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Andrew Couperthwait came to Vail and all he got was this lousy face shot.

Andrew Couperthwait came to Vail and all he got was this lousy face shot.

Last year, more than a million people skied Vail. Most came for the miles of consistent groomers, but those in the know headed to Prima Cornice, Lover’s Leap, and the dozens of 35-degree shots for steep untracked powder. How can there be powder with all those skiers? Simple: Vail is enormous. The Back Bowls encompass 3,000 acres, and you can spend a week exploring the trees. Throw in a rowdy party scene and a snowfall advantage over most Colorado resorts (hello, cloud seeding) and you’ll see why the place has such a huge following.

MARQUEE ROUTE: Below Chair 10, and as bumpy as a Mini Cooper lot, HIGHLINE is a Western mogul classic. Too jarring? Take Chair 4 from Mid Vail and drop off the back side onto knee-friendly FOREVER, in Sun Down Bowl.

OFF BROADWAY: Head to Two Elks Lodge from Chair 14 and drop into DRAGON’S TEETH, where cliff bands range from five to 20 feet.

FRONTSIDE FIRST: Vail’s Frontside is 1,600 acres of mostly intermediate terrain. But don’t let that fool you: Sprinkled throughout are plenty of expert chutes, gullies, and bumps.

POWDER DAY: Take the 8:30 A.M. Vista Bahn chair to Chair 3, and burn a 30-degree warmup lap down Game Creek Bowl. Then head east, farming the 3,000 acre that compose Vail’s seven back bowls. You’ll hit Blue Sky Basin—645 acres of gullies, rock drops, and glades—by 10 o’clock, right when they ring the bell.

THREE DAYS LATER: Three words: Blue Sky Basin. Prevailing westerlies wind-load a long, corniced ridge in Pete’s Bowl. Ski Steep & Deep, a treedotted
chute near the top. Or head farther down the ridge, drop the six- to 10-foot cornice on Iron Mask, and sniff out powder stashes that load in the trees below.

PARK AND PIPE: Accessible via Chair 6, the Golden Peak Super Park packs tabletops, rails, tree
stashes, log jibs, and a superpipe with 18-foot walls into 1,000 vertical feet.

BACKCOUNTRY ACCESS: A run down the Minturn Mile (it’s actually about five miles) will dump you on the doorstep of the Saloon Bar, eight miles
west of Vail. You’ll only rack up 850 vertical, but the treedotted powder fields and creek-luge make up for the teensy drop. (Avy info:

WEATHER: Westerly and northwesterly storms favor Vail, which averages nearly 68 inches in March—its snowiest month— and 311 inches between November and late February.

APRÈS: Grab a Tecate on Los Amigos’ sunny trailside deck and watch end-of-day gaper carnage on Pepi’s Face. At Vendetta’s, Bud and Fat Tire
are always flowing.

FUEL: Down an egg, meat, and cheese Mountain Stuffer at Blizzard’s (in Vail Village) and you won’t need lunch till midafternoon.

UP ALL NIGHT: If it’s a mixed-drink night, head to Samana, on Bridge Street, where DJs and a dance floor coexist with Miamilounge

DIGS: Single beds at the no-frills Roost Lodge in West Vail run between $59 and $129. has four-day ski-and stay
deals for cheap. Or check


Trip Ideas: Vail/Beaver Creek, Colorado | Photo: Courtesy of Vail Resorts

Trip Ideas: Vail and Beaver Creek, Colorado

Because you can ski Vail for a week and never repeat a line.

Barenaked Ladies

Vail Snow Daze

EVE 6 and a few other more well known bands, like the Barenaked Ladies, are playing free shows in Vail this week and weekend.

Andreas Hatveit gets ready for a crazy game of Twister. Freeway 8 superpipe, Breckenridge.


Breckenridge Ski Resort in Colorado's Summit County offers world-class skiing, lodging, dining and nightlife. Breckenridge averages 300 inches of snowfall and 300 days of blue skies per year.

Andrew Couperthwait came to Vail and all he got was this lousy face shot.

$150 Million Before the First Toilet Flushes

The Atlantic's Derek Thompson takes an inside look at Whistler, Vail, and the economics of the mega-resort.

Rebecca Selig, Vail

Vail, Colorado: Nine Inches of Powder

Need proof that winter isn't over yet? Here are shots from Vail this weekend—when nine of inches of snow fell on Friday night, dawning bluebird Saturday and Sunday. The best part: After skiing powder, you can take a shot of Limoncello from an ice luge at the top of Vail's Blue Sky Basin.

Eben Mond at Loveland, Colorado


The small to zilch lift lines—even during spring break—are a welcome change, along with the epic backcountry access, newly opened Tunnel Face (another nod to persistent poaching creating change), and no sign of Vail-tude.

15. Winter Park, CO

Winter Park

Mary Jane—named for a mining-era lady of the night—and its sister area, Winter Park, offer plenty of prospects for good skiing, including bumps and powder-filled bowls. Forming one of the closest major resorts to Denver, the two areas spread across five mountains and 3,078 acres. Add 3,060 feet of vertical, 30 feet of snowfall, and a direct train from Denver and it’s no wonder why the Front Range packs the place on Saturdays.

19.  Copper Mountain, Colorado

Copper Mountain

Unlike many resorts in the area, enjoy free parking and a shuttle to the base of the hill. Get there early for first tracks—the bus runs starting at 6:30 a.m.