Vail Resort & Mountain – Skiing & Snowboarding

With over 5,289 skiable acres, Vail Resort and Mountain is the country’s largest single mountain resort with some of the friendliest resort terrain in the US.  Vail has long been a treasured ski and snowboard destination for world-class athletes, offering up some of the best powder paired with the amenities of a world-class resort.  It’s also a beloved destination for families, as the manifold choices of terrain, premier trail maintenance and family-friendly features cater to kids of all ages and all abilities. When you think about Colorado Ski Resorts, Vail is always top of mind.

First off, it’s important to get your bearings.  Vail has 3 base areas to choose from to start out your day on the hill: Vail Village, Golden Peak and Lionshead.  All of Vail’s 31 lifts are accessible via these 3 launching points, giving you access to the Front Side, Back Bowls and Blue Sky Basin.  Here’s a deconstructed look at the ins and outs of Vail’s terrain to help you perfectly plan your route.

Vail’s Front Side is a treasure trove of beginner, intermediate and expert trails.  Reaching a peak elevation of 11,570 ft., the front side ranges from predictable, groomed cruisers, to the heart-pumping workout of rhythmic bump runs.  With Vail’s well- organized chairlift system for easy access, riders appreciate the ability to move around the mountain efficiently.  From Lionshead, explore the Eagle’s Nest area and long, satisfying Blue cruisers like Born Free and Simba.  From the Vail Village Gondola (formerly the Vista Bahn) destination point of Mid-Vail, access several Intermediate and Expert jaunts such as Chair 4’s mellow Ramshorn, expert Prima and Riva Ridge (the longest single run in Vail).  Chair 3 and Chair 2 are accessible as well from mid-mountain, with a myriad of fun runs to choose from.  Golden Peak and the Riva Bahn Express gives access to gentle beginner terrain, the steep faces of Chair 10 and the crowd-pleasing slopes of Northwoods and Chair 11.   When you’re ready for more, head to the Back Bowls.

The legendary Back Bowls of Vail were first spotted when Earl Eaton and Pete Seibert, the founders of Vail, climbed Vail to survey the landscape with dreams of building a ski resort.  Though many naysayers doubted the ski-ability of the bowls, Eaton and Seibert forged ahead with their plans.  Andthank goodness they did, because their vision results in some of the most coveted resort bowl terrain in North America- a massive vista with miles and miles of snow-blanketed meadows.  There are 7 bowls in all, each lending a different “angle” to your mountain experience.  Game Creek Bowl has approachable intermediate trails perfect for those discovering the back bowls.  Sun Up and Sun Down Bowls are graced with long, moderate pitches interspersed with shorter steep runs, plus chutes and glades galore.  China Bowl and Siberia Bowl have steep, long adrenaline-filled runs, towering cornices and deep tree skiing to satisfy aggressive riders, plus a good dose of groomed cruisers for more cautious riders.

Open since 2000, Blue Sky Basin adds even more diversity to the already blissful Vail backside experience.  Blue Sky more closely resembles backcountry riding than resort riding, with over 600 acres of pristine meadows and glades serviced by 3 high-speed quads.  The slopes of Earl’s and Pete’s Bowls are often endowed with a few extra inches of fresh, making them a popular destination for powder-hounds (head out there early to stay ahead of the crowds!) Skiers and snowboarders alike cherish Blue Sky for its serene vibe and unparalleled epic terrain.

Speaking of terrain…grommets big and small love to tear it up in the 3 terrain parks on Vail Mountain.  The biggest, Gold Peak Park, has pro-style features, including Superpipe, boxes and rails.  Pride and Bwana are equipped with smaller features for those just learning to rip it up in the park.  Kids also love the winding mazes of Chaos Canyon and other Kid’s Adventure Zones for pint-sized fun.   No matter what your preference, Vail Mountain gives a memory-making spectacular skiing and snowboarding experience of a lifetime. Vail is one of the largest ski areas in the nation and is the largest ski resort in Colorado.

Vail Mountain Snapshot

Season     November 18, 2016 – April 23, 2017
Hours of Operation     8:30/9:00am – 4:00pm
Base Elevation     8,120 ft. / 2,476 m
Mid Elevation     10,250 ft./3,125 m
Summit Elevation     11,570 ft. / 3,527 m
Vertical Rise     3,450 ft. / 1,052 m
Snowmaking     461 acres
Number of Lifts     31
Gondolas       1
High-Speed Quads     17
Fixed-grip Quads       1
Triple Chairs      2
Double Chair     1
Total Uphill Capacity/hour     59,069 skiers/hour
Average Annual Snowfall     354 inches
Total Skiable Area     5,289 acres
Conventional Trails        193
Front Side     1,627 acres
Back Bowls     3,017 acres
Blue Sky Basin        645 acres
Terrain Parks     3 (Golden Peak, Bwana and Pride)
Half Pipes     1

Superpipe     1