiing and riding,” the resort said in a statement. “The extended week will provide more value for pass holders and guests, and is the perfect way for the local community to end an incredible winter season.”
Beth Howard, vice president and chief operating officer of Vail Mountain, said the resort was very pleased to report the news.
“This extension is made entirely possible by the dedicated mountain staff who have worked to provide guests with an exceptional winter season,” Howard said. “We are truly grateful for everyone’s hard work to open over 5,100 acres of land and for our longest season on record.”
In 2019, Vail Mountain invested in the largest snowmaking improvement project in North America, creating a new early season experience on the mountain. But the off-season will also be revolutionized by the artificial snow system, says the resort, this year serving as an example.
“Despite challenging weather conditions early in the season, the resort’s snowmaking efforts have resulted in a phenomenal skiing and gliding experience this year, laying the foundation for this season’s extension,” the statement said.
Vail received over a foot of snow over the past week, bringing the total accumulation for this season to 193 inches.
Land offerings for the end-of-season experience will depend on snow and weather conditions, according to the release.
In a month of February announcement Detailing the resort’s decision to forgo tubing for this season, Vail said the snow used to make the tubing lanes would be repurposed to create a supportive spring skiing experience.
A spokesperson for Vail Resorts said Monday that although the decision to go tubing was made separately from the decision to extend spring skiing, the snow from the tubing hill could come in handy in late April.
“This snow will be used around the mountain throughout the spring,” said John Plack, senior communications manager for Vail and Beaver Creek.
Other properties too
Vail Mountain isn’t the only Vail Resorts property offering skiing through May.
Breckenridge in recent years has also remained open through May, setting Memorial Day as its goal.
Last season, Breckenridge Mountain kept the lifts in operation until May 23.
“Starting in late April, intermediate, advanced and expert skiers and snowboarders can celebrate spring and get into the snow long after many resorts have closed for the season, with access to iconic high mountain terrain throughout May through peaks 6, 7, and 8,” according to a statement from the resort town of Breckenridge.
In California, the Vail Resorts mountains of Heavenly and Kirkwood also announced season extensions on Monday. Heavenly plans to stay open an additional week with plans to close the lifts after its last day on Sunday April 24; and Kirkwood remains open for a further three weeks with plans to close after its last day on Sunday May 1.
In January, Vail Resorts announcement all full-time and part-time hourly employees would be eligible for a $2 per hour bonus for all hours worked from January 1, 2022 until the end of the season, or April 15 if the season lasts longer long time.
Plack confirmed Monday that any employees who cannot stay will still receive their end-of-season bonus for hours worked through the end of their scheduled season.
“For employees who can stay with us through May 1, those hours will count toward the $2 per hour end-of-season bonus,” Plack said.