Nestled in the foothills of the Gore Valley in the Colorado Rockies, Vail is a world-renowned resort with miles of immaculately groomed pistes, perfect powder and luxury lodging.
Vail is a large town which stretches for several miles along the Eagle River, just a two hour drive from Denver. Founded in 1962, Vail opened for its first season with just two ski lifts, a gondola and a small village at the base of the mountain. Nowadays, it is one of the biggest resorts in the United States with 5,289 acres of lift-linked slopes, four main neighbourhoods and a continuing commitment to improving lifts, on-mountain facilities and accommodation.
Part of the reason the resort is so popular is that it offers something for everyone, with a large variety of restaurants, bars, designer shops, activities and slopes which range from well-groomed trails to steep backcountry bowls. Accommodation options are endless but there is a particular emphasis on upmarket hotels and luxury chalets in Vail.
The town itself is split into four main areas; the Tyrolean-style Vail Village, Lionshead Village, East Vail and West Vail. The main action and hub of restaurants, bars and shops is centred around Vail Village and the slightly smaller Lionshead area. Cascade Village in West Vail offers a quieter base whilst Golden Peak in East Vail is great for families.
“With countless acclaimed restaurants and fine dining establishments there is certainly no shortage of fantastic places to eat in Vail.”
For on-mountain dining head to The 10th restaurant at the base of Look Ma run. Here diners can enjoy spectacular views of the Gore Range from the dining room, cosy bar, lounge or south-facing terrace whilst tucking into a variety of modern mountain classics from the eclectic menu.
www.the10thvail.com / +1 970 754 1010
Located in Vail Village, Sweet Basil is a contemporary restaurant with a menu built around seasonal and locally sourced ingredients. Wine lovers will also find an extensive wine list featuring over 500 carefully chosen selections from around the world.
www.sweetbasilvail.com / +1 970 476 0125
Conveniently located in the heart of Vail Village, La Tour is one of the most acclaimed restaurants in Vail and is renowned for its contemporary French-American cuisine, inspired by the seasons. The atmosphere is vibrant, the service impeccable and the wine list second to none.
www.latour-vail.com / +1 970 476 4403
The result of a collaboration between renowned chef Nobu Matsuhisa and Nobuku Kang, Matsuhisa is an exquisite restaurant where sushi is regarded as an art form. Specialities include black cod marinated in miso and yellowtail sashimi with jalapeno.
www.blueriverbistro.com / +1 970 453 6974
“From laid-back bars to sophisticated lounges, Vail is home to plenty of lively apres-ski spots.”
With its large sunny deck overlooking the base of Lionshead, Garfinkel’s is a lively spot for apres-ski or a casual dinner after a day on the slopes. There are weekly food and drink specials and a wide range of beers and cocktails too.
www.garfsvail.com / +1 970 476 3789
The Red Lion
Built in 1962, The Red Lion is something of an apres-ski institution in Vail. Steps away from Gondola One on Bridge Street, this lively bar is a favourite spot with locals and visitors alike offering tasty appetizers and live entertainment nightly.
www.theredlion.com / +1 970 476 7676
Situated in the heart of Vail Village, Pepi’s Bar is an Austrian themed bar and restaurant featuring live entertainment with local artists and special Austrian beers.
www.pepis.com/bar.php / +1 970 453 2071
Situated on Bridge Street, Samana Lounge is Vail’s classiest dance bar with frequent live music, cover bands and DJs.
+1 970 476 3433
“Home to one of the largest ski areas in the United States, Vail is a fantastic mountain playground with varied terrain and exciting ‘adventure’ skiing if you’re looking for a challenge.”
Vail has three distinct ski areas; Front Side, Back Bowls and Blue Sky Basin. Front Side tends to be the most crowded area but has well groomed pistes, excellent cruisers and good areas for beginners. Back Bowls are mostly ungroomed and renowned amongst advanced skiers. Blue Sky Basin has endless backcountry trails with great snow, steep terrain and plenty of black runs to satisfy experienced skiers and boarders.
Vail has three terrain parks named Bwana, Pride and Golden Peak with a variety of obstacles to tackle including a large super-pipe. Cross-country skiers will find 17km of trails at the Nordic Center on the golf course.
Vail Ski & Snowboard School
Whether you’re a first-timer or a seasoned professional, Vail Ski & Snowboard School will help develop skills and maximise potential. The school offers both private and group tuition for all ages as well as a number of specific programmes for women and veterans.
www.vail.com/book-ski-and-ride-lessons / +1 800 475 4543
Available only to intermediate and advanced skiers and boarders, the Adventure Sessions provide a way to explore the mountain with a top guide. Ideal for those looking for the inside track, participants are matched with a small group of those similarly skilled and can pick any terrain from bumps to bowls, cruisers or powder.
www.vail.com/Vail+-+Adventure+Sessions.axd / +1 800 475 4543
“From relaxing in a luxurious spa to soaking up the local history and surroundings, Vail offers plenty of amusement for all ages.”
Part bike, part skis, ski biking at Adventure Ridge offers an alternative way to negotiate the mountain terrain after the lifts close. Guided nighttime tours are also available but offered only to intermediate and advanced skiers and snowboarders that are comfortable on blue and black runs.
http://www.vail.com//activitiesdetail/vail+-+ski+biking / +1 970 754 4380
Run by the Vail Nordic School, daily group snowshoe tours will take you on an adventure into the surrounding wilderness whilst teaching you about local history, wildlife and the landscape. Private tours are also available on request.
www.vail.com/Snowshoeing / +1 970 453 1148
RockResorts Spa at The Lodge at Vail
Relax in style at RockResorts Spa which features a variety of treatment rooms, steam rooms, saunas and whirlpools as well as a fitness centre and large relaxation lounges. An extensive list of treatments are available too, ranging from massages and facials to body wraps and manicures.
www.lodgeatvail.rockresorts.com/spa/index.asp / +1 970 429 5044
Get your skates on at Dobson Ice Arena, situated in the heart of Vail, which hosts open skating sessions for all ages and abilities. There is also a wide array of hockey options available for children and adults alike.
www.vailrec.com/vail-recreation/ice-arena / +1 970 479 2271