Vail Ski Resort

Vail Ski Area has everything you could want on a Colorado ski trip. The mountain is enormous: with 5,300 skiable acres, it is the largest contiguous ski resort in North America. But a Vail ski vacation is about more than just the skiing or snowboarding. The Alpine-style town of Vail is a self-contained city, with a surplus of condominium housing, a lively après ski scene, and an impressive variety of restaurants, shopping, museums, movie screens, and traffic jams.

There are several other good ski areas within easy driving distance of the Vail ski resort. Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, and Keystone are all within a 45-minute drive and share ownership and therefore lift tickets with Vail. But the variety of skiing at Vail Ski Area is such that you could easily spend a weeklong Colorado ski trip on its slopes without seeing the whole mountain.

Vail ski resort has three distinct areas: the Front Side, the Blue Sky Basin, and the legendary Back Bowls. The Front Side is a great place for beginners and intermediates. The green slopes at Vail Colorado are spread across the mountain, so novices are not limited to one part of the resort like at many mountains. The best beginners areas are at Golden Peak, Eagle's Nest, and at the top of the Eagle Bahn Gondola.

Intermediate skiers and snowboarders are spoilt for choices on a Vail ski vacation. Most of the runs on the Front Side are pleasant groomers. Some of the best are near the Avanti express chair and at Lionshead. Confident intermediates will enjoy the groomed trails in the Back Bowls (and if you visit Vail on a Colorado ski trip, you want to be able to say that you skied Vail's Back Bowls!). If you are used to skiing powder, then much of the terrain at the secluded Blue Sky Basin is easily manageable.

Relatively speaking, the expert terrain at Vail Ski Resort takes up a small portion of the mountain, but this still means there are more advanced runs at Vail than most other ski areas. The Front Side has some challenging mogul runs like Highland and Prima runs and some fun chutes under the Vista Bahn lift. The Blue Sky Basin is a backcountry skiers delight, with a good variety of tree runs. And no Vail ski vacation is complete without a visit to the Back Bowls, perhaps the best wide-open skiing Colorado has to offer.

For snowboarders, in addition to the bowls, cruisers, and tree runs, Vail Colorado has four terrain parks, one of which features a huge superpipe suitable for performing X-Games style tricks.

Accommodation and dining choices at Vail ski resort are too numerous to list. The original hotel Lodge at Vail is still one of the best choices for overnight stays and the old Tyrolean Inn has been serving exotic game dishes in a classic Austrian setting for decades. Cheaper motels and fast food joints are also scattered around Eagle Valley, so a Vail ski trip — after the $70+ ticket price — does not have to break your budget.

Vail is located right off Interstate 70, so access is easy from Denver or towns in Summit County towns. Vail-Eagle airport is a short drive and offers flights from locations around the country.

Vail Ski Area has been the most popular in Colorado since the 1970s. Today, it remains the quintessential destination for a Colorado ski trip.

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