- Overall Rating 5
- Family Friendly 5
- All-Mtn. Terrain 5
- Terrain Park 3
- Nightlife 4
Pros: Something for everyone, HUGE, China Bowl
Recommended For: Singles, Family Friendly, Empty Nesters
Date Visited: Mar 1, 2011
Vail is expensive. Yes, let's get that out of the way. There's no way around it, but you get what you pay for, and that is certainly true here. If, like me, you are budget-minded on your family ski trips, I can offer a word of advice. You can book a lift and lodging package at Keystone or Breckenridge and use half of your ski days at Vail or Beaver Creek. The drive from either place to Vail is about 40 minutes and about 50 minutes to Beaver Creek, but it will be worth it, because you'll find much cheaper lodging deals at Keystone and Breck than you will anywhere near Vail.
If you do end up driving to Vail, the town offers free shuttle service, but you'll have to look on their website to find where you can park for free. If you're going to pay the $20 plus to park in a garage, I suggest you use the one in Lionshead Village instead of Vail Village. It's a much shorter walk to the lifts.
Now, once you're up on the mountain at Vail, there's nothing else to worry about. The terrain is fantastic, there's plenty for all skill levels, and there are high speed quads everywhere you look. If you are not enjoying yourself here, then skiing just isn't for you.
The back bowls are a must at Vail. China Bowl is amazing (and groomed). Even though the other bowls are all marked as black, there are plenty of manageable spots back there. They're challenging, but you don't have to be an expert to enjoy them.
Blue Sky Basin, the newest terrain at Vail, is also incredible. It's secluded and has no crowds, and when they groom it, you won't want to leave. If you are at least an intermediate skier, you will want to check this area out (and probably spend a good long while there).
The front side of Vail gets the least attention, but fear not, there is a ton of good skiing there as well. Game Creek Bowl is great, all of the runs off of the Avanti Express are fun, and Bwana, Simba, and Born Free are excellent, long runs to end your day with.