Vail vies with Whistler for the accolade of best resort in North America, and it’s definitely a strong contender. With over 5000 acres of fantastic terrain, a reputation for receiving enormous amounts of dry powder snow, and an average of 300 days of sunshine a year, you’d be hard pushed to fault it. It’s also one of the glitziest resorts in North America and theoptions for accommodationin Vail are world-class.
Most of Vail’s accommodation is concentrated around the areas of Vail Village and Lionshead, and the two areas (as well as Golden Peak, East and West Vail) are connected by the excellent free bus service. It’s a high end resort and most of the hotels in Vail & Vail condos are of four star standard and above, so if it’s luxury you’re looking for, then Vail’s the place to come. The Lodge at Vail is a perennial favourite offering classic style and luxury in a prime location in the centre of Vail Village, just minutes from the slopes. One of the many new hotels in Vail, The Arrabelle offers five star luxury in the heart of Lionshead, right by the slopes.
The ski area can be divided into three massive areas which are linked by one of the most efficient lift systems in the world. The Front Sidemainly consists of immaculately groomed and marked runs, ranging from gentle cruisers to steep double black diamonds. Most of the trails are cut through the trees and there’s plenty of opportunity to dip into the gladed areas without fear of getting lost, or stuck! The Front Side is also home to the resort’s three terrain parks.
Drop over into the famous Back Bowls and the terrain is completely different. Here you’ll find seven wide open, and invariably powder-filled bowls which you can tackle whichever way you like. There are cornices, bumps, trees, drops… or you can just make fresh tracks through an expanse of untouched powder. From here you can also head into Blue Sky Basin which has even more exhilarating and varied terrain. For a unique experience take some food up to Belles Camp and enjoy a lunchtime barbeque in the snow with stunning views.
As you’d expect in a high end resort, there are plenty of excellent restaurants, many of them within Vail’s hotels. But it’s not all champagne and fine dining. There are also a good number of more down to earth bars such as The Tap Room and The George in Vail Village where you can enjoy a pint and a game of pool. The Red Lion and The Club are lively places for a few après drinks, or on a sunny day grab a spot on the patio at Garfinkles in Lionshead. If you’re up for some dancing later on, head to Samana Lounge in Vail Village which is within stumbling distance of much of Vail’s accommodation. Just beware of the cougars!