I have traveled to different ski sites since joining my college ski & snowboard club, and by having friends who love snowboarding as well. I’ve snowboarded at Whistler, Big Sky Montana, Mammoth, Tahoe resorts- Squaw, Heavenly, Sugarbowl, etc….and now I’ve finally experienced Colorado, Vail, Colorado to be exact.
Nothing can compare to the Vail Resort, at least no where that I have been. My Dad is kinda a ski connoisseur and use to travel to different ski resorts as a journalist and also followed the World Cup tour back in the day. He says there is nothing like it, and now I’d have to agree. Once you arrive, and survive the flight and annoying layover in Denver, you reach a worry free territory where virtually everyone does whatever they can to make your day awesome. (Well except maybe the other tourist/vacationers).
Vail markets itself as- “Vail, nothing on Earth.” They got the right. With the tremendous amounts of different bowls you can ride, the high speed lift lines, the good food & nice lodges, the shopping in the village, unique blend of dinning cuisines, the ice skating rinks, the awesome blinking lights, the architecture, the snow, the movie theatre that serves first class meals and beverages in giant cushion seats, the elite bowling alley, the free transportation, and the happy go lucky vacation attitude most employees have even in the worst conditions, yes, this there is nothing on Earth that compares to Vail. I have not even delved into the massive mountain and all the possible ways to get down the mountain. It would be entirley likley to ski Vail for a few days and take different runs every time. Ofcourse, if you’re a skiier/boarder like me who finds a run and likes to pound it out a few times, that won’t fly.
One of my favorite things about the Vail Mountain is how accessible it is. I had the privilege to stay at the classy Vail Cascade Resort where we were spoiled with boot/board storage and a convenient lift that took us right up the mountain, no long lift line to start the day. Every morning we were already a head start amongst those late risers, or tourist who opted for the scenic Gondola ride up to the top, or other people loading up at the Vail village. As a snowboarder, I was even more impressed. Typically boarders get caught in long flat cat walks, loose our speed, and end up having to unclip or glide our way to the next lift. It’s miserable. That is not the case at Vail. If you’re a decent boarder, you should be able to make your way around without every unclipping (i did it). Ofcourse, I’m the boarder that avoids the catwalks unless they are the only route down.
I snowboarded Vail 5 days. It was incredible. For the busy Christmas/New Year season, I hit marginal lift lines (if any), and got around the mountain without any problems. There is plenty of terrain to hit up, everything from beginner to advance runs. The only thing I had to look out for were the random Mogul runs that sometimes I’d face on my way down. The new Blue Sky Basin Bowl territory is a free for all. It’s like you get off the lift, choose your route down, and hope you meet your party at the bottom. You ski amongst masses of trees and all kinds of drops lines. It’s exhilarating. I also had a lot of fun on chair 11 (Northwoods) and the Teacup Lift. Great for when there is snow or even fresh Pow. I would like to say though that Vail could improve their mountain signage, especially on the actual runs, and provide more benches at the top of the lifts for us boarders who don’t want to always sit in the snow.
Vail provided me with one of the easiest snow trips of my life. Perhaps it is the elite target market Vail goes after, or maybe it was because I stayed in a legit resort with incomparable service and amenities. Their staff of locals , South Africans, and other free spirits doing whatever it takes to make it in the snow, are friendly and dedicated to serving up to the Vail brand. I would recommend Vail Resort to anyone passionate about the Skiing and snowboarding, and anyone willing (or who has) those extra pennies to invest in a vacation of a lifetime. I feel so lucky to have experienced the best of the best in skiing, and I only hope I can one day make it back.