Vail Conditions Update Jan 5 – Jan 12

Jan. 12, 2014

DCIM102GOPROBwana Terrain Park this morning

Update, January 12th, 10:45am. You wouldn’t be able to tell from the snow report this morning, but today sure feels like a powder day.  It’s been snowing big fat flakes non-stop since 7:00am this morning, most of them are coming sideways due to the wind. Conditions are very-very cold and windy, but the snow is soft and deep. Find lines in between the trees to have better visibility and make many warming stops at any of the restaurants, lodges, or warming huts, as the weather is pretty intense up there. Blue Sky Basin and the Back Bowls haven’t opened and most likely they won’t open at all today. The frontside, both gondolas, and even bottom lifts are best suited for today’s conditions that would send Roald Amundsen back to his tent. Snow is accumulating very fast, so by the end of the day expect at least half a foot of snow. Tomorrow’s snow report will likely be in the double digits!


Sun Up Lift (#17), early yesterday. 

January 12th 2014. Did you miss the 10″ we received in the past 48hrs? No need to worry as today might not be a powder day, but it will be a snow day allright, with snow falling throughout the day. Up to a foot of snow, and possibly more is expected after the latest storm has passed Vail. The National Weather Service has the area under a Winter Storm Watch until 5pm on monday. So expect soft turns, a lot of powder–and cold–conditions on the mountain. Tomorrow, with some luck, we should have yet another powder day!  


Turns so deep today, you can hardly see the skiers!

Update 10:30am, January 11th, 2014. 4 words: BLUE. BIRD. POWDER.DAY!

DCIM101GOPROThe view from Mountain Top Express (#4) yesterday morning

January 11th, 2014. Today is setting up to be one of the best days of the season; 10″ of cold smoke have fallen in the past 24hrs and 16″ in the past 48hrs!  The cherry on top of all that untracked snow is waiting somewhere in Blue Sky Basin or China Bowl. Yesterday both of them closed early due to inclement weather conditions, so if the weather cooperates today and Ski Patrol deems the terrain safe, some lucky riders and skiers will be able binge on more than a foot of untracked powder when the lifts start running and the rope drops! Getting early to Skyline Express (#37) and Orient Express Lift (#21) will be worth it. To be one step ahead, ask any of the on-mountain safety personnel–easily recognizable in their famous yellow jackets–for updates on exact opening times or any other useful information about the bowls and Blue Sky Basin. Terrain under Earl’s Express (#38) and Pete’s Express (#39) should be particularly engorged with snow due to wind loading, just keep an eye for snowdrifts, as it’s been pretty windy back there for the past few days


DCIM101GOPROBlue Ox, on January 10th

Update, 10:15am, January 10th, 2014. On days like these, it’s easy to get carried away, so to maintain decorum I should limit myself to only one superlative adjective to describe the conditions in Vail Mountain this morning. So today January 10th the conditions on the mountain are: supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!  Enough said, get your skis, get your snowboard, or even your snowlerblades, but get up there!

January 10th, 2014. Have you used all your sick days? If not today is the day to call in with a major cold.

 Because a major cold front just dropped another 6″ of snow in the past 24hrs and and 11″ in the past 48hrs. Without crowds to track out the powder, Blue Sky Basin should be skiing much deeper than the 6″ reported by Ski Patrol at 5am this morning. If you’re in a hurry to get there, the fastest way up to Blue Sky is to take Riva Bahn Express (#6), unload at the midway station, and skate to Highline (#10) lift. Highline will take you to the top of the China Bowls and from there all you need to do is drop until you reach the base of Blue Sky Basin. Have fun on your “sick day”!

Snow conditions in Colorado

Skier on Gandy Dancer

January 9th, 2014. 5″ of snow in the past 24hrs is just the preamble for all the snow that could potentially arrive this weekend.  The National Weather Service has Vail under a Winter Weather Advisory from 3pm today until 6 pm on Friday (full Weather Advisory here). So rejoice Powder Aficionados! A major Powder Weekend is on its way! Snow is expected everyday from today until Sunday with biggest accumulations coming on Friday during the day, and even into Saturday morning. Vail already has most of it’s terrain open, including the Back Bowls, Blue Sky Basin, and Terrain Parks, so this weekend will likely be a memorable one. Be there or be square.

DCIM101GOPROBlue Sky Basin seen from the Two Elk Lodge

January 8th, 2014. 2″ of snow fell in the past 24hrs, which is just icing on the big New Year’s cake Vail is still enjoying.

 The forecast calls for snow through the week, and with sparse crowds through the mountain, conditions are ideal to explore every corner in great snow conditions. Temperatures–as in the rest of the country–will be unusually cold, so be sure to cover any exposed skin today.


January is Vail’s Safety Month

Update, 10:00am, January 7th. Sun is out, but so is Jack Frost.  Temperatures are still in the single digits, which also means that powder is as soft as the day it fell. Despite the chilly temperatures, the mountain is in great conditions. Even south facing bowls have accumulated some wind-blown powder and offer great deep turns. Enjoy the sunny day!

Blog_0108Sunrise over Riva Ridge from Gondola One

January 7th, 2014. Another blue bird day, but a storm is moving in. Snow is expected Thursday and Friday, so enjoy the sun today! 19″ have fallen in the past 7 days, and the forecast is optimistic that Vail will receive several inches of snow by the time the storm has passed (full snow report and forecast here). January has been a great month so far, allowing Ski Patrol to open over 4500 acres. Speaking of Ski Patrol, January is Safety Month, so be sure to thank Ski Patrollers this month for keeping the mountain safe for everyone to enjoy, and be sure to wear your helmet. (To learn more about on-mountain safety click here)


Sunrise over Vail’s Mountain Plaza, January 6th 2014

Update 10:10am, January 6th, 2014. No winds and not a cloud in the sky. It’s still cold but the sun has come out warming up this stunning blue bird day. Holiday crowds are gone and the snow is just getting here. Enjoy this sunny day before the next storm arrives!

Ultimas noticias 10:10am, 6 de enero, 2014. No hay viento y ni una nube en el cielo. Todavía hace mucho frio pero ya salio el sol que esta calentando este espectacular dia. Las multitudes de fin de año ya se fueron pero la nieve apenas esta llegando ¡Aprovecha  este dia antes de que llegue la siguiente tormenta!

January 6th, 2014. The new year is still dropping snowflakes and it doesn’t look like it’s stopping any time soon. 3″ fell in the past 24hrs, bringing the 48hr total to 10″ and the 7 day total to 19″! Today expect powder and packed powder conditions all over the mountain. However this latest winter storm also came in with a blast of arctic winds, so it will be quite cold, like mittens-neck warmer-hand knit scarf-double socks-kind of cold! If you dress warm enough you’ll have the mountain–and it’s many powder fields–all to yourself.

6 de enero, 2014. El año nuevo sigue trayendo nieve y parece que no se va a detener. 8cm cayeron en las últimas 24 hrs, con un total en las ultimas 48hrs de 25cm y un total en los últimos 7 días de 48cm. Sin embargo esta última tormenta invernal llegó con mucho viento del ártico asi que hará mucho frio. Tipo frio de guantes-bufanda- pasa montañas-doble calcetín, pero si sales suficientemente abrigado tendras la montaña y toda su nieve en polvo para ti solito.  


Glades on Ben’s Face, just under Gondola 1.

Sunday, January 5th. Temperatures drop with the new snow.

Yesterday after the 5am snow report, Vail received a total of seven more inches. Most of this fell while the lifts were open so it covered the tracks of those that were out there in the morning. One inch of new snow is reported overnight. There is still some freshness to find, so go enjoy.

It’s still cloudy and windy, which makes for low visibility and flat light on top of the mountain. On days like today, you’ll have a lot of fun staying in the trees where visibility is greatest. If you’re less comfortable making turns on demand, stay near to the edge of the runs and dip in and out of the edge of the glades. If you’re more experienced, don’t neglect the trees on the frontside of the mountain, there are some great areas to carve some turns in the sheltered woods.

Vail Buffalo's Meghan Gruszynski

Stop in Buffalo’s to warm up at the peak of Mountain Top Express (#4).

Be sure you layer up today, it is going to be a cold one out there. The high today is 3 degrees with a windchill during some points of -25 degrees. Some great places to stop in to warm up can be found all over the mountain. Local favorites include the the buffalo stew at Buffalo’s at the top of Mountain Top Express (#4) or the bbq over at Wildwood Smokehouse at the top of Wildwood Express Lift (#3).