Blue Sky Basin turns 15!
Since its opening 15 years ago on Jan. 6, 2000, Blue Sky Basin has become a legendary area on Vail Mountain and a favorite amongst locals and guests from around the world. This outer-most area of the resort offers a distinct backcountry feel, complete with glades, cliffs, steeps, and often plenty of powder and fresh tracks within 645 acres of developed ski and snowboard terrain!
In honor and celebration of Blue Sky Basin’s 15th anniversary at Vail Mountain, following is a list of the 15 things we love about this legendary area of Vail Mountain.
1) A Powder Day!
It goes without saying that Blue Sky Basin powder days are the best days! An abundance of powder, fresh tracks and secret stashes await skiers and snowboarders here after recent snowfalls.
2) The Backcountry-Like Feel
Skiers and snowboarders can enjoy all the ambience of the backcountry, including barn-like structures, gladed terrain, cliffs and steeps, all within the safety of the ski resort boundaries. The NSAA even awarded Vail with the Silver Eagle award in 2000 for excellence in visual impact.
3) Its Size
With 645 acres of developed ski and snowboard terrain, Blue Sky Basin alone is bigger than many individual ski resorts around the United States! That’s a lot of terrain to explore in addition to the rest of Vail’s more than 5,000 acres of terrain.
4) Gladed Terrain
Known for its amazing natural gladed terrain, Blue Sky Basin offers fantastic tree skiing in places like Champagne Glade, Steep and Deep, and Resolution.
5) Groomers, too!
Intermediate skiers and snowboarders don’t be shy, Vail Mountain’s snowcats still make the seven-plus mile journey out to Blue Sky Basin each day to groom trails like Big Rock Park, Grand Review and The Star.
6) Grilling at Belle’s Camp
Pack up the burgers and brats, and head out to Blue Sky Basin’s Belle’s Camp for the ultimate on-mountain barbeque complete with expansive views of the Sawatch Mountains and Ten-Mile range.
7) The Views
Blue Sky Basin’s terrain isn’t the only thing that takes your breath away in this outer-most area on Vail Mountain. Panoramic views of surrounding mountain peaks and of Vail’s legendary Back Bowls are just as impressive as the sheer variety of terrain.
8) Lover’s Leap
Whether you take the plunge solo, or with a partner, Blue Sky Basin’s Lover’s Leap is sure to get your heart pounding as you slide up to the edge of the cornice and take a leap of faith onto the steep snow surface below.
9) Choose Your Own Adventure through Big Rock Park
No two runs are ever the same when skiing and snowboarding down Big Rock Park. Stick to the main-groomed trail, weave in and out of tree islands, pop into the trees for fresh powder, and make this run all your own!
10) Dawg Haus
Break for a brew and a brat at this trail-side hot dog stand in between laps on Pete’s Express Lift (#39). It’s the perfect quick lunch stop for hungry skiers and snowboarders who don’t want to break from their powder laps for too long.
11) The Name and Historical Connection
The name of the area honors the Ute Indians, the original settlers of the Vail Valley, who were referred to as the “Blue Sky People.” The tribute, combined with Colorado’s brilliant blue skies inspired the name Blue Sky Basin. The area also pays tribute to Vail’s founders in the names of two of the three Blue Sky Basin chairlifts – Earl’s Express Lift (#38) and Pete’s Express Lift (#39).
12) While the Snow’s Away, the Wildlife Can Play!
As part of the approval for Blue Sky Basin, the U.S. Forest Service implemented a Supervisor’s Closure on the Back Bowls and Blue Sky Basin to protect elk calving habitat from early-May to the end of June and no organized summer activities are allowed.
13) The Fireplace at Belle’s Camp
Head inside Belle’s Camp to warm up by the fire on a snowy winter’s day.
14) The Snow Stake Cam
Your best source for live, up-to-the-minute snowfall totals in Blue Sky Basin. Check out the online camera to see for yourself how much snow fell in the past 24 hours.
15) Last, but certainly not least…
That one particular line in that one particular place on an epic powder day – you know the one!
What do you love about Blue Sky Basin? Share your favorites with Vail throughout the month of January by tagging @VailMtn on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and using the hashtag #BlueSkyBasin.