put, Vail Colorado is huge with over 5,200 acres of skiing and 31 lifts. Vail
has 195 interesting fall line trails plus the immense Back Bowls that
comprise over 3,00 acres of wide open natural terrain skiing. It is one of the
skiers' mountains, from the perfectly pitched slopes and modern lifts to the
beautiful base villages, Vail Village and Lions Head. Vail has long been the
king of Colorado skiing, since 1962 when it was founded by 10th Mountain
Division soldiers, their vision to create a European style ski resort
stateside has been supremely successful. Vail Resorts has since grown and now owns 12 ski resorts across the country, to include nearby
Beaver Creek, Breckenridge,
Keystone, plus Heavenly,
Kirkwood in California,
Park City Mountain Resort which now includes
The Canyons in Utah, Afton Alps and Brighton in
Michigan, and Whistler Blackcomb in BC Canada but it all started here and it is epic - like the name of Vail's all
inclusive season pass, the Vail
Resorts Epic Pass and their Epic Mix ski app.
Vail is awesome - from the vast ski terrain, to the iconic original slope side
Vail village, modeled after a Bavarian alpine town. Vail’s base is at 8,200’
elevation and the scenic summit is 11,570’, so Vail gets plenty of snow
typically, but also boasts about 300 days of sunshine and classic western blue
skies - its either snowing or sunny at Vail say the locals.
Starting with Vail's Front Side, Vail has dozens of the best signature trails –
long and cascading Simba and Born Free, Gandy Dancer which rolls and turns down
the mountainside surrounded by towering pines and aspens. Cappuccino and
Christmas are gorgeously groomed morning trails. The 4-mile Riva Ridge named for
the 10th Mountain Division is long, steep and superbly scenic.
Then Vail’s back side offers seven wide-open bowls encompassing 3,000 of Vail’s
5,289 total acreage, with natural snow terrain, untouched and often untracked.
Vail's huge grooming fleet rolls out much of the front side terrain daily and
also a swath down each of Vail’s Back Bowls, but otherwise this hearty bowl
terrain is powdery amid perfectly spaced aspen trees, all served by swift high
speed lifts (hardly time to catch your breath) from Sun Up and Sun Down Bowl to
Siberia and Outer Mongolia - as remote and adventurous as it sounds.
Finally Blue Sky Basin and Pete's Bowl offers even more - steep and beautiful
glades served by three high speed lifts. Game Creek Bowl is another hidden gem
as you wrap back around to Vail's Front range. You could ski Vail for a week, a
month or a season, and still find stashes. Kids will love Fort Whippersnapper,
Golden Peak Park, and Adventure Ridge at Eagle's Nest with snow fun and games -
ziplining, snowmobiling, and a mountain coaster.
The on mountain lodges at Vail are beautiful for
highly scenic ski to lunches
too, especially the summit Two Elk - cafeteria style food but in a very regal
lodge setting. Buffalo's and Wildwood serve more cafe style food in a cozy
setting. The 10th Mountain Lodge is the place to go for table service lunch,
slip off your ski boots into comfy slippers, the locker room here is deluxe,
sink into a leather chair, watch the skiers fly by as you savor a great lunch in
this grand lodge. The 10th bar is chic and usually surrounded by chichi skiers
enjoying cocktails. There is even a phone charging station if your mobile is
What else do you need for a perfect ski mountain? A Zermatt-style village, of
course, and Vail’s pedestrian Bridge Street is an alpine postcard with chalet
roofs, chic ski boutiques and après ski bars that rock with live music as skiers
pour off the mountain ready to party in their ski boots. Vail has grown,
especially Lions Head, the village to the west, which replicates the Austrian
style architecture of the original Vail village - but its more Disney like -
particularly the Arrabelle Rock Resort. We love Vail Village for its authentic
charm and personality, beautiful Bridge Street with twinkling white lights and
the covered bridge - its mountain magic especially in the evening. See our
Top Après Ski Spots in Vail.
Vail is sophisticated, but still a real skier’s town, with classic spots like
the Red Lion and Pepi’s. The Place to stay at Vail, the original that opened
with Vail Resort in 1962, is The
Lodge at Vail – an Austrian style hotel just steps to Gondola One and Vail's
ski slopes, with ski valet, beautiful suites with private balconies, a lovely
fireplace lobby, and very elegant RockResort spa with outdoor hot tub and a
pool. Lodge at Vail is located at the top of Vail Village, so its an easy stroll
to Vail's best eateries and shops, like Pepi’s, Gorsuch and Golden Bear.
Vail is a must visit for every skier, so much terrain surrounded by the
impressive Gore Range in the Rockies. While Vail is no longer the biggest ski
resort, it will always be among the best ski mountains anywhere. Staying in
Vail, day trips are easy to Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Arapahoe Basin, and
Keystone - all on the Vail Epic
Pass. We recommend a day at Beaver Creek most of all, this ski resort feels
like a private club - its posh, with perfectly groomed corduroy, steeps on the
Birds of Prey Downhill, great on mountain lunches at Ritz Carton Bachelor Gulch,
and a lack of crowds.
To visit Vail, you can fly into Denver airport, and take the 2-3 hour drive up
I-70, the skiers’ highway, which can be very snowy on the mountain passes. Or
fly into Eagle Airport and your just 20 minutes to Vail.