Vail Ski Vacation Guide

Find the cleanest, quickest, and smoothest powder ever to grace a pair of skis. Pour liberal amounts of it all over an ideal mountain with copious back-bowl terrain. Then add an outstanding ski patrol and award-winning instructors. Stir this mix with millions of enthusiastic skiers of all levels from all over the globe, and you've got a recipe for world-class success.

Ski Levels

The mountains provide plenty of trails for skiers at every level, from the brand-new beginner to the seasoned pro. The ski patrol is second to none providing a safe environment. The instructors are the best around and are there to improve both the beginner and expert skier. In addition, the Beaver Creek Ski and Snowboard School has won the international "Battle of the Ski Schools" the last three years in a row. Kids will enjoy ski biking, the giant tubing area, mini snowmobiles, and the bungee trampoline.

On the mountain, with the added wind chill factor, can lower temperatures by another 20 to 60 degrees. Light layers beneath a breathable waterproof shell or powder jacket are standard equipment essentials. Face masks, neck and ankle gators add a lot of comfort as well. Vail's back bowls are not for beginners, and intermediate skiers should give themselves an honest inspection of their more recent abilities before launching off. It may be worthwhile to gain the experienced services, advice and guidance of a ski instructor for half a day if you're going to attempt the back bowls for the first time. The rest of the mountain is safe for most everyone, so long as they heed the trail ability designations.

Après Ski

Vail has come a long way since George Townsend first came to the Beaver Creek Valley in 1881. Even back then, he was able to recognize that area had a certain special something, though no one at that time could possibly have imagined the potentials the area would eventually realize. The area offers over 100 dining options, and we're not talking chain restaurants. Experience shopping with the stars at over 100 stores and art galleries. And after you spend days on the mountain, you'll want to sign up for one of the many spas to enjoy a day of pampering and relaxation. Everyone should spends at least one winter vacation in the area, because it truly has something for everyone.

Vail Snowboard Vacation Guide

Rider’s Guide

Vail is often voted the country’s best mountain resort with 33 lifts, including 14 high-speed lifts and a gondola that take you up to 193 trails. There, 350 inches of deep powder will send you flying down the mountain on the longest run of 15,840 feet. Their trails are rated 18 percent for beginners, 29 percent for intermediates, 45 percent for advanced and 8 percent for experts only. Nearby Beaver Creek has 16 lifts, including 10 high-speed lifts that take you up to 148 trails. Enjoy 310 inches of deep powder on their longest run of 14,520 feet. Their trails are rated 19 percent for beginners, 43 percent for intermediates, and 38percent for advanced.

Parks and Pipes

World-class parks with an absolutely awesome superpipe. The area has four separate terrain parks with endless tabletops, rails, and log rails. The superpipe is 425-feet long with 22-foot walls. The Golden Peak Terrain Park starts off with a superpipe that you can hit in succession with the tabletops. Mule Skinner Terrain Park is on an adjacent trail to Golden Peak and includes a bit smaller features for less experienced boarders. Novice snowboarders should head to Bwana Park, Hunky Dory Park, or even go to Chaos Canyon, which is a kids adventure zone and terrain park. The mountain itself also has amazing natural features like the motocross jumps, which are three huge wind lips that form amazing natural tabletops. Cheetah Gully, Riva Bahn, Riva Glade, and Hairbag Alley are the snowboarders’ choice runs. Over at Beaver Creek, try Moonshine Park and Pipe, which is absolute heaven for expert level boarders. The Zoom Room is an excellent intermediate park and Park 101 is the mountain’s beginner-level park.

Out of Bounds

Vail is renowned for its wide variety of winter activities, such as hot air ballooning, ice skating, jeeping and off-road driving, rock climbing, sledding, cross-country skiing, fishing, horseback riding, and snowmobiling. Vail’s hot spot for outdoor activities is Adventure Ridge at Eagle’s Nest. It features an ice-skating rink, kids’ snowmobile track, a lift-served tubing hill, rebound trampolines and other activities. One of the craziest activities is ski-biking, where you go hurtling down the mountain at night with a light strapped to your head. Check out the Colorado Snowboarding Blog for more local info.

Hangout & Hookup

Vail is chock full of amazing après ski action. Try The Red Lion for some live music and great munchies. Check out Los Amigos at the base of the Vista Bahn, or if you’re feeling mellow, Mickey’s at the Lodge at Vail has the best piano and martini bar. Garfinkel’s and Vendetta’s in the Village are also great places to hang out. For real local charm you have to see Bart & Yeti’s, named after the owner’s dogs. At night, The Tap Room on Bridge Street is the adult’s favorite dance place, while just down the street you can go hang out with a younger crowd at Samana with their very loud rock. For more genteel music, try 8150 for live alternative, and The Club for acoustic guitar.