Winter is coming! In this year’s installment of the Edge, Westword’s annual guide to winter activities that was inserted in the November 16 edition, we shared the what’s what, the what’s new, and the what to do at ski areas and mountain towns across the state.
Because of the unseasonably warm weather, Vail had to postpone its opening day. But since Thanksgiving, the mountain has been going strong. Here are five things you need to know about Vail this season:
1. On a powder day, be sure to get into the back bowls, which are so extensive — over 3,000 acres — that they require their own trail map. You’ll find wide-open snow fields in the sprawling China Bowl and legitimately extreme terrain in smaller, tighter zones like Tea Cup Bowl. Push on toward the Inner and Outer Mongolia Bowls, where you’re more likely to make fresh tracks (and, heads up, snowboarders: also more likely to get stuck in a long, flat run-out on the way back to a chairlift).
2. Vail’s at its best during festival events like Vail Snow Days (January 8-10), Vail Holidays (December 16-31), the Vail Film Festival (March 22-25) and Taste of Vail (April 4-8), when there are often concerts in the base-area villages and big parties on and off the mountain.
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3. This season, Vail will have three terrain parks open, including kid-friendly zones under the Eagle Bahn Gondola and pro-level park and pipe features on Golden Peak, home of the Burton U.S. Open (March 5-10), one of snowboarding’s premier events.
4. Speaking of, don’t miss the Burton U.S. Open, which brings halfpipe and slopestyle competition to Vail well after the X Games, the U.S. Grand Prix, the Olympics and all the other major events of the season have ended, meaning that riders tend to really cut loose in the competition and at the after-parties. There will be live concerts on the Solaris stage, a huge Burton Girls ride session, and lots of opportunities to get autographs and otherwise hang with your favorite riders.
5. Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass products are, well, truly epic, especially when compared to daily lift-ticket prices at the window. Sadly, sales are over for this season, but make a note to jump on this deal early next year at epicpass.com.