Vail, Colo¿With more than four feet of snow in the past week, officials at Vail announced that they will open the mountain early for the 2000-2001 ski and snowboard season. The new opening date is Wednesday, Nov. 15 ¿ the ski area originally was scheduled to open on Friday, Nov. 17.

“We’re focusing on opening with more snow and terrain than we’ve been able to offer in recent years,” said Bill Jensen, chief operating officer for Vail. “With additional snow anticipated in the mountains in the next five to seven days, Vail skiers are anxious to get out and take advantage of the exceptional early season ski and snowboard conditions.”

The major winter storm that hit Vail on Halloween was the first in a series of storms that dumped four feet of snow on the ski area. Vail is reporting 49 inches of snowfall since late October and a 22-inch mid-mountain base.

According to the National Weather Service, another winter storm is predicted in the Vail area later this week. The ski area will announce early season lift ticket pricing and specific terrain openings as the Nov. 15 opening day grows closer. “What will open will be dependent upon what we receive out of the next snow cycle,” added Jensen. The ski area plans to focus on terrain on the front side of the mountain for the Nov. 15 opening.

For updated images of on-mountain activities prior to opening visit www.vail.com and check out the live mountain cams or visit the photo gallery for regularly updated photos. Skiers and snowboarders also can find updated snow totals, lodging discounts, lift ticket offers and more at www.vail.com.