A few of our favorite things about Vail!
The Terrain – Vail’s 5,300+ acres is truly phenomenal, something for everyone. So much of Vail’s 195 trails and turns are perfectly pitched, not too steep, nice and wide, ego-pleasing! You will not soon be bored at Vail, whether on skis or a board.
The Trails – Vail has dozens of fantastic long, wide, interesting front side trails including the 2.9 mile long Riva Ridge, Lindsey’s, Lodgepole, Lion’s Head classics Bwana, Simba and Born Free – such amazing undulating fall line runs. Props to visionaries Pete Seibert and Earl Eaton for identifying ideal terrain from 11,750-feet, and shaping so many unique fun runs.
The Back Bowls – Drop over the Mountaintop of the 11,750’ summit and your ski world opens up! Vast wide-open bowls stretch from Outer Mongolia to Sun Up and Sun Down. On a powder day, you are in heaven here. 3,000 backside acres of gorgeous snow, some faces are dotted with beautiful aspen glades, other spaces are just that – blank snow pages to carve your name.
The Lifts – What a superior network of high capacity, high speed lifts Vail has installed over the years, their flagship resort, to swiftly move you about the mountain. Gondi One and Eagle Bahn are showcase gondolas. The only thing I don’t love is how locals reference Vail’s 31 lifts by their numbers, not their names…so banal. I’d rather meet you at Mountaintop than Chair 4. To me the lift name lends such character and legacy to each place on the mountain. Game Creek, I’m game. Pete’s – count me in. A great ski day spans from Outer Mongolia to Sun Down by High Noon, (or #22 to 5 if you insist).
The Views – The snow capped Gore Range glimmers in the sun with beautiful jagged peaks soaring into the blue sky. At 11,750’ you are on top of the world skiing Vail (two-miles high). Every turn and flank of the ski resort affords more spectacular scenery, from visions of sister-resort Beaver Creek to the west and more stunning views to the valley below.
The Village of Vail – So European, so pedestrian and pet friendly, brick-lined Bridge Street has just the right mix of alpine charm, bougie boutiques selling shiny furry ski outfits, to serious ski shops, plus Vail’s inviting eateries and entertaining bars. Vail is a small-scale St Anton, Zermatt or Wengen – with a car-free, authentic ski atmosphere. At a base elevation of 8,150’ it’s a lofty special place.
The Après Ski – Vail has a celebratory vibe throughout the village after skiing. Live music, tables and chairs spill out onto the sidewalks in a celebration of skiing and the alpine lifestyle we all love. Special kudos to the “to-go-cup” policy (adopted for Covid outdoor spacing) allowing skiers and riders to buy an adult beverage and stroll the village. Hope these Vail friendly après ski outdoor bars remain.
The Fashion Parade – A major attraction of aprés ski in Vail village is people watching. The ski fashions, from blingy and furry, to gapers and complete ski fashion faux pas, its the best amusement other people’s money can buy. You’ll see the latest victims of VISA and AMEX splurges at Gorsuch. I swear these people don’t ski, they dress up at 3pm to promenade in their powder suits.
The Founders – Vail has a fascinating history, from the visionaries that saw Vail’s tremendous vertical potential, and their dream of making the most idyllic slopeside village. These 10th Mountain heroes and passionate skiers nailed it, Vail truly is “like nothing on earth.” Add to those archives, the tales of the 10th Mountain Division that trained here before their World War II alpine assignment in the Alps, amazing. Don’t miss the Colorado Ski Museum and 10th Mountain Tribute. Also enjoy the Legacy Tour from the Legacy Hut atop Mountaintop, and ski to the 10 trail sign stops around the mountain to learn the heritage of Vail’s trail name.
The Epic Pass sister ski resorts – Vail is a classic, a big bold ski area, but wait there is more… for less. Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass makes all this skiing accessible and affordable with season passes available for under $800 for Vail and 34 other major ski areas. Bonus: sister resorts Beaver Creek, Breck, Keystone are all within striking distance from Vail on your ski vacation.