VAIL RESORT GUIDE

Vail

Vail Mountain Resort Overview

July 2021

Vail offers a wide variety of terrain and fun for families, extreme skiers, snowboarders, newcomers and everyone in between. All of this is conveniently located ~2 hours west of Denver International Airport. With more than 190 trails, a Front-side alone that has more ski area than most major resorts and 7 back bowls (8 including Game Creek), plan to spend several days. 


Vail averages nearly 30 feet of snow annually (370 inches) with an average base depth of more than 45 inches, and plenty of powder all season long (all that while enjoying ~300 days of sunshine). The Epic Pass provides unlimited access (5 days for an adult to breakeven) and the Epic Local provides up to 10 days per season (only 4 days for an adult to breakeven). Vail’s leading teaching program offers group and private lessons with global instructors for all levels. Vail has 3 main base villages, all are pedestrian friendly and offer ski in ski out access. Vail Village offers a vibrant après ski season, fine dining and regularly hosts events. Getting around is easy.

CLOSED for the season

Snow Reliability

Snow-Making & Grooming

Travel Convenience

Terrain Variety

Extreme / Off-Piste Terrain

Ski School

Accommodations

On Mountain Dining

Quick Take

Let's Go

  • Size and scale are hard to match

  • Excellent variety of terrain for differing ability levels with convenient access to meet between runs

  • Expansive back bowls preserve powder

  • Charming, European style pedestrian base villages with plenty of luxury shopping, colorful après ski scene and fine dining

  • Relative ease of travel (2 hours from Denver Airport or fly directly to Eagle Vail from 10 American cities)

Hesitations

  • Can be crowded and lifts bottleneck during peak times (weekends, holidays and after a big storm)

  • Budget travelers beware, while there are budget-friendly accommodations near by, the resort is relatively more expensive resort for lessons, on mountain dining and other amenities

  • Super steeps are lacking

Insider Tips

  • Vail is massive, pick an area for a day (see our full day itineraries) and avoid spending your time traversing

  • Avoid "11 at 11" - meaning being at the top of Chair 11 at 11am. The softest snow is on the east side of every back bowl ridge. Be patient, the sooner you drop into the back bowls after exiting the lift, the worse the snow will be

  • On powder days, head to Blue Sky Basin; enjoy the more open glades on Champagne Glade and barbeque at Belle’s Camp for lunch

  • Ski school is in multiple locations, make sure you coordinate with your accommodations and members of your party to maximize convenience

Trail Map

For an in-depth breakdown of Vail's terrain, head to our Mountain Guide. Top trails and mountain stats included. 

Vail

Getting To & Around

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Vail can be an easy drive from Denver, go straight West on 1-70. Cars are not essential if planning to stay within Vail Village. The Village is mostly walkable and Vail runs shuttles throughout the sourrouding area. Avoid driving on Friday evenings and Sunday afternoons as the traffic can be bad. Further, make sure your vehicle is equipped for the weather.

Getting To

Closest Major City: Denver, CO

  • Distance: ~120 miles west
    Travel Time: ~2 hours, 10 mins driving (without traffic)

Neighboring Resorts

Closest Neighbors on the Epic Pass

  • Beaver Creek (12.5 miles), ~20 mins

  • Breckenridge (35 miles, ~45 mins)

  • Keystone (40 miles, ~55 mins)


Other Neighbors

Travel by Plane

Closest major commercial airport: 

  • DEN - (Denver International Airport)

  •  ~100 miles West, ~2 hrs, 10 mins


Closest regional airport: 

  • EGE (Eagle County Regional Airport)

  • ~35 miles East, ~35 minutes


Private planes can also come into/out of Eagle Aiport

Travel By Bus
  • The Town of Vail runs free shuttles to and from Vail and throughout the town (one of the largest free transportation systems in the U.S.)

  • Airport shuttle services is available to / from DEN and EGE
    Epic Mountain Express owned by Vail; $85 / person to / from DEN
    Peak 1 ($64 adult door to door from DEN)
    Summit Express is family friendly, though a little pricer

Travel by Car

Cars are not essential if staying in Vail or the sourrounding area

  • Pros: Conveniece, useful for getting groceries, greater optionality for dining and off mountain activities

  • Cons:  Parking is limited and Vail charges for space in its structures at the base. You can find free parking offsite, but be ready for a walk or even a bus ride

Vail