Vail is one of the few American resorts that compares with European mega-resorts on area size. With the January 2000 opening of the new 645-acre Blue Sky Basin, Vail's ski-able terrain reached a massive 5,289 acres. The mountain is large with skiing over three peaks – Two Elk Lodge, Summit and Wildwood. The slopes down to the village are neat, tree-lined and prone to moguls. They are accessed via three lifts from Vail's three areas – Lion's Head, Golden Peak and Vail Village. Off the back of the mountain lies the famous Back Bowls, and beyond that, the powder bowl of Blue Sky Basin. Snow reliability is very good, with most slopes north facing. On powder mornings the town is wired with anticipation.
The Blue Sky Basin ethos is perfect for boarders. By leaving the terrain as nature found it, snowboarders can rip up endless glades and bowls to their heart's content. The Back Bowls provide equally challenging carving and with an excellent lift system, there's not too much pushing. Facilities include a super-pipe and terrain park at the Golden Peak base with kickers, jibs and table-tops open to freestylers and boarders, plus a progression area with smaller jumps and rails. Most boarders hang out at the 8150 club.
Previous WorldSki travellers have given good reports about the Vail ski school's friendly and professional tuition. They do telemarking, bumps and powder lessons at Blue Sky Basin as well as private tuition. For kids there's all-day tuition and two learning areas at Lionshead and Golden Peak. Smallworld takes kids up to six years. Pagers are optional for parents off skiing. Adventure Ridge has tubing and snowmobiling for ages 6-14yrs.
Last Updated: Mar 2012