Vail Ski Resort, Colorado

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Vail Ski Resort in Colorado and Escape2ski provides info on; vertical drop 3450ft/1052m, total trails 195, closest airport 31mi/51km, lifts 32, and more. The ski resort is located in the Central Rocky Mountains of Colorado, west of Vail Pass, in what is known as the Vail Valley. You will find it off Highway I-70 next […]

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Vail Ski Resort in Colorado and Escape2ski provides info on; vertical drop 3450ft/1052m, total trails 195, closest airport 31mi/51km, lifts 32, and more.

The ski resort is located in the Central Rocky Mountains of Colorado, west of Vail Pass, in what is known as the Vail Valley. You will find it off Highway I-70 next to Gore Creek, which runs parallel to the base area and the Town of Vail. The town and the base area of the Vail Ski Resort are on land that was once known as the Hanson Ranch. Long before the ski area existed, during the early 1900s, hunting and ranching initially attracted people to this beautiful area.

Jump ahead to the mid-1950s when two men, Earl Eaton and Pete Siebert, became friends while working at another ski area in Colorado. The two friends shared a vision to create a world-class ski resort, and Earl knew just the place, a mountain area with no name that had open bowls that would be perfect for skiing.

Earl grew up locally and knew about this hidden gem from his hunting and fishing activities in the area. Pete was a former member of the famed 10th Mountain Division that trained at Camp Hale, near the Leadville, CO area. After WWII ended, he returned to Colorado to pursue ski racing and work at several ski areas.

So, in March 1957, Pete and Earl finally decided to make the trek to the summit of the mountain to see if this would indeed be the perfect location for their ski resort, and it was. The back bowls looked incredible. For the next several years, the two put together their plan to build the ski resort along with a Bavarian-style village at the base. They chose the name Vail after the Vail Pass, a mountain section of highway located east of the area. The Pass was named in honor of Charles Vail, who was the Chief Highway Engineer for the Colorado Highway Department from 1930 to 1945.

After several years of proposals, creation of a town layout, attracting investors, and going through regulatory hurdles, construction began in the spring of 1962 with Vail Ski Resort opening to the public on December 15, 1962. The mountain opened with three chairlifts that included a gondola and several trails.

Vail Ski Resort enjoyed immediate popularity, and with the building of Highway I-70 to replace US Highway Route 6, access was greatly improved. Throughout its history, Vail Ski Resort has continued to add new terrain and chairlifts to help enhance the skier and snowboarder experience.

There are so many words that come to mind, including expansive, wide-open, unparalleled and challenging, when you think of the terrain at Vail Ski Resort. The terrain was developed to provide an incredible mountain experience in three sections, the Front-Side slopes facing north, Blue Sky Basin, and the Back Bowls. There are a total of 10 bowls found at the Vail Ski Resort.

Vail Ski Resort consists of four base areas all found on the front-side, Lionshead with its pedestrian village is where you’ll find most of the lodging, shops and restaurants, Golden Peak, is home to the ski school, plus Vail Village, and Cascade Village.

Today, Vail Ski Resort is owned and operated by Vail Resorts Inc., a mountain resort company that continually strives to improve the visitor experience. It is based out of Colorado, and it is considered one of the largest ski resort companies found anywhere.

On the Slopes

  • The ski resort is divided into four distinct areas and are all easily accessible to one another. The Front-Side facing the I-70 Highway offers all skill levels that opportunity to have fun on the beginner, intermediate, and advanced terrain.
  • Game Creek Bowl serviced by a high-speed lift features a great selection of runs that include Showboat, Dealer’s Choice, and Wildcard, plus the Wildwood lodge for food and beverage.
  • The Blue Sky Basin area, which opened in 1999, provides an intermediate/advanced level back-country experience. It has two bowls, Pete’s Bowl and Earl’s Bowl, named in honor of the men who had the vision to build the ski resort, Pete Siebert and Earl Eaton.
  • Then there are the back bowls at Vail that are expansive and provide for an incredible powder skiing experience when it snows, and it does, a lot. There is the Sun Up, Sun Down, Tea Cup, China, Siberia, and the Inner and Outer Mongolia Bowls.
  • Vail Ski Resort has two terrain parks for enthusiasts to showcase their skills. The Avanti is the beginner park where you will discover several small jumps, rails, and boxes, to help build your confidence.
  • Golden Peak with access via the Riva Bahn High-Speed Quad Chairlift is the premier terrain park that features a super-pipe, mini pipe, rails, boxes, and a collection of small to extra large jumps.
  • The Ski and Snowboard School at Vail Ski Resort has a dedicated team of professional instructors who can help you gain the confidence you need to enjoy your time on the slopes. There are adult and children’s group lessons, along with private, adaptive, and dedicated women’s programs.
  • When it comes to lodging options, there are over 150 properties located mountain-side, plus many other choices within the town, which are a short walk or a shuttle ride away. There are many signature properties located throughout the mountain village and in the town of Vail that include the Vail Marriott, The Ritz-Carlton Residences, and The Lodge at Vail.

Off the Slopes

  • Vail Ski Resort has many activities away from the slopes. There is Adventure Ridge at the top of the Eagle Bahn Gondola, where you will discover tubing, ski biking, and the mountain coaster. Also, the Vail Nordic School at Golden Peak offers Cross-Country Skiing tours and lessons, along with Snowshoe Wilderness Tours. Call 970-754-3200 for more info.
  • Vail Ski Resort offers a vast selection on-mountain dining ranging from fine dining at places such as Game Creek, Bistro Fourteen, and The 10th. There are also fast casual and quick-serve places to stop for a bite.
  • Within the Town of Vail, there are what seems to be an endless list of places to enjoy fine dining, casual dining, and places to hang out with friends. All of this captured in the perfect mountain setting.
  • With three vibrant villages located at the base of Vail Mountain, this equates to hundreds of retail shops that range from boutiques featuring outdoor apparel, jewelry, and more, plus art galleries and spas.
  • Vail Ski Resort offers the Golden Peak Daycare and Nursery for children ages 2 months to 6 years old. The facility has a dedicated staff that will encourage children to participate in fun activities. Contact (970) 754-3285 for more info.
  • Various lodging properties throughout the Vail Valley provide FREE shuttle service to and from the ski area throughout the day along with stops at the Main Transportation Center.
  • The Town of Vail offers FREE transit service all year throughout the Vail Valley. Service is provided to West Vail North and South, Lionsridge, Sandstone, East Vail, Golf Course, Golden Peak, and in town that includes Vail Village and Lionshead.
  • Airport transportation is available from either Eagle County Regional Airport or Denver International Airport. Epic Mountain Express and Eagle Vail Express are providers to Beaver Creek Resort. See the Helpful Links section below for more information.
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Mountain Information

Current Status: Closed

Mountain Essentials

Vertical Drop:
3450 ft / 1052 m

Base Elevation:
8120 ft / 2475 m

Summit Elevation:
11570 ft / 3527 m

Skiable Area:
5317 acres

Average Snowfall:
354 in / 899 cm

Trail Map

Snow Report

Mountain Terrain

Total Trails: 195

Beginner: 35 (18%)

Intermediate: 57 (29%)

Advanced: 89 (46%)

Expert: 14 (7%)

Terrain Parks: 2

Snow Cross: No

Super Pipe: Yes

Half Pipe: No

Jib Park: Yes


Ski & Snowboard School: Both

Rentals & Repairs: Yes

Parking:  Free and Paid

Retail Shops: Yes

Children’s Ski Programs: Yes

Women's Ski Programs: Yes

Adaptive Ski Programs: Yes

Childcare: Yes

Day Lodges: Yes

Restaurants: Yes

Distance from...

Nearest Airport:
Eagle County CO , 31mi / 51km

Nearest Major City:
Denver CO, 98mi / 158km

Nearest Town/City:
Vail CO, at Base of the Mountain

Mountain Operations

Season Dates: Nov 11 to Apr 30

Skiing & Snowboarding: Both

Open Days: Open Daily

Hours of Operation:
9:00am to 3:30pm: Hours maybe subject to change.

Night Skiing: No

Lift Ticket Prices


Lift Information

Total Lifts: 32

Gondolas: 2

Express-6 Chairs: 4

Express Quad Chairs: 14

Quad Chairs: 1

Triple Chairs: 1

Double Chairs: 1

Surface Lifts: 9


Mountainside: Yes

Within 20mi / 33km: Yes

Closest Airport(s)

What our Convenience Rankings™ mean

Eagle County Airport  (EGE)
Distance: 31 mi / 51 km
Ranking: Most Convenient

Denver Intl Airport  (DEN)
Distance: 121 mi / 195 km
Ranking: Least Convenient

Contact Info

Central Reservations: 1-888-500-5155

Direct Phone: 970-754-8245

Snow Phone: 970-754-4888

Helpful Links

Official Ski Resort Site

Mountainside Lodging

Local Transit Service

Airport Transportation

Airport Transportation

More Helpful Links

Airport Transportation

Eagle County Transit Service