We always enjoy skiing Vail; it's a big mountain with a decent vertical, and Blue Sky Basin's 'adventure' skiing is a key attraction. But it is far from being our favourite American mountain. In an American resort you expect the runs to be pretty much crowd-free - and in any resort you expect 20-minute lift queues to be a thing of the past. In these respects, Vail disappoints. When the budget runs to a swanky billet in Vail Village or the Lionshead area, we're happy enough with the resort, too; it is a pleasant place to wander around. But we're not enthusiastic about Vail Village's pseudo-Tirolean style, and the rest of the huge resort lacks character. In the end, Vail can't compete with more distinctively American resorts based on old mining towns. Vail is an enormous resort, stretching almost four miles along the I-70 freeway running west from Denver. Beaver Creek, 16km away, is covered by the lift pass and is easily reached by bus. Breckenridge and Keystone - both owned by Vail Resorts and covered by the lift pass - and Copper Mountain are other possible excursions.
Pros

One of the biggest areas in the US - especially great for confident intermediates

The Back Bowls are big areas of treeless terrain - unusual in the US

Fabulous area of ungroomed, wooded slopes at Blue Sky Basin

Largely traffic-free resort centres, very pleasant in parts - but …

Cons

Resort is a vast sprawl

Slopes can be crowded by American standards, with serious lift queues

Inadequate mountain restaurants

Blue Sky Basin and Back Bowls may not be open in early season; warm weather can close much of Bowls

Getting there

  • Denver airport: 2.5 hours
  • Eagle County airport: 1 hours

Contact Details

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