Vail Ski Resort: A Stunning Mountain Getaway

There is nothing that can make winter exciting and thrilling in the way skiing does. Every skier would admit that life is better on slopes. Vail ski resort has been one of the top choices of winter destinations for passionate snowboarders and skiers for all the good reasons.

While the rocky snow covered peaks of Vail Ski Resort make it a perfect winter vacation spot, the world-famous back bowls add to the adventure. Moreover, the magical combination of around 300+ days of sunshine and 370+ inches of snow every year, makes the phrase ‘Like nothing on Earth’ come to reality.

Overview Of Vail Ski Resort

Founded in 1955, Vail Ski Resort has been one of the top winter destination resorts for snow sports fans and skiers in the US for more than 50 years. It can be coveted as one of the largest ski resorts around the globe with about 5,300 acres of developed ski and snowboard terrain, seven massive Back Bowls spanning seven miles, and the most groomed terrain on the planet.

Vail town is shown in the picture with a view of ski resort and ski area in background
Source : Getty Images

You can get your hands on the endless fun-filled possibilities such as scenic hiking trails, themed events, dining experiences in the local villages, dip into the feathery powder in magnificent back bowls, and much more.

MonthAverage SnowfallSnowfall DaysAverage Base DepthAverage Summit DepthMax Base DepthBiggest Snowfall
Nov25”7 days21”17”35”10”
Dec57”15 days30”30”52”12”
Jan53”13 days44”43”449”21”
Feb46”13 days56”56”85”17”
Mar46”12 days62”62”96”15”
Apr24”7 days53”49”83”13”
May0.3”0 days9”7”56”3”
June0”0 days0”0”0”0”


Vail Ski Resort, as the name suggests, is located in the western United States, in the heart of Colorado. Occupying massive 5,317 acres, it makes the third-largest single-mountain ski resort in the US featuring seven majestic back bowls and intermediate graded terrain.

Vail Back Bowls ski area is shown in the picture where skiers are enjoying

The magnificent mountains of Vail have three sections:

  1. The Front-Side
  2. Blue Sky Basin
  3. Back Bowls

Wide open terrain makes the most of Vail Ski Resort with all types of trails. Multiple cruising runs are accessible not only from the front side but also from the blue sky basin lifts and back bowls.

In the mid-1950s, when the resort opened, the Vail village was also built. The village of Vail speaks of Bavarian Village style with pedestrian streets, unlike other ski towns in Colorado, which exist as mining towns.

Another great destination in Colorado for skiing is Aspen Snowmass, which we have covered in detail earlier.

How To Get To Vail Ski Resort

Flights To Vail

Getting to Vail is not at all difficult. The resort is in the heart of the rocky mountains of Colorado, surrounded by two airports.

About 100 miles west of Vail Ski Resort lies Denver International Airport (DIA). Similarly, Eagle/Vail Airport (EGE) is just 30 miles east, offering non-stop flights from 10 cities. The newest ones introduced are Denver, Dallas, and Houston.

Must plan and scan your itinerary for detail as there are some hidden things you need to know beforehand.

Another good thing is to know about dot-approved cases in case you are a smoker and want to take the lighter onboard an airplane.

Airport To Vail Ski Resort

After you reach the airport, you can avail door-to-door airport shuttle through Colorado Mountain Express. The shuttle service is perfect for the ones who do not want to rent a car and don’t feel comfortable driving in the snow and mountains.

However, if you want to enjoy the road trip, you have plenty of options for private car service. The best at Denver Airport is Enterprise with their easy and quick service. You can rent a car and drive it yourself, enjoying the rocky terrain or enjoying the ride while relaxing in the backseat by hiring a driver with the car.

Moreover, you can use a double shuttle to reach the rental service or to the hotel, if you want to stay a night in the city before traveling to the resort.

Direction Of Vail Ski Resort From DIA

The drive from Denver International Airport to Vail takes about two hours, which can increase in case of unusual traffic. You have to take Pena Boulevard to I-70 west and after about 120 miles, the 176 exit leads you straight to Vail.

Direction Of Vail Ski Resort From EGE

EGE is the nearest airport to Vail. When driving from the airport to Vail, you take Cooley Mesa Road to Highway 6 and follow it to the signs of I-70 East. After a drive of about 25-30 minutes, take exit 176, and you are at your destination.

Although the drive from both airports is straightforward but we recommend checking weather conditions beforehand. Moreover, if you are not experienced enough to drive on snowy terrains, it is better to choose a shuttle service or a car with an experienced driver. Driving in the city is far away from driving in the mountains with heavy snowfall.

In case you intend to explore eastern America for ski adventure then do read our take on Okemo vs Killington to know which out of two is best suited for you.

Where To Stay Once You’ve Reached

Now when you have reached the heavenly location, the question arises of where to stay. Two major options are the village and the town. We have listed down some top accommodations with highlighting details so that you can have a brief look at them.

Vail Hotels skyline – Source : TripAdvisor

Preview these Amazing Deals at Vails Ski Resort
Accommodation NamePer Night ChargesBasic AmenitiesPet FriendlyAdditional Features
The Lodge at Vail, A RockResort$239Pool, Spa, Hot Tub, Free Wifi, RestaurantYesGondola lift just on 2 min walk
Sonnenalp$349Pool, Hot Tub, Spa, Free Wifi, RestaurantNoGondola one ski lift on 9 min walk, Kids friendly services
The Sebastian – Vail$349Restaurant, Spa, Pool, Hot TubYesColorado Snowsports Museum and Hall of Fame on 5 min walk
Evergreen Lodge at Vail$139Parking space, Spa, Pool, Free WifiYesVail Ski Resort on 3 min drive
Gravity Haus Vail$209Gym, Free Wifi, Spa, Hot TubYesGondola One Ski Lift on 6 min walk

 *Prices as of May 2023*

Terrain-Vail Ski Resort

Vail Ski Resort features 195 trails in total with a whopping 53% for advanced skiers, 29% for intermediate, and 18% for newbies.

Riva Ridge makes the longest run about 4 miles. When talking about the lift system, there are 32 in total. The detailed description can go as follows:

Skiable terrain by difficulty

18% (957 acres)29% (1,542 acres)53% (2,818 acres)
Easiest trails on the hill with a gradual 25% or less gradient.Usually wide to accommodate beginner skiers.Most popular and crowded runs.Slope of anywhere between 25-40%.Hardest slopes on the mountain.Very steep gradients over 40%.
Lift TypeQuantity
Gondolas2 ( for 12 and 10 person)
High Speed Six’s4
High Speed Quads14
Fixed Grip Quad1
Fixed Grip Triples2
Surface Lifts9

As we have discussed above, the skiing terrain of Vail can be divided into three major parts.

Front-Side Vail Ski Resort

The front side is the one facing north and features the greatest verticals. It is the most heavily crowded zone as it has the majority of the groomed terrain and more than half of the lifts. This zone is just 1,655 acres, about the same size as other Colorado ski resorts.

Blue Sky Basin

This zone of 645 acres is mainly for advanced-level skiers. A few intermediate terrains with groomed trails amongst the trees also exist, but they are not that many. The rough and bumpy terrains are a treat for advanced-level thrill seekers.

Back Bowls

at Vail Ski Resort, Back Bowls (3,017 acres) are a set of seven south facing large treeless bowls that beautifully soak up the sun and provide 2000 feet in vertical of the face shot heaven. The names of these seven fabulous bowls for advanced riders are Game Creek, Mongolia (Inner and Outer), Sun Down, Sun Up, China, Tea Cup, and Siberia.

As Vail Mountain is quite huge, advanced level skiers may find the terrain layout has some shortcomings. Despite having a lot of lifts, you still find a couple of large spaces of terrain between them.

The cat tracks on the front side may annoy you as well. Moreover, Vail Mountain also has a couple of flat spots at the top, which can irritate snowboarders. However, these small shortcomings do not make the terrain less fun-filled and thrilling.

The Best Snow Trails At Vail

  • Dealers Choice: This is an absolutely wonderful introductory ski trail. It’s an easy run to Lost Boy in Game Creek Bowl. About three forth into the trail, there’s a steep section for Game Creek Chair so remember to not get too comfortable!
  • Born Free: This long green-to-blue run starts at Eagle’s Nest all the way to the Lionshead base area and Eagle Bahn Gondola.
  • Avanti: This is a fun and well-groomed run with a steep patch right in the middle.
  • Look Mia: This trail offers a great opportunity to show off your skills to all of Mid-Vail!
  • Riva Ridge: It is one of the original trails and is still one of the longest ones. The trail is quite steep and is great for experts.

3-Day And 7-Day Itinerary For The Ultimate Trip To Vail Ski Resort

3 Day Itinerary-Vail Ski Resort

1Arriving at the Resort, Breakfast, Skiing and Snowboarding on Vail MountainsScrumptious lunch, Exploring the nearby villageTraditional dinner at a local restaurant
2Breakfast in the hotel, A relaxing time at spaSkiing and Snowboarding on Vail Mountains followed by a fulfilling lunchA guided trip to the village, Cozy dinner
3  Breakfast, Skiing and Snowboarding on Vail MountainsShopping at Vail village, lunch at Mountain StandardA high-end dinner at a fine dining restaurant

7 Day Itinerary-Vail Ski Resort

1Arrive at the resort, breakfast in the hotelExplore the resort and terrains, Grab the drinksA guided trip to the village followed by a scrumptious dinner
2Breakfast in the hotelSnowboarding and skiing at Vail MountainsShopping at village’s upscale boutiques
3Breakfast in the hotel, Snowboarding and skiing at Vail MountainsFat tire biking on rough terrains, Quick energy drinksRelax and enjoy a hot cup of coffee
4Breakfast in the hotel, Snowboarding and skiing at Vail MountainsRelaxing spa to give yourself a restExploring the local area, dinner at a local restaurant
5Breakfast in the hotelSnowboarding and skiing at Vail MountainsWander in the surrounding wonderland, dinner
6Breakfast in the hotel, Snowboarding and skiing at Vail MountainsIce skating, delicious lunchDinner at a slope side restaurant
7Breakfast in the hotelSnowboarding and skiing at Vail MountainsShopping at Vail village, dinner

Terrain Parks At Vail Ski Resort

Avanti Park

  • Baby park of Vail Mountain specifically for beginners
  • Two small jumps and small snow features
  • Located below the steep face of Avanti
  • Two wide beginner trails
  • Can be accessed through Avanti Express Lift # 2

Bwana Park

  • Accessible through Born Free Express Lift
  • Mid-size jump line
  • Little more advanced and larger rails and boxes
  • For intermediate level skiers and snowboarders

Golden Peak

  • Largest terrain park located under the Riva Bahn chairlift
  • Four small jumps
  • About 15 beginner rollers, features, and berms
  • A mix of medium to large rails, boxes and jibs
  • Medium jump triple line

Perks Of Having Epic Pass

Vail is on Epic Pass and not on Ikon Pass.

  • You can have access to multiple global ski resorts
  • Includes unlimited skiing and other adventure activities
  • Avail discounted lift tickets for yourself, friends and family without waiting at the tickets counter
  • Explore different terrains at a discounted rate
  • Many other discounts on restaurants, rentals, and many others

Skiing Gear You Must Have

When you plan on visiting Vail Ski Resort for your winter break, you must carry some essentials to make the most out of your trip. Once you have all the needed gear, you can enjoy the journey comfortably. We are sharing a comprehensive list of the items that you must pack in your bag.

What you’ll need

●       Layering is very important to keep yourself warm. Invest in a snug fit, thermal top, preferably with hand and thumb holes to prevent the sleeves from scrunching up.

●       Warm gloves and mittens to keep your palms and fingers toasted.

●       Skiing socks so that your feet don’t freeze.

●       A helmet to keep your head safe in case of collision or falling. Moreover, it will also keep your head warm and covered.

●       A pair of high-quality ski goggles so that ice does not go into your eyes.

Lessons To Choose From

Whether you are fond of technical terrain or steep slopes or are just a newbie learning to ski on gentle terrains, the instructors at Vail Ski Resort are always there for you. They train you and polish the abilities you already have so that you can make the most out of your skiing experience.

●       Child Group Ski And Snowboarding Lessons: This lesson is for kids aged between 3-15 years to build a passion for mountains and skiing.

●       Adult Group Ski And Snowboarding Lessons: The world-class instructors train you to unlock more of the great Vail mountain and increase your confidence to explore the snowy terrains on the rocky peaks.

●       Private Ski And Snowboarding Lessons: Customized lessons for individuals, a family, or a small group of up to 6 people, where the instructor will guide you personally to unleash your potential.

Dining Options At Vail Ski Resort

Vail is the home to multiple high-end restaurants and bars within its territory.

All of these dining places showcase some of the country’s finest chefs, entertainers, and sommeliers. Ranging from a music filled après ski decks to intimate dinner tables for the couple, you will find many more. We have compiled a list of our favorites along with a few major details.


  • European mountain cottage with a rustic ambiance.
  • Best place for enjoying an authentic alpine experience.
  • Gluten free, vegetarian, and children menu available.


  • Fine dining restaurant with multiple lunch and dinner options.
  • A warm and inviting ambiance.
  • Kids menus, vegetarian, and gluten free available.

La Bottega

  • Traditional homemade Italian food.
  • Best tiramisu you will ever taste.

Pazzo’s Pizzeria

  • A perfect place to grab beer, wine, and exotic cocktails.
  • Gluten free pizza available.
  • Credit cards accepted.

Fall Line

  • Classic and unique cocktails using a special blend of ingredients.
  • Offer lunch and dinner daily.

Shopping Options At Vail Colorado

●       Olivia Showroom: Luxury and vintage women’s store.

●       Henry Beuguelin: Italian-crafted shoes, bags, wallets, and belts for men and women.

●       Aviator Nation: California lifestyle brand of hoodies and sweatpants.

●       Ogier: High-end men’s and women’s apparel and outdoor wear.

●       Vail Bike Hub: Locally owned and operated bike shop featuring Mountain bikes, road bikes, E-bike, comfort bikes, and junior bike rentals.

The Best Time To Go Skiing In Vail

Choosing the right time to visit Vail is essential to make the most of your trip. Let’s have a look at what, according to us, is the best time to go skiing at Vail ski resort.

Peak Season Bliss

During the peak season, which typically runs from late December to early March, Vail is at its prime. With abundant snowfall and well-groomed trails, this is the perfect time for intermediate and advanced skiers to enjoy the resort’s challenging slopes.

Powder Paradise

For those seeking the legendary powder skiing experience, the months of January and February are ideal. Vail receives its highest snowfall during this time, ensuring fresh powder on the slopes and creating a paradise for powder hounds.

Value And Fewer Crowds

To avoid the crowds and enjoy better deals, consider visiting Vail during the shoulder seasons. The months of November, early December, and late March offer a good balance between decent snow conditions, lower accommodation rates, and fewer people on the mountain. This time is perfect for the ones who want to avoid the crowd.

Additional Tips For Planning A Trip To Vail Ski Resort

Book Accommodations In Advance at Vail Ski Resort

Vail offers a range of accommodations, from luxury resorts to cozy lodges and vacation rentals. We have shared a few with you above as well. However, these options tend to fill up quickly, especially during peak season. If you want to secure your preferred choice, make your reservations well in advance. 

Purchase Lift Tickets And Ski Rentals In Advance

You can save time and money by purchasing lift tickets and arranging ski rentals before your trip. Many resorts offer discounted rates for online purchases, and pre-booking ensures availability, especially during busy periods.

Look for package deals that include lift tickets, rentals, and lessons, which offer additional savings.

Plan Ski Lessons Or Guides

If you’re a beginner or looking to improve your skills, booking ski lessons or hiring a guide will be much better for you. Feel free to avail the lessons and guides we have shared above.

They will not only introduce you to hidden gems and less crowded trails but also enhance your overall experience.

Explore Off-Piste Activities

While skiing is the main attraction in Vail, there are plenty of off-piste activities to enjoy as well. Try taking a break from the slopes and try snowshoeing, ice skating, tubing, or even dog sledding. Vail also offers a vibrant dining and shopping scene, so make sure to explore the local shops and restaurants for a well-rounded experience.

Wrapping Up-Vail Ski Resort

Vail Ski Resort, nestled in the heart of Colorado, has all that it needs to make your perfect winter vacation destination. The droopingly stunning resort is not only limited to seasoned skiers. Newbies and the ones who want to explore the snowy peaks are also welcome. A number of fun-filled activities and magnificent snowy trails have something exciting for everyone out there. 

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