Vail Mountain, Colorado has submitted a proposal to the US Forest Service to improve its existing snowmaking system, expanding snowmaking on upper mountain terrain by a huge 52%. The proposal aligns with the resort’s Master Development Plan, which was accepted by the Forest Service in July, reports Vail Daily.
The plan would allow the resort to offer more reliable early season conditions, even in warmer years like the past two seasons. All plans are subject to approval by the US Forest Service. The review process, including a public comment period, is expected sometime this fall.
“The ability to expand our snowmaking infrastructure in areas on the mountain with higher elevations, colder temperatures, northern aspect and excellent connectivity to areas that typically hold good natural snow would be transformational for the resort and our guests,” said Greg Johnson, vice president of mountain operations for Vail.
Modernizing the majority of Vail’s current snowmaking system would deliver state-of-the-art, energy-efficient technology that is fundamental to a more predictable opening date, high-quality conditions during the early- and mid-season and more reliable conditions through mid-April, Johnson said.
Some of the key areas of focus and proposed snowmaking coverage areas would include Swingsville Ridge, Swingsville, Ramshorn, The Meadows and Over Easy in the Mid-Vail area; Lodgepole, Ledges and Avanti in the area of the Avanti Express Lift (No. 2); Eagles Nest Ridge, as well as upper Lost Boy, upper Born Free and Timberline Face; plus Flap Jack, Riva Ridge and lower Highline.
The resort’s system currently has the capacity to make snow on 452 acres, or 15 percent of total developed skiable terrain, and the proposal would increase that capacity to 686 acres, a 52 percent increase in the resort’s current snowmaking terrain. All snowmaking infrastructure would be installed on existing trails over a period of many years, and no tree clearing would be necessary.