Not exactly roughing it' is the ironic slogan of Vail's kid sister resort, coyly underlining its status as about the smoothest resort in the US. We don't find the exclusive resort village particularly appealing, but the mountain certainly is. If the budget is tight, consider staying down in the valley, in Avon.
Beaver Creek, 16km to the west of Vail and developed in the 1980s, is unashamedly exclusive. The lift system spreads across the mountains to Bachelor Gulch, a small collection of condos and houses and a Ritz Carlton hotel, and then to Arrowhead, another slope-side hamlet. Down in the valley is the town of Avon, where you can stay much more cheaply than in Beaver Creek or Vail. There are free car parks in Avon for day visitors (parking in Beaver Creek is expensive and limited); you can take a free shuttle to the resort, or a fast chair up to Bachelor Gulch. A gondola links the Riverfront area of Avon to this chair.
Day trips to Vail, Breckenridge and Keystone, all covered by the lift pass, and Copper Mountain are possible.