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Vail Ski Resort Profile
Summary: No ifs, ands, or buts -- Vail is the largest North American ski resort. With over 5,200 acres of terrain, Vail towers above most other resorts on sheer size. Places like Big Sky and Aspen (when you combine all 4 mountains) come close, but Vail has them beat. With such a large terrain, you also get great variety for all levels of skiers. Plus, with the layout of the resort, it is easy to allow different skilled skiers test their own mettle without getting too far away from each other.

Vail is known for its back bowls – 7 bowls with great powder and highly challenging skiing. It is more likely, however, that a family will stick to the main groomed areas, enjoying the variety that Vail offers. Vail offers long, wide runs that everyone can enjoy.

The town of Vail is newer than what you’ll find in Steamboat or Aspen. It was developed with the 21st century in mind – all of the amenities you need and family friendly. Critics say that it can feel too manufactured, and that the mountain is too “choppy”, but most families would find Vail to be an excellent ski destination. Plus, it is in the heart of ski country, so you can find many mountains within 40 minutes if you need a day-trip diversion.

Vail has gone out of their way to offer family-friendly venues, such as a top of the mountain nature evening, and a family dinner theater.

In 2007, Vail was named the #2 resort in North American by SKI Magazine.

Lodging Choices: There will be plenty of lodging to choose from at Vail, on the mountain, near the mountain, or in Vail Village. Prices are not cheap, but then again this is Vail.

As with many resorts along the I-70 corridor, lodging can be had in non-ski towns like Frisco (30 minute easy drive) if saving money is important, and you are willing to drive.

rrain / Highest Elevation / Vertical Drop: 5,200 acres / 11,600 feet / 3,150 feet

Activities for Non-Skiers: Vail Village offers a wealth of activity for the non-skier. Shops and restaurants are abundant. An excursion to a spa will be easy to find. The Colorado Ski Museum and Hall of Fame is worth an afternoon.

Ski School. Ski School offered for ages 3 and up. Half Day, Full Day, and Private lessons are all available.

Day Care: Ages 2-6 can be accommodated in the nursery. Full day is the norm, but space-permitting 2 ½ hour slots can be had if there is room.

Getting there: Flying into Vail Airport (30 minutes from Vail) is easy, especially given the plethora of flights available. Directs are available from Minneapolis, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Atlanta, Miami, Houston, Dallas, Denver, and Los Angeles. You can also fly to Denver International Airport, from where Vail is a little over a 2 hour drive.

Insider Tip: Don’t let the initial lift lines deter you. Lots of traffic pumps through Vail, but there is so much terrain that once you get up on the mountain, you’ll have plenty of elbow room.