Known for its wide open back bowls and exceptional natural snow record, Vail is total paradise for skiers. The largest resort in Colorado and the third largest in the States, Vail is within two hours of Denver International Airport and can be reached by car, bus or train. Stretching almost four miles along the I-70 freeway, Vail was built from scratch in the 1960s and was inspired by the founder's experiences in the Alps.
The original Vail Village is Bavarian/Tyrolean in style with car-free streets, upmarket shops, restaurants, galleries and a large number of luxury lodges, hotels and chalets. The main areas to stay are in the Village as well as the more modern Lionshead. For quieter, more intimate accommodation, Golden Peak is another option. The ski area is easily accessed from the three mountain bases and there is a free bus service to facilitate getting around.
Spanning 5,200 acres, Vail is home to one of the biggest linked ski areas in the USA, with three distinct sectors: the Front Side, the Back Bowls and Blue Sky Basin. Situated on the northern aspect, the Front Side offers diverse terrain from cruising greens to double blacks. Making up over half of the skiable acres, the Back Bowls are primarily south-facing and offer wide open basins above the treeline. Adding more northern-facing glade and steep skiing, Blue Sky Basin is mostly ungroomed with a ‘backcountry’ feel to it. Beginners can learn on nursery slopes at resort level and higher up the mountain and there are plenty of runs to progress to. There are also several terrain parks with plenty of features ranging from jumps to super-pipes.
Away from the slopes, Vail has plenty to offer; from art galleries and boutique shops to ski biking, tubing and snowshoeing. Compared to most US resorts, Vail is also on the livelier side when it comes to après-ski. During the season, Vail hosts a number of events including the Vail Film Festival, Taste of Vail and Spring Back to Vail. Offering fishing, ziplining, rafting, hiking and biking, Vail is also popular in the summer months.