Vail Mountian Colorado is one of the most popular ski resorts in the world. It boasts 5,317 acres of skiable terrain and over 82% of trails rated as intermediate or expert.
Veteran 10th Mountain Division soldiers Pete Siebert, Bill Brown and Bob Parker founded Vail in 1962. After returning home from World War II, they hatched the idea of a ski area on the scenic Vail Mountain.
The history of Vail Mountian Colorado is a rich and fascinating one. The valley was originally inhabited by Native Americans, who called the majestic peaks of the Gore Range “The Shining Mountains.” In the 1870s, however, greedy mining prospectors descended on the area, setting up mines and railroad tracks in an attempt to extract the gold and silver that surrounded them.
Eventually the Ute Indians were driven from their lands, and the land became an open pasture for sheep ranchers until Highway 6 was built through the valley in 1939. Charles Vail, a former chief engineer for the Colorado Highway Department, gave his name to the road and later the town.
Once Vail Mountain had established itself, the area expanded rapidly through development and construction projects. In the 1980s, for example, the ski resort installed six high-speed quad lifts, which helped to reduce the resort’s lift line by half and greatly improved the experience for visitors.
As the years passed, new resort developments took shape on both sides of the Vail Valley. These included Arrabelle at Vail Square and a skier bridge in Lionshead; Solaris at Vail, the Ritz-Carlton Residences, the Four Seasons and Sebastian in Vail Village; and a complete makeover of the “front door,” where the Lodge at Vail meets the ski hill at the Vista Bahn Express chairlift.
The resulting improvements helped the ski resort become North America’s largest and most popular. In 1989, it had 3,787 acres of skiable terrain and six high-speed quad lifts.
In 1998, the resort’s plans for a new 885-acre project in the Back Bowls met with fierce opposition from local residents and environmentalists. Animal rights groups also raised their voices, protesting the encroachment on elk habitats and Canada lynx.
Vail Mountian Colorado, one of the most popular ski resorts in the world, is home to over 5,289 acres of terrain. This includes the legendary Back Bowls, seven wide-open bowls spanning the mountain, along with more than 500 additional acre of terrain in Blue Sky Basin.
There are 31 lifts and 193 trails at Vail Mountian Colorado, and the majority of the terrain is open for skiing. The front side offers a variety of cruising runs accessible from most lifts, while the Back Bowls offer intermediate and advanced terrain.
On the Front Side, beginner and intermediate skiers can enjoy easy-to-access greens and gentle blues. For expert skiers, the Back Bowls are the place to go.
The Back Bowls are huge and stretch in all directions, a sight to behold. The vast expanse of this mountain area, known as “Cathedral,” is the centerpiece of the Vail resort and is considered the backbone of the resort’s terrain.
As a result, it is often the first area to receive snow. This gives the area a solid base and helps to make early and late-season skiing easier.
Vail also has a number of terrain parks to choose from. The entry level park with the smallest features is Avanti Park near the lower part of the Avanti Express Lift (#2). The more advanced Bwana Park between Eagle Bahn (#19) and Born Free (#8) has larger features for riders who are ready to progress their skills.
There are also many steep and deep ski runs to be found at Vail. Some of these slopes are in-bounds and offer some of the best steep skiing in Colorado.
Vail Mountian Colorado is one of the largest ski resorts in the United States, boasting 5,289 skiable acres, a vertical drop of 3,450 feet and 31 lifts. It also has 195 trails that cater to a variety of skill levels.
The mountain offers plenty of terrain for both beginners and experts, with well-maintained slopes perfect for novices and rugged runs for strong skiers. It’s also home to some of the state’s best terrain parks, including one superpipe and one halfpipe.
On the front side, beginners can find gentle slopes off the upper-mountain Sourdough and Game Creek lifts. They can also access a large number of groomed green trails that lead back down to the base areas.
Intermediates and stronger skiers will have fun tackling the front side’s steep mogul runs, narrow chutes, and wide-open cliffs. They can also take advantage of Vail’s expansive terrain park, which is home to three full-size pipes.
For expert skiers, Vail has 2600 skiable acres of gnarly terrain to explore. It’s home to big cliffs, huge cornices, narrow chutes and some of the state’s best tree skiing.
The Front Side of the mountain has some of the best powder in Colorado, thanks to its proximity to the Gore Range. It’s also home to the longest run in the resort, Riva Ridge, which starts out black and gradually mellows to blue. It’s also home to many of the mountain’s most famous runs, including North Rim and South Rim.
If you’re looking to explore Vail Colorado while on a ski vacation, you can find restaurants that cater to any palate and budget. From Iron Chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s famed Japanese fine dining restaurant to a slice of pizza and a beer at Vendetta’s, there’s a lot to love about Vail’s dining scene.
For a European-inspired meal that will make you feel like you’re back in Austria, Pepi’s Restaurant & Bar is a must visit. The Gramshammer family’s restaurant offers a mix of traditional European dishes and American-style favorites, such as Steak Tartar and Hungarian Goulash.
Located in Vail Village, Mountain Standard is an elegant mountain lounge that offers creative cocktails and impressive dishes. Try the Sea Legs made with Smith and Cross Rum, Jones family triple sec, lemon, and lychee liqueur or The Dreadnought, a refreshing mix of Del Maguey Vida Mezcal, lemon, and roasted pineapple juice.
There’s also a raw bar with a selection of seafood and meat options. A favorite is the corned pork shank with a caraway vinaigrette, puffed farro, green apple, cabbage, and gruyere potato puree.
The 10th is the best fine-dining establishment on the slopes. Located atop Gondola One in MidVail, this lodge-style dining room overlooks the majestic Gore Range and offers modern alpine versions of classic comfort foods.
This place has a great vibe and is perfect for apres ski or just hanging out with friends. It’s also a favorite for families because of its friendly staff and comfortable atmosphere. You can sit out on the patio to enjoy the sun while you sip your brews and eat some great food.
Whether you’re looking for a cozy chalet, a modern hotel, or a condominium with breathtaking mountain views, Vail has a wide range of accommodations to fit every taste and budget. Many accommodations are within walking distance of ski lifts, unique alpine villages, and mountain trails for hiking and biking.
The first step to finding the right place for your Vail getaway is deciding what kind of atmosphere you want. Do you prefer a vibrant nightlife scene, or would you rather relax in a peaceful setting? You’ll also need to consider what type of skiing you want to do — does your group need easy access to beginner terrain, or would you like to explore the back bowls?
If you’re traveling with children, choose a location that is close to Vail Mountain and a child-friendly hotel. For example, the Tivoli Lodge in Vail Village is a short walk from Gondola 1 and has a bunny hill for beginners and kids.
Another great option is the Montaneros in Lionshead Village. It’s a condo hotel with a heated pool and hot tub located within walking distance to the Eaglebahn gondola. The hotel also has a bar and a fitness center for guest use.
Finally, if you’re looking for a hotel near the Colorado Ski & Snowboard Museum, the Austria Haus is an excellent choice. The hotel is located three minutes from the museum and features several exhibits about the history of skiing and snowboarding.
If you’re traveling on a budget, look for a place that is convenient to the West Vail bus line and has a kitchen and washer and dryer. You can also find a few restaurants nearby that are easy to walk to.