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- One of the biggest areas in the US – great for confident intermediates, especially
- The Back Bowls are big areas of treeless terrain – unusual in the US
- Fabulous area of ungroomed, wooded slopes at Blue Sky Basin
- Largely traffic-free resort centres, very pleasant in parts – but ...
- Resort is a vast sprawl
- Slopes can be crowded by American standards, with serious lift queues
- Inadequate mountain restaurants
- Blue Sky Basin and the Back Bowls may not be open in early season; warm weather can close the Bowls
- Expensive, with lots of luxury lodgings but few budget options
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We always enjoy skiing Vail; it’s a big mountain with a decent vertical, and Blue Sky Basin’s ‘adventure’ skiing is a key attraction. But it is far from being our favourite American mountain. In an American resort you expect the runs to be pretty much crowd-free – and in any resort, these days, you expect 20-minute lift queues to be a thing of the past. In these respects, Vail disappoints.
A repeat visit in 2011 confirms that when the budget runs to a swanky billet in Vail Village or the new Lionshead area, we’re happy enough with the resort, too; it is a pleasant place to wander around. But we’re not enthusiastic about Vail Village’s pseudo-Tirolean style, and the rest of the huge resort lacks character. In the end, we reckon Vail can’t compete with more distinctively American resorts based on old mining or cowboy towns.
News – this season 2012/13
A new gondola is to replace the Vista Bahn chair from Vail Village to mid-mountain, increasing capacity by 40%.
News – last season 2011/12
The 10th, a much-needed new table-service mountain restaurant, opened at Mid-Vail.
News – 2010/11
The High Noon Express fast quad replaced the existing slow chair on the Sun Up and Sun Down back bowls.
More luxury accommodation opened.