Vail Ski Guide: Plan a Winter Getaway in Colorado
Vail, Colorado, ranks among the top ski resorts in the U.S., for its early ski season, maintained terrain and accessibility. The resort town has welcomed snow lovers since 1962, and today the city draws around 1 million visitors every year. Want to experience the hype? Join in the fun with this quick Vail ski guide, and start planning a successful trip.
Vail Ski Guide: Tips for Visiting This Colorado Winter Retreat
Getting to Vail
Vail is located only 30 miles from the Eagle County Regional Airport and 100 miles west of Denver International Airport. Eagle County Regional Airport provides non-stop flights from over a dozen cities in the winter. Cities include Chicago, Houston, Miami and New York’s JFK, to name a few. Meanwhile, Denver International has over 750 daily flights from over 150 destinations in the U.S.
Once landed, rent a car and drive to the area or benefit from free public bus transportation. Eagle County ECO Transit also offers a bus service between Vail, Beaver Creek and throughout Eagle County. For those renting, Vail has several different short-term parking, many spots in covered structures. Guests also have parking pass options, which may save time and money.
For added convenience, consider booking a Vail or Beaver Creek vacation rental that offers ski-in and ski-out amenities. Many rentals are located in proximity to lifts, providing even easier access.
Ski Lessons for All Ages
Whether it has been awhile or the first time, Vail offers ski lessons for the whole group. The Ski and Snowboard School has beginner, intermediate and advanced lessons. Families can also schedule a private lesson perfect for first-timers. In addition, those with physical needs will find adaptive skiing lessons by professional instructors.
Parents who need childcare should visit Golden Peak Daycare and Nursery, open from 8:00 a.m. to 4 p.m. Children are grouped together by age and enjoy a fun environment with projects and play options. The center is located on Vail Valley Drive near Mill Creek Circle and Gore Creek Drive.
Vail Ski Passes
Due to popularity, visitors should buy ski passes in advance. Epic Day passes go on sale in the fall and have a limited purchase window. Those unable to plan in advance should buy lift tickets seven days in advance for the best prices. Additionally, buy all tickets at once and receive special discounts for multiple days. Vail lift tickets are also usable in Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone ski resorts.
Save on airline fees and leave bulky gear at home. Several companies in Vail offer gear rentals, and many deliver right to local accommodations. Christy Sports provides rentals for those parking and skiing near Vail Village and has storage for added convenience. Vail Ski Base – another equipment provider in Vail – is located in Lionshead Village. This rental option provides free storage, and both companies offer online discounts for those who rent in advance.
Ski Trails and Bowls
Vail’s size also provides access to eight different ski areas varying in terrain and challenges. In fact, the resort features over 5,200 acres of skiable terrain, ranking among the largest ski destinations in the world.
Beginners and kids should start at Chair 2/Mid Mountain, which has kid adventure zones, family-friendly terrain and a gentle grade on Practice Parkway to Ledges. Experts can’t miss Siberia and Mongolia Bowl, with its ungroomed terrain and incredible views. Northwoods has front-side terrain for all skill levels and ranks as a favorite for tree skiing. See the full list of trails in Vail.
Other Winter Activities
Not everyone wants to ski all day, every day. In Vail, that’s not a problem. The resort area hosts other winter activities, including a mountain coaster, snowshoeing, adult and kid snowmobiles, snow tubing, ski biking and guide tours. Have non-skiers in the family? Check out these off the slopes in Vail tips.