Vail Skiing

Vail skiing is the stuff that dreams are made of, and rare is the world ski resort that can rival it in terms of snowboarding as well. For starters, this high mountain resort in the Colorado Rockies offers seven miles of skiable terrain on the mountain front. This alone is enough to impress, but it only gets better when you consider the seven amazing bowls and the three excellent terrain parks. Vail is America's top ski resort for a reason. You simply get it all at this alpine retreat.

At Vail, the vertical drop that awaits skiers and snowboarders is 3,450 feet. Also worth noting is the fact that this renowned Colorado ski resort boasts 5,289 total skiable acres. You won't find more groomed terrain anywhere else in the world, and this is especially good news for beginners and intermediate-level skiers and snowboarders. For the advanced-level visitors, there is no shortage of thigh-burning mogul runs and challenging backcountry expanse. The Blue Sky Basin area, which is set on a mountain just south of Vail, is where the best backcountry bliss awaits. You can reach this area via high-speed quad lifts, and it is solely for the intermediate or advanced riders.

On average, Vail gets around 30 feet of snow per year, and it is most often of the light and fluffy variety. After a heavy snowstorm, the likes of which can see a few feet fall on the mountains in a few hours, the back bowls especially are a powder hound's delight. As for the overall Vail skiing scene, there are almost 200 conventional trails to select from, and they offer something for every level. In the terrain parks, a variety of jumps and rails await, not to mention some huge half-pipes. More than 30 lifts get skiers and snowboarders where they need to go on Vail Mountain, and if you are just starting out, the ski school is world class.

Vail ski rentals and snowboard rentals are available if you need them, and it is possible to rent the most state-of-the-art equipment out there if that is the aim. The rental shops are right in Vail Village, which is located at the base of the mountain. Also found in the village are a variety of shops, restaurants, and bars. Once the lifts close at 4 p.m., many skiers and snowboarders filter into the village and treat themselves to some of the best apres-ski action that you will find anywhere on the planet.

A Vail ski pass isn't exactly cheap, though you might expect to pay more than average for an experience like this. The chance to get up on the mountain and savor the divine alpine vistas alone justifies the price, and then there's the immaculate skiing and the wonderful atmosphere at the various mountain lodges. Both day and multi-day Vail lift tickets are available, and it should be noted that they are also good for the other Vail Resorts. These resorts include Breckenridge, Arapahoe Basin, Keystone, and Beaver Creek, which is just around the bend.

Vail ski packages that include lift tickets and things such as ski rentals and accommodations are available if you wish to take advantage. Often times, these packages include discounts, and in general, they can make things easier when trying to arrange Vail ski vacations.

As for getting to Vail, driving or taking a shuttle is the most common means. The resort sits along the Interstate 70 corridor and can be reached by way of car or shuttle in about two hours from the Denver International Airport, or just 45 minutes from the Eagle Airport. For those who are arriving by car, this is a destination where you can park a vehicle and virtually forget about it until you're ready to leave. In the main village, buses provide free transportation, though you might simply rely on your own two feet for getting around. It is possible to walk to most everything, especially in the main village core.

Image: Tom Green

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