All right, let’s get the Vail jokes out of the way: ones ribbing the fabulous fur coats seen on Bridge Street, the $18 old-fashioneds, the Wi-Fi connected gondolas, and designer oxygen bars to combat altitude sickness. To understate it, there’s nothing chintzy about this Interstate 70 gem with its luxury veneer. Nearly 60 years into the roadside resort town experiment (literally named after a highway engineer), shit-talking Vail’s cultural aesthetic has grown passé as its winning streak grows longer. Even the haters have to admit, when it comes to terrain, Vail is simply phenomenal.
It’s easy to run off the mountain...195 trails, 31 lifts, 3,450 feet of vertical rise. We tend to just gloss over all of that, no matter how impressive. But consider this one important number: 5,317 acres of skiable terrain. That’s just shy of Big Sky. And Big Sky is … big (the second largest in the U.S., behind Park City Mountain Resort). The front side of Vail stacks up pretty well to just about anywhere south of Alaska and then there are seven bowls (seven!) on the backside. The total package stretches more than seven miles wide, buried in 370 inches of snow per year. And that’s not counting the two “unofficial” Back Bowls in Blue Sky Basin.