Skiing & Snowboarding in Vail, Colorado

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Home > Colorado > Colorado Cities > Vail > Winter Activities > Skiing    [ bookmark this page ]

Page Title: Skiing & Snowboarding in Vail, Colorado
Page Synopsis: An overview of skiing and snowboarding in Vail, Colorado.

Recommended Travel Links: Vail, Colorado Hotels
Ski Packages: Expedia Ski Packages Vail Hotels

Vail, Colorado Skiing

Hitting the Slopes in Vail Colorado
Photo Courtesy: Peter Fredin, Vail Resorts.

Rated as one of the top ski areas in North America, Vail has earned this premier designation for terrain, snow conditions and challenge. Combining the largest single-mountain ski area in North America with more than 5,000 acres of skiable terrain, Vail provides a huge variety of trails for skiers of every level. Vail also boasts the largest network of express quad chairlifts in the world.

The front-side of the mountain is ideal for beginner and intermediate skiers and boarders.  Most of the front-side is groomed on a daily basis, making conditions almost perfect, day after day.  There are plenty of wide open, meandering green runs for those learning to ski or ride, there are several great blue runs that are perfect for cruising, and for the more advanced skiers and boarders, there is no shortage of bump runs and steep blacks to get your heart racing.

Majestic views of Vails legendary Back Bowls
Photo Courtesy: Jack Affleck, Vail Resorts.
One of Vail's most prominent features is Vail's world-famous Back Bowls with over 2,700 acres of wide-open skiing terrain. And now with the new Blue Sky Basin open there are 654 acres of more gladed terrain.  The legendary Back Bowls of Vail are a big reason why so many people flock to the mountain.  These vast bowls provide some of the best skiing in the world.  These massive bowls collect huge amounts of snow and if you’re lucky enough to be there on a powder day, you can rest assured that it will be one of the best days of your life!  Catering to advanced and expert skiers and boarders, Vail's Back Bowls offer fantastic glade runs, steep chutes, cornices to launch off, and steep cruisers that will make your legs burn all the way to the bottom!  

Vail is also proud to be one of the premier ski and snowboard schools with more than 800 instructors. There are a multitude of programs for every ability - from the renowned learn-to-ski lessons to expert mogul and powder workshops. In addition, lessons are offered in many languages to accommodate the international visitors.

The town of Vail also rivals the mountain. A Tyrolean-style village featuring a wide range of accommodations with more than 250 shops and 100 restaurants and bars is the center of the Vail Valley. And to get around, Vail has a free intra-resort bus system.

Vail Homepage

Vail Mountain - Colorado's Best

Mountain Facts & Stats

Ski Season Nov. 21, 2003- April 18, 2004
Hours of Operations (MST) 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Base Elevation 8,120 ft./2,475 m
Summit Elevation 11,570 ft./3,527 m
Vertical Rise 3,450 ft./1,052 m
Snowmaking 390 acres/158 hec
Average Annual Snowfall 347 inches/866 cm
Total Skiable Area  5,289 acres/2,140 hec
Conventional Trails 193
Bowls 3,379 acres/1,368 hec
Longest Run Riva - 3 miles/4.8 km
Number of Lifts  34
-  Gondola  1
- High-speed quad 14
- Fixed-grip quad 1
- Triple chair  3
- Double chair  5
- Surface lift 10
Total Uphill Capacity/Hour 53,381
Lift tickets Visit

Trail Classification    


Front Side

Back Bowls

Blue Sky Basin

- Expert/Advanced 





- Intermediate 





- Beginner





• Winter Temperatures:
   • 45 degrees daytime
   • below 30 degrees nighttime
• Summer Temperatures:
   • 75 degrees daytime
   • 45 degrees nighttime
• More than 275 days of sunshine per year

Lots of snow in Vail Colorado
Photo Courtesy: Jack Affleck, Vail Resorts.

Safety on The Slopes

National Award Winning Safety Program
It’s no surprise that as a leader in the snowsport industry, Vail also is recognized as a leader in promoting safety on the slopes. For the past four years, the National Ski Areas Association has awarded Vail with the national ski safety award for having an exemplary skier-safety program for both education and enforcement.

The program includes:

  • Stand-alone Yellow Jacket group tasked with monitoring, education, enforcing and providing positive reinforcement of Your Responsibility Code.
  • Vail features a Yellow Jacket run of the day where the group will have an increased presence to monitor the trail throughout the ski day.
  • Continued teaching of responsibility on the mountain in all ski and snowboard classes and private lessons through the Vail Ski and Snowboard School.
  • Increased awareness with our guests through National Safety Awareness Week activities.
  • Community outreach through educational sessions with local schools, merchants and other local organizations.
  • “Space Not Speed” educational campaign to keep safety top-of-mind for guests visiting the resort in the spring.

As freeskiing and snowboarding continue to grow in popularity, Vail also has established Freeriding Terrain Responsibility Code. Freeriding terrain includes the pipes and features within the Golden Peak Pipe and Terrain Park. In an effort to increase safety awareness in the park, a set of instructions and warnings have implemented to help promote the safety of each person in the park and pipe.

  • Freeriding Terrain contains man-made and natural terrain variations.
  • Freeriding terrain changes constantly due to weather and use.
  • Inspect the pipe and all features before using as well as throughout the day.
  • In jumping and using the terrain, skier/rider assumes to the risk of serious injury.
  • Be courteous and respect others.
  • One user at a time on all features
  • Look before You Leap!—Never jump blindly and use a spotter when necessary.
  • It is your responsibility to control your body on the ground and in the air.
  • Always clear the landing quickly
  • Always ride or ski in control and within your ability.

Vail, Colorado Ranked No. 1

Readers of SKI Magazine recognized Vail as the No. 1 ski resort in North America in the October issue of the 15th annual “Top 60 Resort Guide”.  The continued commitment to be an innovator in the ski industry and to constantly improve the overall guest experience helped Vail reclaim the No. 1 spot in the rankings, said magazine editors.

Forty years of innovation has led Vail to the top spot in the SKI Magazine rankings more consistently than any other resort in North America. Vail has continually set the standard for resorts both on and off the mountain, which is reflected in the “Top 60 Resort Guide” category rankings.  Vail ranked in the top 10 in 11 categories of the survey, including grooming, terrain, lifts, service, access, on-mountain food, dining, aprés ski, off-hill activities, family programs and terrain parks.

Adventure Ridge Is Headquarters For Unlimited Family Fun

Adventure Ridge Ice Skating
Photo Courtesy: Jack Affleck, Vail Resorts.
Adventure Ridge is Vail’s on-mountain activity center located at the top of the Eagle Bahn Gondola at Eagle’s Nest. This non-skiing activity center caters to kids of all ages with activities such as thrill-sledding, lift-served tubing, snowmobile tours, ski-biking, ice skating, snowshoe tours, laser tag and the kids’ snowmobile track. The thrill sleds have a hand activated hydraulic brake system and four independently suspended skis. Kids also can give mom and dad the night off and experience Adventure Ridge on their own through the weekly chaperoned Night Owl program.

Vail, Colorado Celebrated 40 Years

The 2002-2003 season marked the 40th anniversary for the most popular ski and snowboard resort in the United States. Pete Seibert, a 10th Mountain Division soldier and Vail’s founder, had a vision for this ski mountain to be an international success. His vision became reality when Vail Mountain opened for skiing on Dec. 15, 1962, boasting one gondola, two chairs, eight ski instructors and a $5 lift ticket. In the last 40 years, Vail has become the largest single mountain ski resort in North America offering guests 5,289 acres of terrain within three distinct mountain experiences-the Front Side, the Back Bowls and Blue Sky Basin.

Vail Delivers Family Adventure for Every Generation

Families will find that a vacation to Vail will make memories that last a lifetime. It starts with the ease of booking an inclusive package online at Once here, there are on-mountain adventures for all ages including the Kids’ Adventure Zones, Chaos Canyon Café and Blue Sky Basin. The Vail Ski and Snowboard School offers classes for ages 3 and up as well as licensed day-care at the Small World Play School. The fun continues with non-skiing alternatives for every family member from Adventure Ridge to world-class spas. Vail has even developed special programs to entertain the younger set certain evenings so that parents can enjoy all Vail offers after the lifts close. To book a family vacation and find out about all Vail offers, visit

Kids Ski in Vail too
Photo Courtesy: Jack Affleck, Vail Resorts.

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