About Vail, Colorado
Vail, Colorado is a Rocky Mountain paradise. It’s a playground for kids and kids-at-heart alike. At any given moment there are hundreds of adventures to be had, places to explore, and ways to explore them. And in between it all, there are so many chances to pause. Relax and restart. Step back and take it all in. Renew body, mind and spirit.
Vail is located just 100 miles west of Denver (about 2 hours by car). Interstate 70 runs east-west through the middle of Vail, offering easy access to and from the resort, whether you’re driving or flying. Denver International Airport (DIA) serves Vail, as does the Eagle Airport (EGE). EGE is located just 40 minutes west of Vail and offers non-stop flights year-round from numerous U.S. cities. View the current EGE flight schedule here.
The Town of Vail sits at an elevation of 8,150 feet and Vail Mountain rises to 11,570 feet at its highest point. Vail Mountain boasts 5,289 skiable acres and 33 ski lifts, including two gondolas.
Mount of the Holy Cross, the only 14,000 ft. peak in Eagle County, is visible from Vail Mountain. Guests are also treated to views of the Gore Range from both the base and the top of the mountain.
The sun shines on this happy little valley nearly every day of the year (it’s been said that Denver sees over 300 days of sunshine a year and Vail is no different). The summer temps tend to top out around 78 degrees and winter lows hover around freezing or below.
Thanks to its high elevation, cool temps, and dry air, the snow falls heavy and falls often throughout the winter months (typically November through April); Vail enjoys, on average, 300 inches of snow a year, much of it the luxurious powder coveted by ski and snowboard fanatics.
Summer in Vail is truly spectacular. Most days are sunny, clear and calm, and the evenings and nights are delightfully cool. Vail’s fresh mountain air will take your breath away.
While the summer months tend to be dryer than the winter months, you can expect rain and, sometimes violent, thunderstorms in the afternoon during the area’s “monsoon season” from July through the end of August. Always check the forecast, bring a rain jacket, and avoid being outdoors in exposed areas from 2:00 – 6:00 p.m. during those months. Be sure to check Vail.net’s custom weather report, updated every morning!
If you’re flying into Denver or Eagle Airport, you can rent a car to Vail, but you don’t need to. Take a shuttle or private transportation service from the airport and skip the driving entirely. You really don’t need a car in Vail!
Vail is a pedestrian village with three village cores:
- Vail Village, the main shopping and dining area with direct access to Vail Mountain
- Lionshead Village, just west of Vail Village and with similar amenities
- Golden Peak, a ski area base facility east of Vail Village
There are also two main outlying communities: West Vail, just three miles away from the Village core, and East Vail, five miles away.
To connect all these areas for locals and guests alike, Vail operates the largest free transportation system in the country. The Town of Vail provides free bus transportation throughout the entire town, from West Vail to East Vail. There are several different routes offering frequent pick-up and drop-off times. Visit the Vail Transportation Center to pick up a bus schedule.
Free buses also shuttle guests and residents throughout the Lionshead,Vail Village, and Golden Peak areas at ten to twenty minute intervals, depending on the time of year.
Eagle County’s bus system, ECO, provides daily access, for a small fee, to and from Avon, Edwards and Eagle. Guests can access Beaver Creek from Vail by taking the ECO bus to the Elk Lot stop in Avon and then hopping on the free Beaver Creek shuttle, which takes you up to the resort. The same shuttle offers regular free service throughout the resort once you arrive, too.
Parking in either the Vail Village or Lionshead parking structures is free in the summer and in the evenings (after 3 p.m.) in the winter. Free short term (0-2 hours) parking is also available in the winter. Rates for day-time parking in the winter after 2 hours start at $15 and cap at $25. Season parking passes are available for purchase. There are also several outlying free parking areas for skiers but they fill up fast. Click here for more information about parking in and around Vail.
Vail is not only a world-class resort; it is also a thriving community. Eagle County Schools is the public school district, and Vail is home to the private Vail Mountain School.
Vail’s hospital, Vail Valley Medical Center, serves locals and visitors from around the world. Renowned for its superb orthopedic medicine services and facilities, Vail is also home to the Steadman Hawkins Clinic and Vail Summit Orthopedics. The Shaw Cancer Center, in nearby Edwards, serves patients from throughout the Rocky Mountain region.
Just 10 miles from Vail, Beaver Creek resort is one of the finest alpine resorts in the world. Beyond the magnificent entry gates lies a self-contained resort community that prides itself on providing low-key family-oriented relaxation, outstanding service, and exquisite amenities. Many visitors to Vail enjoy spending a day or more at Beaver Creek, skiing, shopping, dining, and enjoying its wonderful cultural offerings, including the Vilar Performing Arts Center.
Vail was discovered in the late 1950’s/early 1960’s by Eagle County native Earl Eaton. The story goes something like this: Earl grew up in the area just west of Vail now known as Cordillera. He served in the Second World War and, after returning from Europe, became obsessed with skiing.
His passion for skiing drove him to explore new ski areas to develop; he considered mountains such as Mount Massive near Leadville and Peak 1 near Frisco, but Vail’s back bowls, which he saw for the first time while hunting in the area as a teen, were never far from his mind. In the early 1950’s, he began to start talking to people about developing Vail.
In 1957, while working at the Loveland Ski Area, Earl met a man named Pete Seibert. Earl told Pete about his vision for a new ski area, and Pete liked the idea. The two spent the following summer exploring not only Vail, but also other potential ski areas in the Colorado high country. By the end of the summer, they realized Vail was simply the best spot out there and decided to move ahead with building their dream ski resort.
Vail Mountain opened for skiing on December 15, 1962 (Vail was later incorporated as a town in 1966). The small resort had a ski school, a ski patrol, and a town with minimal services, hotels, and restaurants. There was a gondola to take skiers from the base to Mid Vail and two chairlifts to then shuttle them to the top of the mountain. Lift tickets were five dollars.
Today Vail boasts one of the best ski schools in the world, a bustling town full of hotels, restaurants, and shops, a vibrant community, and a breathtaking summer experience.
Fall in love with Vail!
You may just be getting acquainted with Vail, or perhaps you’ve been coming here since the beginning. However familiar you are with this spectacular place, we invite you to poke around and get to know it even better. Try something new. Or explore an old favorite. Fall in love a little. You’ll be glad you did.