Vail, Colorado

This destination has some of the best slopes.

Photo By: Adventure_Photo; iStock

Photo By: Courtesy of Four Seasons Vail Resort

Photo By: chapin31; iStock

Photo By: Adventure_Photo

Photo By: bauhaus1000; iStock

Photo By: chapin31; iStock

Photo By: chapin31; iStock

Photo By: Jack Affleck/Vail Resorts

Vail, Colorado

Anyone who longs for the first flakes of winter, the early morning haul to the mountain, fresh tracks, deep powder and the unmatched relaxation felt at fireside après-ski feels the pull of Vail.

Skiing

For beginners, there are miles of soothing, groomed terrain for perfecting turns. Intermediates delight in the large number of slopes easily accessed by the village. And experts put their knees to the test on the Front Side’s challenging terrain and Vail’s celebrated back bowls.

Only at Vail

Vail is home to more groomed terrain than any other resort on the planet. It’s a charming, pedestrian, Swiss-chalet village. It has the country’s largest ski school (with over 1,000 instructors and classes for all skill levels). It offers fully interchangeable lift tickets with other Colorado ski resorts at Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin. Its 7 back bowls are the powdery stuff of legends.

Best-Kept Secret

Its popularity as an alpine skiing hot spot is legendary—so perhaps Vail’s best-kept secret is the opportunity to appreciate the winter wonderland of the Southern Rockies on cross-country skis. Visit the Vail Nordic Center for rentals starting at $17 and trail passes for $8.

Where to Sleep

ail condominium rentals are as abundant as snowflakes. Many are individually owned and contain more personal touches than hotels or resorts—they’re also ideal for families or groups. Those on a tighter budget may opt to stay in Eagle, about 20 miles west of Beaver Creek and 30 miles west of Vail. Eagle’s accommodations include the Comfort Inn Vail Valley, with rates as low as $99 a night, and the Best Western Eagle Lodge & Suites, starting at $130 per night.

Of course, Vail is home to luxury lodging options like The Arrabelle at Vail Square, a storybook resort that sits in the center of Lionshead Square. It’s Vail’s only true ski-in/ski-out resort—and the prices reflect its location, luxury and amenities. In winter, room prices can begin at $700 a night.

Where to Eat

Vail has no shortage of amazing restaurants. Gasthof Gramshammer, an iconic lodge, restaurant and bar, is known internationally for its wild game dinners. Try Rack of Venison, Steak Tartar, Elk Steak, Buffalo or their specialty "Flambee", featuring table side preparation.

Shopping

Vail Village, full of luxury accommodations, restaurants and shops, sprawls into several interrelated centers: Lionshead (aka Vail Square), East Vail, West Vail and Cascade Village. Shopping at those locations is not for bargain hunters or rack divers. Art galleries, fine jewelers, gourmet food sellers and high-fashion retailers line the streets of Vail Village. Click here for a full listing.

Other than Skiing

When not on the slopes, enjoy other outdoor activities, like ice skating, hunting, fishing or golf. Vail is also the venue for some of winter’s hottest events: Snow Daze, a week-long celebration featuring demos, DJs and live concerts. Carnivail, offered every March, is billed as the country’s highest low-country catfish boil, including a Fat Tuesday parade and plenty of free concerts.Vail also wraps up each ski season with a Back to Spring bash featuring free concerts.

Next Up

Ski Guide: Vail, Colorado

Home to more groomed terrain than any other resort on the planet, Vail is North America's top ski resort.

Beaver Creek, Colorado

Enjoy luxury skiing at Colorado's Beaver Creek.

Colorado Road Trips

We've pulled together 4 popular road trips through various portions of the state: Southeast, Southwest, the Rockies and the High Desert.