Ski & Snowboard

 

VAIL

Ski & Snowboard Resort Review

At 7 miles wide with 5,000+ acres of terrain Vail COLORADO USA is the largest skiing and snowboarding resort in North America. On an average day there are only 2 skiers or snowboarders per acre increasing to just 4 on a busy day.

Vail Ski and Snowboard Terrain

Vail has 3 distinct areas; the Front Side the 7 Back Bowls and the Blue Sky Basin. All are supported by an efficient fast lift system with on mountain maintenance second to none.

The sheer size of Vail is daunting. The front side alone has 127 trails. Add to this the immense back bowls and basin and you can see why Vail needs to be explored for longer than a week!

vail ski  picture

photo: Jack Affleck, Vail Resorts

Vail Back Bowls

The 7 south facing Back Bowls at Vail span 6 miles wide and make up 1/3 of the resort. The Bowls suit mainly intermediate to advanced skiers and snowboarders with wide open powder and mogul fields of varying steepness with a few sections of good treed terrain.

Vail Blue Sky Basin

The challenging Blue Sky Basin at Vail’s southern most tip is 645 acres of backcountry style skiing and snowboarding in natural steep, fast, treed terrain. Some parts of the Basin are groomed for intermediates but generally there are no specifically marked trails more just general suggested markers.

Advanced Skiing and Snowboarding at Vail

Vail is an advanced snow riders dream. The double black terrain around the Highline Chairlift on the Front Side will push even the best to their limits; the further left you go the steeper and more challenging the trails become.

In the Back Bowls the Forever Trail in Sun Down Bowl is renowned for its large moguls. Seldom, Never and O.S are great for powder turns. In China Bowl the gladed Shangri La Glade under Orient Express Lift is fantastic.

In Blue Ski Basin anything to the left hand side of the Skyline Express Lift is steep and fast.

Intermediate Skiing and Snowboarding at Vail

Intermediates can cruise the entire front side on carpet like trails; the Loinshead cruisers a particular highlight.

On the backside China Bowl’s Poppyfield’s intermediate area is a great introduction to fun off piste powder skiing and snowboarding.

The Highline and Sourdough Chairlifts accessing China Bowl and Blue Sky Basin were both replaced in 2007 with new high speed quad chairlifts. The new chairs cut the ride time in half for both lifts making access much easier and faster to the magnificent bowls.

The trails around the Game Creek Express Lift are fun and fast just right for giant GS turns. The Game Creek area also has a couple of easier black diamond trails so after a fresh snowfall give them a go.

Beginner Skiing and Snowboarding at Vail

The Front side is perfect for beginners and unlike many other resorts they are not limited to just one area with easy linking beginner trails across the entire front side.

In the 2007 winter season the Golden Peak Children's Centre and Small World Play School Nursery in Vail Village was remodelled and expanded to offer more activities and learning areas for 3 to 6 year old up and coming ski and snowboard champions!

Vail Ski and Snowboard School

No matter what level skier or snowboarder you are Vail is a great place to expand your skills by taking a class with a world class instructor from the Vail Ski and Snowboard School.

Vail Terrain Park and Halfpipe

The 3 terrain parks and superpipe at Vail are the training ground for some of America’s best athletes. Frequent competitions are held throughout the season including the Honda Session the world’s most progressive snowboarding competition.

Other Activities at Vail

Every evening Adventure Ridge at the top of the Eagle Bahn Gondola opens for ice skating, snow tubing, ski biking, laser tag and kids snow mobiling and trampolining. It is the perfect place for families to go and have fun and let the kids go crazy!

Other activities at Vail include horse riding, dog sledding and guided fly fishing; cross country skiing and open sleigh rides at the golf course and ice climbing on the frozen waterfalls. More things to do at Vail

Shopping at Vail

Vail Village has 180+ shops. See the latest gear and fashion in the ski and snowboard shops before exploring amongst the adult and children’s clothing boutiques, souvenir stores, sunglass, furniture, book and photography stores and art galleries.

The Village has small grocery and liquor stores some delivering direct to your door. The larger grocery stores are in West Vail a 5 minute bus ride down the road.

Vail Day Spas

Vail has many day spas which after a few hard days on the slopes offer welcome relief for those aching muscles; have a long massage, facial or private steam room.

The Vail Mountain Lodge & Spa have more than 25 treatments as well as a 25,000 square foot athletic club and indoor climbing wall.

Vail Restaurants

In the evenings the night lights sparkle and the Vail Village comes alive. The Village has 80 restaurants with cuisine ranging from American, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Nepalese, seafood, French, Mexican to fast food.

The Wildflower restaurant is one of the best dining experiences in Vail; the menu is creative American made from the freshest meats and seafood and boasts an extensive international wine list.

Game Creek restaurant overlooks the village at 2,000 feet. Catch the Eagle Bahn Gondola then it’s a short snowcat ride to the restaurant where guests enjoy a multi course food and wine experience and beautiful views down into the Village.

Located slope side Cucina Rustica is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Lunch is a buffet while dinner is an authentic Tuscan grill.

The French influenced Larkspur at the base of Golden Peak has value lunch options of soups, pizzas and sandwiches with the prices rising in the evenings for those wanting fine dining.

Billy's Island Grill has steaks and seafood and is comfortable, relaxed and affordable.

Vail Nightlife

The Vail Village has weekly evening street concerts and live bands play regularly at the many bars and clubs.

The Tap Room attracts a large crowd; you can go upstairs to dance or stay downstairs and relax.

The popular Vendetta's is where the locals go for beer and pizza. 8150 hosts local and national live acts throughout the season. The Red Loin has a more relaxed atmosphere with old classic hits and acoustic guitars nights.

End the night at Art's Bar for tasty late night snacks.

More About Vail

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Vail resort review VIDEO

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Your Vail Ski & Snowboard Resort Reviews

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Marco, Italy. We went to see what all the fuss was about and my family and myself enjoyed it very much. We had 5 full days of skiing and I am still un sure if we skied all the pistes. Vail is extremely big and the village area although spread out has many many shops, restaurants and bars. Our hotel has direct access to the pistes and the food was not too bad. The prices were very competitive and although we live close to many top European Resorts we will return to Vail within the next few years.

Jon Steven, NY I really enjoy vacationing in Vail. There can literary be thousands of people on the mountain and you can feel as though you are the only one. The terrain park and half pipe are a really high standard, you always see movies being filmed there. The back bowls are endless and whatever level you are you seem to be able to find a way down. The nightlife is booming, sometimes the last thing I feel like doing is getting up and snowboarding early in the morning after a night out! My advice to people planning a vacation at Vail is to spend at least 5 days there, it is so big it needs exploring properly. I've met people who have only spent a couple of days and haven't liked it much because they haven't had a chance to explore it properly. Also the on mountain food prices are pretty steep so be prepared!

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Statistics

Elevation
 
ft
m
summit
11,570
3,427
Base
8,120
2,475
Average Snowfall
350 inches
Lifts
31
Trails - view map
193
5,289 acres
Terrain %
advanced
25
intermediate
60
beginner
15
Halfpipe
1 super pipe
Terrain Park
3
Resort Website