On the Hill: Early Vail tracks
Knee-deep. Soft. Fluffy. Not words you hear very often in the preseason.But that’s how skiers Thursday were describing conditions on Vail Mountain, which opens today. Impatient powderhounds were hiking and skinning up Thursday to get some tracks before the lifts start running today.”They know where to find the secret stashes,” said Vail Mountain spokeswoman Jen Brown. “It’s so worth the walk,” said snowboarder Dan Krasnow, who hiked for two hours and finished on Pepi’s Face.Krasnow said the snow was knee-deep, especially higher on the mountain.”It was awesome,” said snowboarder Lindsey Muggleston, who was riding with Krasnow. “We made some really very good powder turns.”Skier Tim Curran said he hiked halfway up Chair 2. The snow was a little heavy toward the bottom, but it was nice at the top of his run, he said.”It’s deep, soft, fluffy and easy to ski,” he said. Vail opens at 9 a.m. with 11 lifts servicing 72 trails. The total open area will be 1,015 acres. The mountain has gotten 42 inches over the last week, and 5 feet so far this month. Brown said the majority of the open terrain will be groomed, but there will be plenty of powder left.Avalanche reportThe avalanche danger in the central mountains is moderate, with pockets of considerable danger near and above treeline, particularly on northwest, northeast and east aspects, and moderate below treeline.Periods of intense snow in the northern and central mountains, coupled with some wind, have added an additional load to an already fragile snowpack. Expect to find some tender pockets of newly drifted snow. The recent cold weather has faceted, or weakened, the top of the snowpack, which means the pockets of new slabs will not bond that well. The recent snow on the surface will not produce big avalanches by itself, but may be enough to trigger a large avalanche on the older, deep, weak layer. Avalanche danger details provided by the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. For more information, call 920-1664 or visit geosurvey.state.co.us/avalanche.
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