Vail Ski Resort is world-renowned for providing guests with an experience that truly is “Like nothing on Earth.” Founded in 1962, the Colorado resort is home to seven legendary back bowls spanning seven miles across the backside of the resort. The ski area is enormous with over 5,289 acres to explore and four distinct base areas connected by free buses and heated walkways. It draws skiers from all over the world and provides excellent terrain for all ability levels.
The resort has great terrain options, excellent ski schools and a large assortment of shopping and dining options. The two main base areas are Vail Village and Lionshead. Vail Village located at the base of Gondola One is the original base area and is home to Vail’s iconic covered bridge that crosses Gore Creek. Lionshead Village, located just west of Vail Village, is serviced by its own gondola and is home to luxury resorts.
Denver to Vail is about 1.5 hours – or more depending on traffic. It is 100 miles from Denver International Airport and 30 miles east of Eagle County Regional Airport (EGE). There are plenty of shuttle services to Vail. Once you get to Vail, you can navigate the town by bus for free.
Vail is a great destination for many skiers, but the resort can get crowded on the weekends. So, check the chair lift status signs at strategic intersections on the mountain to avoid backups. A yellow light means the lift maze is full so choose an alternative route if possible. A green light means you are good to go.
While many other ski resorts in the western United States started as mining towns, Vail was built from the ground up to be a ski resort. During World War II the U.S. Army established a training center at Camp Hale located just 14 miles south of what would later become Vail Mountain. The U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division trained at Camp Hale and consisted of excellent skiers and mountaineers that fought in the mountains of northern Italy during WWII. Upon their return from the war, they quickly became major players in the burgeoning ski industry.
A veteran of the 10th Mountain Division, Pete Seibert returned to Colorado after the war to search for a perfect location to build a ski area in the Rocky Mountain region. Pete teamed up with friend Earl Eaton who led Pete on a seven-hour climb up a no-name mountain, where they crested the summit to discover the now legendary back bowls.