West of Denver, the typically crowded Vail ski area 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 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).
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.
To reach the snowboarding at Vail 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 publi parking garages. The garages are just a short walk south to the lifts through Vail Village.
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.