Snowguns are gearing up on [R482R, Vail Mountain] to fully blast the white stuff and help out Mother Nature. Vail covers 390 acres with snowmaking to give the season a head start. The Colorado resort has an average annual snowfall of 350 inches.

Opening day on Vail Mountain is Friday, Nov. 20. The plan is to have Vail's flagship Fly Zone terrain park open earlier this season thanks to snowmaking upgrades and 27 new snow guns on Golden Peak. The new system is automated which allows Vail to take advantage of short snowmaking windows that they couldn't previously do with a manual system. It's actually a privately funded project for Ski & Snowboard Club Vail, to set up their early-season race terrain. Headquarters for the club sits in the shadow of Golden Peak.

The Aviator Park Q7 on Bwana, on the western side of the mountain, is being extended up the mountain on Pride. Vail says there will be some sort of terrain park somewhere on opening day this season, weather permitting.

Vail has three terrain parks - Fly Zone, Flight School, and Aviator - which include small, medium, and large features. Vail also has a superpipe and halfpipe.

Vail is also "green," with the largest ski area recycling program in the world, recycling, or reusing more than 70 percent of the material on the mountain including cardboard, aluminum, glass, and even chairlifts and mechanical parts. Restrooms and faucets are water efficient and fluorescent bulbs are used.

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