The picturesque mountain views, incredibly vast terrain and a beautiful European style village at the base of the mountain makes Vail one of the best ski resorts in the entire country.
We explored Vail for the first time this year and it quickly became one of our favorite mountains. On our first visit, we were blessed with an insane powder day. The constant snowfall made it difficult to navigate around the mountain as first-timers, so we stuck with the same runs and bounced up and down piles of fluffy snow. Even though we didn’t get around much, we had the best time! On our second visit, we realized how much we had missed the first time. Turns out, Vail is huge! It is one of the biggest resorts in the world with 5,289 acres of skiable terrain.
So how do you do it all in one day? You don’t! I suggest taking at least two, but if possible, spend an entire week at Vail. On our second visit, we jumped from lift to lift and felt like we barely scratched the surface. Every time we got on a chair, I’d say to my husband, “did we get on this one already? I’m so lost!” I later found out Vail has 31 chairlifts!
Visiting a new mountain can be a bit intimidating and at a resort this size, you have to plan your days ahead of time. Luckily, Vail does a great job at breaking down everything from parking to the best runs for every level.
There are several different options for parking from the free overflow to the paid garage. Initially, we had planned on looking for free parking off-site and utilizing the free bus system. As we approached the resort, our eagerness to get on the mountain led us to the paid parking garage and I’m so glad we decided to give it a try. There are two paid garages, Vail Village and Lions Head. We chose Vail Village because it was the closest to Gondola One. In addition to being right by the village, we found it was nice to have our car covered on a cold and snowy day. Also, the bathrooms in the garage are super clean! You can gear up and get ready here without being exposed to the elements and you won’t be wasting any time.
For all winter parking information click here.
Green, Blue, Black?
There are over 5,000 acres of terrain so where the heck do you start? With so many chairs and two gondolas, that question can be a bit overwhelming. Luckily, the Vail Mountain website has a very detailed guide on where one should go based on skill. I read this guide prior to arriving and decided to start with Gondola One. From Gondola One, we hopped onto Wildwood Express which took us to the top of the mountain. The rest of the day we continued moving east, getting on several lifts, riding blue and black runs, and even riding the Legendary Back Bowls.
At the end of the day, we had to traverse back to the village which was incredibly tiring on a snowboard. My advice is to take time to rest and bring a light snack in your pocket. I didn’t realize how far we had gone and by the time we had to traverse back, my legs and lungs were burning. When we reached the base, we looked over the map and realized we had completely missed Blue Sky Basin and never even saw the other gondola.
Check out these links to help plan your day:
Also, don’t forget to download the Epic Mix app to have the terrain map handy. The app is also a great way to record what you accomplished on the mountain and to keep pictures taken by the Epic Mix photographers.
When you’ve completed your day on the mountain and have burned a couple thousand calories, the next item on the list is Apres! When walking through Vail Village, you’ll feel like you were transported to a European ski town. In addition to having everything in one place, the cobblestone streets of Vail Village are heated. No need to worry about slipping on snow and ice while you’re exploring.
This adorable village holds several restaurants and shops where you’ll find something for everyone. On my last two visits, I found it easy to stop at Express Lift Bar right by Gondola One then continuing the night with a meal and more drinks around the village. After roaming Vail Village, it’s a short walk to Lions Head where you’ll find more shops, our favorite brewery Vail Brewing Company, and more activities for the family like ice skating and a movie theater.
Click on these links to learn more:
There is a reason why Vail’s slogan is “Like Nothing on Earth“. The views, the snow, the terrain, and the activities make this a world-class ski resort that everyone will love. We are so lucky that we don’t have to travel to the other side of the world to experience an incredible mountain like Vail. So buy that Epic Pass, plan for an entire week and enjoy yourself as you’re transported to this beautiful resort that truly feels like a fairytale. Have fun!
*Disclaimer: I am a Vail Resorts Influencer for the 2018-2019 season, but this is my third year as an Epic Pass holder. This is a sponsored post, but obviously, as a frequent season pass holder, all opinions are my own!