Vail Colo. Almanac

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Getting There: Vail is a two-hour drive from the Denver airport, three during storms or on weekends. Eagle Airport is 35 miles east of Vail.

Sleeping In: The Lodge is Vail's most historic hotel, just steps from the Vista Bahn chair, $225-$5,000 per night (800-331-5634). The largest lodge in town is Vail Marriott Mountain Resort & Spa, $179-$759 per night (800-648-0720). Vail Cascade Resort & Spa has its own lift in West Vail, $129-$1,800 per night (800-420-2424).

Dining Out: There are many award-winning choices: the intimate Wildflower at The Lodge, the creative fish and veal of Larkspur, the continental cuisine of Terra Bistro. Gramshammer's is one of the great places in the world for an Austrian lunch. And The Ore House remains one of Vail's best dinner values.

Après-Ski : High tea & jazz piano at the Sonnenalp King's Club, music at Club Gravity, and Vail's longest happy hour at the Sundance Saloon.

Nightlife: DJs galore, including the hot 8150, The Bridge Nightclub and ever-happening Club Chelsea.

Kicking Butt: The double-black steeps between the aspens of the Frontside Chutes will school you.

Kicking Back: Try the immersion tub at the Aria spa at Vail Cascade Resort & Spa (970-479-5942).

Don't Miss: The Colorado Ski Museum details the history of the ski tribe (970-476-1876).

Vital Stats: terrain: 5,289 acres; lifts: 33; base elevation: 8,120 feet; summit elevation: 11,570; vertical drop: 3,450; average annual snowfall: 346 inches; lift ticket, adult: $67 (2001-02 season); information: 800-427-8308; www.vail.com; central reservations: 800-525-2257.

Buying In: Average prices: two-bedroom Vail condo, $370,000; three-bedroom, $570,000. Contact: Slifer, Smith & Frampton, 888-692-7360; www.slifer.net.