Vail is vast. It’s one of the largest ski areas in the US – huge and diverse ski terrain with beautifully groomed pistes and ski-anywhere mostly un-groomed back bowls (seven in total). And this is why you come to Vail, to eat up the miles of superb slopes covered in 9 metres of snow per season.
The resort has four ski bases in Vail Village, Lionshead, Golden Peak and Cascade Village. Vail Village is built in a Tyrolean style with the peaked roofs, pastel coloured buildings and painted shutters. Luxury hotels and fantastic restaurants and plentiful here and it’s by far the most lively village, where Vail was born, if you like, a 1950s creation of founder Pete Seibert.
The villages are connected by a very efficient shuttle system so it’s easy to get from one to another, meaning it doesn't matter which village you ski back to at the end of the day, so why worry.
Skiing in the resort
Vail is essentially three tiers of skiing with the groomed front, home to the pisted trails cutting through the trees. Divided by a ridge to the back bowls which are un-groomed and unusually treeless providing wide open terrain which links to the Blue Sky Basin again is largely un-pisted yet wooded for some brilliant tree skiing.
Intermediates and experts will be thrilled by the sheer acreage of the ski area on offer. There are also some great mogul fields and double black diamond runs, served by a fast and efficient lift system. Beginners on ski holidays in Vail will enjoy having the choice of wide nursery slopes both at resort level and higher up the mountain.
Flexiski tip: Belle’s Camp at the top of Blue Sky Basin has BBQs for you to cook your own lunch and you can bring your own drink as well for a self-service lunch without the crowded canteen.
The resorts of Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone are all also covered by the lift pass and can be easily accessed by car if you need a change of scenery.
On-mountain dining isn't something Vail prides itself on, off the mountain, however, is another matter. There is an endless choice ranging from fine dining at Ludwig’s (in the Sonnenalp) to great value at Los Amigos. There is so much choice whatever end of the culinary scales you fancy.
After a day on the slopes, there are countless places to enjoy the après scene. The Red Lion offers live music or Garfinkel’s serves great drinks at the base of the mountain and a sun deck fuelled by DJs. Anyone looking for dancing and music will find the Shakedown Bar a very popular option as well.