North America's Premier International Resort Community

Winter Season Preview 2017

  • 19 November 2017
Winter Season Preview 2017

Getting Ready for Opening Day

It’s almost here! The new ski and snowboard season officially gets underway on Wednesday, Nov. 22, at 9 a.m. on Vail Mountain. The morning will include a limited supply of complimentary hot cocoa and breakfast burritos for those who come out to celebrate. The season includes the return of Vail’s favorite happenings, including Snow Days, Skadi Vail, Vail Holidays, Burton U.S. Open Championships, Pink Vail and Spring Back to Vail. For opening day activities, lift status, upcoming events and all the festivities, visit,

Epic Passes Available through Sunday, Nov. 19

The final day to purchase a 2017-2018 Epic Pass is Sunday, Nov. 19. Save more than 40 percent compared to lift ticket window prices. Ski unlimited and unrestricted from opening day to closing day for only $899. The Epic Pass offers unlimited, unrestricted skiing and pays for itself in just over four days. Enjoy full access to Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin in Colorado; Park City in Utah; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood at Lake Tahoe; Stowe Mountain Resort in Vermont; Afton Alps in Minnesota; Mt. Brighton in Michigan; Wilmot Mountain in Wisconsin; Whistler Blackcomb in Canada; and Perisher in Australia for the 2018 season. The Epic Pass also grants limited access to Les 3 Vallées, Paradiski and Tignes-Val D’Isere in France; 4 Vallées in Switzerland; Arlberg in Austria and Skirama Dolomiti in Italy.

What’s New on the Mountain

The Northwoods Express Lift (#11) will debut as a six-passenger lift during the 2017-2018 winter season. The new lift will mark the tenth lift replacement in the last 11 years at Vail and will reduce wait times and increase capacity by 25 percent. The increase will also improve the flow of skiers and snowboarders to the legendary Back Bowls and Blue Sky Basin throughout the day, as well as create a better flow of traffic exiting Blue Sky Basin and moving across the mountain at the end of the day. In addition, Vail Mountain has transformed Express Lift from a grab-n-go café into Vail’s newest slope-side full service casual dining experience, Express Lift Bar. Just steps away from Gondola One at the base of Pepi’s Run, enjoy great views on the outdoor patio, or, inside at the renovated bar while sipping on craft cocktails and brews. Serving breakfast, lunch and après daily.

What’s New in Town 

Vail’s lodging, retail, restaurant and entertainment scene this winter will include an eclectic mix of new offerings. Making the biggest impact is the debut of Hotel Talisa, Vail’s newest luxury hotel with 285 accommodations, spa and other upscale amenities following a $60-plus million renovation. Next door, the Blue Starlite Cinema Social has transformed the former Cascade move theater into the valley’s first independent art house and classic film movie theater providing additional vitality to the area. In Lionshead Village, a new grocery store, The Market at Vail, will occupy the commercial space at Treetops on the south side of the parking structure. Also in Lionshead, The Little Diner has completed a renovation and expansion; Montauk Seafood Grill has also undergone a renovation under its new ownership. Across the way In Vail Village, look for a new pop-up restaurant, La Taberna Iberica with Spanish tapas-style cuisine. Also, Fall Line Kitchen and Cocktails is the new name of the former Pendulum restaurant space on Bridge Street while Resveralife, a new skin care shop, opens for business nearby. In West Vail, enjoy the new Joy Sushi restaurant in the West Vail Mall and look for the opening of the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel later in the season.

Introducing the Sandstone Underpass

To make your local travels complete - be it on foot, on a bike, on the bus or in a vehicle - the Sandstone underpass is officially open connecting the north and south sides of Vail’s neighborhoods. This $30 million project represents the largest public infrastructure undertaking by Vail, to date, and was completed ahead of schedule and on budget, with 70 percent of the funding supplied by a grant from the Colorado Department of Transportation. MORE

Colorado Snowsports Museum Transformation Update

The doors are locked, the interior is a construction zone and the artifacts are now encased in bubble wrap in storage. However, life goes on for the Colorado Snowsports Museum as the nonprofit organization is currently in the final stages of a $2.4 million building renovation and exhibit transformation. This major capital project, targeted for completion this coming February, will completely transform the museum experience for visitors and residents alike, featuring all new exhibits and interactive technology that will help bring Colorado’s rich ski and snowboard history to life with a touch of a finger.  To learn how you can become a partner in this project, contact John McMurtry at

Holiday Events in Vail

The holiday season is fast approaching! Save the date for Vail’s annual tree lighting ceremony on Sunday, Dec. 17 in Slifer Square by the Covered Bridge. It’s all part of the Vail Holidays™ celebration which runs Nov. 29-Dec. 31. Activities include a Holiday Sweater Run, Kris Kringle Market, Holiday Party with Santa, cookie decorating, lantern-making workshops and Holiday Lantern Walk, plus the 11th Annual Vail Winterfest Ice Theater and the annual Torchlight Parade and fireworks on New Year’s Eve.

EGE Winter Air Service

Access to Vail this winter just got easier with two new non-stop routes to Eagle County Regional Airport. With the addition of San Francisco and Salt Lake City, EGE now provides non-stop service to 14 markets across North America with convenient connections from over 250 cities world-wide. Direct service from San Francisco begins Dec. 23. The Salt Lake City non-stops will begin Dec. 21. Eagle County Regional Airport is serviced by Air Canada, American, Delta and United with non-stop winter service from Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, New York/Kennedy, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Toronto, and Washington Dulles. Summer non-stop markets include Dallas/Ft. Worth, Denver and Houston with year round service to Dallas/Ft. Worth and Denver operated by American Airlines and United Airlines.

Parking Discounts

Season parking passes for the Vail Village and Lionshead parking structures are available for qualifying property owners, residents and employees of Vail and Eagle County with substantial discounts from the drive-up rate. The passes are available from the town’s parking pass sales office which is open 8 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Monday through Friday throughout the season; closed Thanksgiving and other holidays.

Local Elections


Town of Vail

Vail voters returned all three incumbents running for re-election to the Vail Town Council and added a newcomer during the Nov. 7 election. Vail’s next Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem will be selected on Tuesday, Nov. 21 after a swearing-in ceremony for incoming Town Council members. The new leadership appointments will run for two years.

Vail Recreation District

Property taxes will be going up after voters in the Vail Recreation District agreed to authorize a 1 mill tax increase for the purpose of funding operating and capital expenses.

Eagle County

Voters across the county approved a marijuana tax to fund mental health services.
For additional election results, visit

In Your Neighborhood


Short-Term Rental Regulations

New regulations for short-term rentals in Vail will come before the Vail Town Council for first-round approval on Nov. 21. The regulations include requirement of a life-safety affidavit signed by the property owner, neighboring duplex notification and/or consent (if shared property) and interior posting of emergency contact information, among other provisions, including the ability for the town to revoke a license if conditions aren’t met.


Restore the Gore in Your Own Backyard

If you’re a Vail property owner in need of streambank restoration along Gore Creek, the town has established Project Re-Wild, a public-private cost share program that funds up to 75 percent of technical and design costs by a professional hydrologist hired by the town. The program is currently developing four planting and bank stabilization projects to be implemented next summer. Visit or contact Pete Wadden at 970-479-2144 for additional details. In addition to the Re-Wild rebate program, the town offers a variety of free and discounted services available to residents and property owners year-round.

Latest Gore Creek Test Samples Show Some Improvement

Aquatic life populations in Gore Creek have shown some modest improvements at several test sites along the river as the town continues to work with its partners to “Restore the Gore.” Since 2012, Gore Creek has been listed as an impaired waterway for failing to meet EPA standards for aquatic life. MORE

Vail InDEED Housing Program Ready to Take Your Application

An innovative deed restriction purchase program is available for anyone interested in purchasing, investing, remodeling, refinancing, selling or otherwise seeking access to cash and are living in Vail or want to live in Vail are eligible to apply for funding through the new Vail InDEED program The first use of the program has included approval of deed restriction purchases totaling over $4 million for the upcoming construction by Sonnenalp Properties of 65 new Solar Vail Apartments, located at 501 N. Frontage Road. MORE

Open Lands Plan Review

The 2017 Town of Vail Open Lands Plan Update is now available for public review and comment. The draft plan is available for download at The community is encouraged to participate in the formal review of this plan which is currently underway by the Planning and Environmental Commission. Additional hearings will take place before the Vail Town Council.

Recognition & Remembrance


Vail Named to Top 100 Sustainable Destinations

Vail and Jackson Hole are the only U.S. destinations making the Top 100 Sustainable Destinations list for 2017, presented by Green Destinations, a non-profit organization for sustainable tourism. The award serves as a springboard to elevating Vail's work in sustainability to be compared with not only peer resort communities, but global leaders in resource preservation, ecological protection, cultural, educational, and societal advancements. MORE

State and National Recognition

Congratulations to Street Superintendent Charlie Turnbull and Vail Police Chief Dwight Henninger for earning recognition for their state and national achievements. They were recognized earlier this week during a community celebration hosted by Mayor Dave Chapin that also included a welcome to new Town Manager Greg Clifton and a thank you to outgoing Council Member Dick Cleveland. MORE


Nominations Accepted for Vail Trailblazer Award

Nominations for the 2018 Vail Trailblazer Award are being accepted by the Vail Town Clerk’s Office through Dec. 15. The award is presented annually by the Vail Town Council to recognize an individual, couple or team that exemplifies the spirit and fortitude in making Vail a great community through one or more actions that make a lasting impact. Nomination forms are available online at Past recipients include Dr. Thomas I. Steinberg and Vi and Byron Brown. 

Vail’s Pioneers

The Vail community will be paying tribute to another of its pioneers on Sunday, Nov. 19 during a celebration of life for Morrie Shepard, who served as the former ski school director, fire chief and other ad hoc assignments during Vail’s early days. Other memorials have taken place recently to celebrate the lives of Bob Parker, Byron Brown and Dr. Tom Steinberg. Search the Vail Daily for a profile of their significant legacies. 

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