The Best of Early Season Vail Skiing

Here at Vista Bahn Ski Rentals (VBSR), we get excited about early season Vail skiing. But we know that a good day out on the slopes depends on many factors at this time of the year. Snowfall history, grooming, open terrain, and weather all contribute to the early season skiing experience. Sometimes the mountain is covered with a deep, packed base of snow—and maybe even powder—on opening day. But other times, limited terrain may be open with just a thin snow surface covering it.

No matter the conditions, we know that our most enthusiastic skiers and riders will want to be out on the mountain. With that in mind, here are a few things to consider as you gear up for early season Vail skiing:


Photo Credit: Geoffrey Arduini

Tips and Advice for Early Season Vail Skiing

Keep safety top priority when going out on the mountain for early season Vail skiing. While snow is still accumulating, rocks and other terrain hazards may not be visible when a dusting of new snow covers them. Avoid known hazards, which are often flagged or marked with bamboo poles in the shape of an X. Test newly opened terrain cautiously in the early season.

Before you go out skiing, take the time to evaluate mountain conditions. Also plan to get updates on open terrain throughout the day. Daily grooming reports are available near Vail’s base-area lifts.

VBSR ski tech Barclay Rabin advises:

“Be sure to check the conditions before you head out for early season skiing, and ask yourself if it’s worth using your new equipment or waiting until the conditions are a little better. We are always happy and more than able to fix your skis or snowboards either way!”

VBSR Barclay ski test 2016

Barclay Rabin of VBSR crew

Crowds can be a safety concern when high volumes of skiers and snowboarders set out to ski limited terrain. Review and practice the National Ski Areas Association Responsibility Code for skiers and snowboarders. Most importantly, ski and ride in control at all times.

Weather for early season Vail skiing can change throughout the day. For that reason, it’s a good idea to preview the weather forecast in advance and dress appropriately. Find more advice about clothing for skiing and snowboarding here from VBSR: “Vail Ski Clothing: From Head to Toe.”

New at Vail for 2017-2018 Season

Early season Vail skiing will also give you the chance to preview some awesome new developments for the 2017-2018 ski season. A few of our favorites including:

Chair 11 Upgrade: Vail’s Chair 11 (Northwoods Express) has been upgraded from a four-person to a six-person lift. This upgrade will increase capacity by 25 percent and improve skier flow to Vail’s famed back bowls. Find out more about the chair 11 upgrade here on the VBSR website: “Chair 11 Upgrade to Improve Vail Skiing.”

Vail Chair 11 upgrade

Photo Credit: Vail Resorts Updated Website: Vail’s official website,, is now even more mobile friendly for on-mountain use. The responsive website makes it easy to check mountain conditions and explore opportunities for Vail nightlife while on the lift.

EpicMix Time Insights: Vail Resorts has also launched a website devoted specifically to providing full visibility into lift line wait times at The site helps guests plan their ski day and offers tips about how to best navigate terrain.

Express Lift Bar: Just steps from Vail’s Gondola One in Vail Village, you’ll have a new après-ski venue: Express Lift Bar. In past seasons, Express Lift has been the place to go for coffee and a quick breakfast or snacks throughout the day. But this venue is now Vail’s newest slope-side full service casual dining experience, where you can enjoy cocktails and beers on an outdoor patio.

Find out more about what’s new at Vail for the 2017-2018 winter season here: “2017-2018 Vail Tip Sheet”

VBSR Ski Storage and Services

If you go up on the mountain for some early season Vail skiing or snowboarding and it’s just not optimal, then store your gear at VBSR and get out to explore Vail’s après-ski scene earlier in the day. With our Vail ski storage options just steps from Gondola One, you can leave your gear in a locker overnight. Vista Bahn Ski Rentals offers longer-term ski storage options, too, including seasonal slots and secured gear baskets.

Vista Bahn Ski Rentals is also the place for ski and snowboard rentals, demos, repair, waxing, and more. Plus, it’s possible to reserve rental skis in advance with VBSR. Some of our ski services can also be done overnight while you’re out enjoying Vail nightlife, so you can pick them up just in time for another day on the slopes.