Powder in Vail

13th February 2011, by Dave Watts

Blue Sky Basin’s wooded terrain is Dave’s favourite part of Vail’s 5000+ acres of varied terrain

Blue Sky Basin’s wooded terrain is Dave’s favourite part of Vail’s 5000+ acres of varied terrain

Vail is by far the biggest single mountain in the Colorado and the second biggest in the USA (it is pipped by Big Sky-Moonlight Basin by a few acres). It celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2012 and has proved a huge success – affluent Americans flock to it and its luxurious hotels and love Vail Village with its Tirolean themed chalets and bierkellers.

Vail now spreads for miles from one end to the other and is served by one of the most efficient free bus services I’ve come across. I stayed at one of the more budget option hotels – the Manor Vail – close to Golden Peak lift base and skied the mountain on Thursday and Friday.

Thursday saw us heading out to Blue Sky Basin – the most remote part of their ski area and reached by skiing through their famous Back Bowls. It is my favourite part of Vail’s 5000+ acres and I had a great day there skiing the forested terrain in lovely sunshine and light, chopped-up powder. There are runs here for intermediates and experts and the trees and north-facing aspect keep the snow in great condition.

The next day I explored the front face of Vail, skiing all the varied runs from east to west – which include steep, steep bump runs and great groomed cruising on immaculately groomed trails. There were noticeably more people here than at Beaver Creek earlier in the week and some of the key lifts had lift queues – why more people don’t take the short bus ride to Beaver Creek (owned by Vail Resorts and covered by the lift pass) beats me.

On Thursday evening we took the gondola up from Lionshead, followed by a snowcat for dinner at the exclusive Game Creek club – open to the public in the evenings but members only at lunchtime. They do a great fixed meal of up to five courses here.

Next stop: Aspen – watch out for a report in the next few days.


Dave’s visits to Breckenridge, Beaver Creek and Vail were arranged by Crystal Holidays

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