West of Denver, the typically crowded Vail Mountain Resort has 193 runs spread over 5,300 acres that are served by 21 lifts with a maximum vertical descent of 3,450 feet. The conditions at Vail are ideal for snowboarding, and the terrain parks and half pipes at mountain-top Adventure Ridge are among the best in the west. The runs are categorized by difficulty into 20% beginner, 30% intermediate and 50% advanced.
The front side of the mountain is decorated with Highline, Prima and other mogul runs that rate highly with visitors. The back side of the mountain offers a completely different experience with miles of open-bowl riding. There are huge sloping bowls with cliffs and treelines. Be ready for lots of traversing, such as to Mushroom and Mongolia. For big pow, try Genghis Khan in China Bowl or Sun Up Bowl. If you re trying to escape the hordes of tourists, check out Rasputins Revenge or Red Square.
For serious challenge and experts, head OB via East Vail Chutes which are north facing gullies with unstable snow pack and hidden cliffs. Check out the chutes of the Prima, Pronto and Log Chute runs (aka PPL).
For the freestyle snowboarders in your crew, Vail is well known for its exceptional terrain parks. The Eagles Nest terrain park at the top of the Lionshead gondola features twin halfpipes and has its own lift to enable rapid sessions. The Hot Dog Park offers a good jib line along with metal and wood rails. The Golden Peak Park is probably where you'll end up spending the most time sessioning you moves. Located just below the Dew Drop Inn Yurt, which has a great viewing deck, the Golden Peak Park has Colorado's only double-barrel superpipe (two side-by-side 400 foot long halfpipes). And, below the pipes, there follows a line of jumps and tabletops.
After a huge day of shredding, you'll want to head down to Pepi's at the Vail base area for apres ski. When you're ready for some nightlife, check out Vendettas, 8150, Nicks, Garfinkles or, for techno, try Club Sanctuary.
Vail is a purpose-built resort adjacent to a major highway. Initially, the building had some old world, alpine charm, but the new construction away from the pedestrian-zone is pretty basic block construction. While US tourists may think Vail is big, it's still only about a third the size of the typical ski areas in the Alps. Even said, Vail has a huge following due to its size and draws a massive weekend crowd from Denver. So, the highway is jammed on Friday and Sundays, along with the base area lift lines. Since the daily walk-up lift ticket prices are pushing $200, the bargan is to try to plan ahead to get a season pass for the cost of about 4 days of day tickets.
To reach the Vail Mountain Resort ski area from Denver, head west on US70 over Vail Pass to Exit #176. Turn left heading under the highway and, then at the round-about, head east on South Frontage Road for about a quarter mile to the signed public parking garages. The garages are just a short walk south to the lifts through Vail Village pedestrian zone. Keep in mind that the drive from Denver can take 4 hours or more on Fridays and back on Sundays (even more in bad weather), so you could have made it all the way over to Crested Butte in the same amount of time (as the billboards have said).
TIP: Unless you enjoy half-hour lift lines, it is best to try snowboarding at Vail on non-holiday weekdays. Do not underestimate how many people are here on the weekends. And forget about driving up on Friday evening and departing on Sunday afternoon -- US70 to Denver is a parking lot. Seriously!
Overall, Vail Ski Resort is the 6th most popular snowboard & freeride destination of all 28 snowboarding resorts in Colorado. Several of the better snowboarding resorts are nearby Vail Ski Resort including Beaver Creek Resort and Ski Cooper Ski Area.
Local Contacts: Vail Mountain Resort Ski Area (970) 754-754-8245; One Track Mind (970) 476-1397; Vail Avalanche Info (970) 827-5687
Best Season: Dec. - Mar.
Average Difficulty: Moderate
Base Camp: Gasthof Gramshammer
Luxury Loding: Sonnenalp Resort (800) 654-8312; Cordillera (800) 87RELAX; Vail Cascade Resort (800) 420-2424
Breakfast Restaurant: Daily Grind, Vail
Reference Source: click here https://www.vail.com/
GPS: 39.639305, -106.373521
Date Published: 12/26/2015
Date Updated: 11/30/2018
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