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Mountain News: Snowmaking expansions at Vail continue 40 years later

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VAIL, Colo. – The armoring of Vail Mountain to the vagaries of weather and now climate change continues.

The Vail Daily reports that Vail Resorts has received approval from the U.S. Forest Service to add about 106 hectares of snowmaking coverage to the mountain. When the snowmaking expansion is completed in several years, about 25 per cent of the mountain's terrain—one of the largest in North America—will be covered.

The goal, explains the Daily, is to deliver near certainty for (American) Thanksgiving skiing.

That's a quest that Vail has struggled with since its opening in 1962. That inaugural year had a parched autumn that continued past Thanksgiving. In the resort's early years, reliable snow was an iffy thing until Christmas.

Beginning in 1978, after one of the worst droughts in recorded history, Vail began investing robustly in snowmaking. Obviously, it hasn't quit.

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