Vail Ski Resort Guide
Vail is legendary, and with good reason. Any type of skier will find something interesting and challenging – or relaxing – here, and the après-ski options are plentiful and of good quality. It’s a bit of a drive from Denver, but well worth it, both for the scenery on the way and the quality of the destination once there.
With the fourth-largest amount of skiable terrain of any North American resort (2nd in the USA), and excellent snow conditions, all Vail needs to be a top choice of ski destination is a great selection of après-ski options and some beautiful scenery – and it has them.
At only 97 miles from Denver International (neighbours, by North American standards), and 35 miles from the regional airport at Vail/Eagle County, one to two hours on land gets to the resort from your arrival destination. Ground transportation options are plentiful, easy to book, and reasonably-priced.
Founded in the 1960s, at the opening of the resort itself, Vail Village is designed to look and feel like a Bavarian village. It has pedestrian streets, charming architecture, and everything you need for an enjoyable ski experience.
For the nightlife-minded, Vail Village is most popular, and families tend to prefer the Golden Peak district. Cascade village is quiet and it and Lionshead both have good access to ski lifts.
The resort is big, very big, and has something for everyone – both for skiing and après-skiing.
On the slopes
The high altitude and massive snowfall (over nine metres per year!) are complemented by snowmaking efforts that increase the reliability of snow at the beginning and tail end of the season, and make opening dates more predictable.
With over 35 beginner runs and even more intermediate, including long cruising runs, there is a wealth of terrain available to beginners and those seeking a little more challenge as they get more confident on skis.
The percentage of most-challenging runs can be misleading, at 4%, but when one considers the overall size of the resort (195 runs), and the 48% of runs that are considered ‘advanced,’ the wide choice of terrain for experts becomes quickly apparent. The back bowls are particularly popular.
If you’re looking for a club to party at, you’ll want to frequent the Bridge St area. The Red Lion is a good choice (and busy), as is the Samana Lounge, the Tap Room and The Club. These are mostly live music venues, as European techno music is the exception rather than the norm. That said, the parties are lively and crowded – a great atmosphere to finish off a skiing day.
Restaurants to check out include Garfinkels in Lionshead for an American take on the traditional pub, fine dining at Sweet Basil in Vail Village, the Ore House for steaks, and Montauk for seafood and a great atmosphere.
Visitors can also partake in sleigh rides, shopping, galleries, spas, cafés, and more.