Everything You Need to Know About Vail
The flagship resort of the ski industry’s current reigning superpower, Vail resort is unsurprisingly the single largest ski resort on the American continent. Vail boasts three distinct mountain areas, each with their own features and fortes, including three terrain parks, seven bowls and 5,289 acres (2140 hectares) of freeride terrain. At 11 km’s wide, finding fresh tracks is as easy as finding elbow room. In fact, on an average day, there are only two skiers per acre, and on a busy day, only four!
Vail can also boast the magical combination of averaging more than 300+ days of sunshine and 370+ inches (950+ cm) of snow each year. In the resort you’ll find world-class accommodations from the top end of luxury to practical condominiums. And for those with travel flexibility, a whole host of affordable last-minute bookings. On the culinary front, the same world-class offerings abound.
Insider Ski and Snowboard Tips
The largest ski resort on the entire American continent, it feels like an understatement saying Vail has something for everyone. Indeed, you could spend your entire trip there and really not ski the same run twice.
If you venture off piste, innumerable runs present themselves and advanced skiers and boarders will delight. Head to the back bowls to generally escape crowds, but if it’s a powder day you’ll want to get up there nice and early. One of the most popular areas is that of Northeast Bowl which itself can be ridden all day long. It’s also a worthwhile section of mountain to hit up early for some powder turns and is pretty welcoming to all abilities.
Vail is serviced by both the Eagle County Regional Airport (EGE), which is just 30 minutes drive from the resort, as well as Denver International Airport (DEN) which is 2 hours east of Vail. Interestingly Vail’s website offers up advice to those travelling to the resort via private aircraft… This should give you a pretty good idea of the type of people that also visit the renowned resort. Once in Vail, the town offers free, regular bus service between the eastern end of Vail Village and the western end of Lionshead on the in-town route.
Unsurprisingly given its scale, accommodation options at Vail are also seemingly endless. As Vail says, “whether you’re looking for unparalleled luxury in a unique mountain chalet, or have your heart set on a cozy European-style abode, you’ll find the perfect home in Vail.
The urban sprawl occurs across three different villages and sees more than 150 lodging options. Vail Village is at the heart of the accommodation action, the Lionshead area will get you close to the skiing via a short walk to the Eagle Bahn gondola, chair 8 and Golden Peak is perfect and more subdued for families, being just a 5-minute walk east of Vail Village.
Restaurants and Après
From casual eats, to on-mountain convenience, to gourmet menus, there’s something fresh and delicious to please every type of palette in Vail. Choose between a BBQ at 3500m, eat at five star restaurants in town, grab some fast food or shop at Safeway and cook your own meals, it’s entirely up to you. However, Vail’s top-notch cuisine does attract food-lovers far and wide.
As for après skiing, it Is considered a time-honoured tradition in vail. Whether you’re after quiet and cozy by a fire or energetic live music, Vail can provide. Our picks include, Tavern on the Square, just steps from the Eagle Bahn gondola in Lionshead, from which you can enjoy incredible mountain views from the patio year-round. Other notable mentions include cocktails from La Tour, Pizza at Vendetta’s and The Red Lion who describes themselves as “the place to be after you ski…”
Non Skiing Activities
Even if you aren’t skiing or riding, you can still experience one of the greatest views of the Vail Valley with a Scenic Gondola Ride. Hop on the Eagle Bahn Gondola in Lionshead Village and have your camera ready – the ride will leave you breathless. Upon arrival at the top, look to the south and take in the spectacular mountain vista of the Sawatch Range, highlighted by Mount of the Holy Cross – a signature view and one of Colorado’s highest mountains at 14,011 feet.
Alternatively thrill seekers can fly through the forest on a raised alpine coaster, winding your way 3,400 feet down the mountain and following the natural contours of the landscape.A more tame suggestion would be to take a snow shoe tour which run from 2pm every day. Other activities include kids snowmobiling, tubing, ski biking or a visit to the Nature Discovery Centre.
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