Favorite Trails – Whatever The Weather

Sep. 17, 2015


What’s your favorite trail on Vail Mountain? For us, it can depend on the day.

With over 5,200 acres stretched across 7 miles, conditions on your favorite trail can vary depending on what the weather is doing. We asked three Vail aficionados for their advice on how to make the most of the mountain – whatever the weather!

Meet the Panel.

Brian Rodine: Skier/telemark skier. Vail Mountain Environmental Manager and après ski enthusiast who has spent most of his life in Colorado and started skiing before he could talk.

Joel Gratz: Skier. Vail skier since the 2003-2004 season who now chases powder every winter as the Founding Meteorologist at OpenSnow.

Scott Mohr: Snowboarder. Vail local of over a decade, dad, Menswear Manager at Gorsuch LTD. First job in Vail was as a lift operator in Blue Sky Basin.

Favorite Trails/Spots on the Mountain

Favorite spot to go when there’s no new snow in a week or so

Brian: Spots that avoid sun – think thicker evergreen trees and north facing areas that keep the sun from affecting the snow

Joel: Low-angle groomers on the front side. If it’s late season (March & April), hit the bowls in the early-to mid-afternoon once the snow has softened.

Scott: The shaded areas of the front side are best and Northwoods tends to be the place. Gandy Dancer and Northwoods are good go-to’s.


Favorite spot 2 days after the storm

Brian: Watch the wind direction, if it’s blowing from the West for example, places like North Rim and Genghis can reload overnight.

Joel: The moguls near Mountain Top Express Lift (#4) or chair 10 should still be soft enough to keep your knees happy.

Scott: A trek to Blue Sky Basin is generally worth the trip. Grand Review is pretty reliable for soft groomers and a few powder stashes.


Favorite spot after 3″ of snow overnight

Brian: Time to get out the telemark setup and milk hippy turns on groomers with a few inches of fluff on top.

Joel: Anything that was groomed the night before. This amount of new snow won’t give you hero-making pictures, but it can be sneakily fun!

Scott: Check that grooming report! A spot that you found dull the day before will change surprisingly overnight. Everything is fun with a dusting!

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Favorite spot with 10″ falling throughout the day

Brian: Love skiing aspen glades in storm snow. They help with visibility. Who doesn’t love free refills?

Joel: Find the trees, any trees. The bowls can be fun, but with heavy snow falling, visibility in the tree-less bowls can be tough or even impossible.

Scott: Blue Ox. The run is narrow so the visibility is easier to find and the steep terrain will help with the addition of new snow. Go for it.


Favorite spot after 12″ in 24 hours – bluebird morning

Brian: Work your way across the east facing bowls: make sure to wait for patrol to finish up work and drop the rope.

Joel: Get up early, get first chair, and ski until everything is tracked up. Sorry, specific recommendations come from years of “research” and chatting up the locals.

Scott: Sleep in! Not actually, but for the recommendation head to any of Vail’s fabulous Back Bowls.


Favorite spot after 8″ overnight – windy/still snowing

Brian: Like I said above, it’s all about the wind direction. Find out where the snow is blowing to, and go ski it.

Joel: Trees, trees, trees. They block the wind and give you better visibility. Blue Sky Basin has some excellent options.

Scott: The trees will provide shelter from the wind but they also create some incredibly fun snow obstacles. Resolution in Blue Sky Basin will leave you with some other-worldly obstacles to explore.


Favorite spot on a super cold day, with 5″ new snow

Brian: Make sure your skis are tuned on those really cold days or you’ll hear a creaking sound and struggle to keep up with your friends. On a super cold 5 inch day, I’d probably just make a couple front side laps before heading into work, where the coffee is. Maybe end on a top to bottom run from Mountain Top Express Lift (#4) to the base.

Joel: Get on the hill early, ski hard, and then don’t be afraid to download one of the gondolas. I like to ski as much as I can, but after suffering many days with cold hands or feet, I’m not beneath getting a warm ride to the base after making a lot of turns for an hour or two in the morning.

Scott: The front side offers the best opportunity for fun on what should be considered a fun day! Get out that extra layer and face mask and enjoy – generally cold days lead to fewer people but make sure to stay close to your lodges and cocoa.


Favorite spot on a warm spring day, no new snow in a few days

Brian: High Noon Express Lift (#5) laps with pit stops at Hawk’s Deck! Or, I still love to make terrain park laps in Golden Peak, even though at 32 a lot of the kids in there are half my age. I like to think I can still hold my own 😉

Joel: Get a late start to give the snow time to soften. The bowls can be fun by early afternoon and they usually aren’t that crowded.

Scott: Spring…no new snow… Spring days = terrain park laps!


Do you agree with our panel? Let us know your favorite conditions-dependent runs in the comments below!