The gold standard.

The original Colorado behemoth continues to make its already world-class winter experiences better. To complement the reader-praised, numerous high-speed chairlifts spider-webbed throughout the mountain, the ski resort is investing in 10 new large-capacity, low-energy snowmaking fans to make early season turns under the Born Free Express even more delightful. When snowfall picks up, Vail will increase grooming operations in the famous Back Bowls this season by 30 percent, allowing more skiers to experience the joy of making turns down Morning Thunder, Genghis Kahn, and others.

One thing that hasn’t changed for the better is price. Vail is expensive, with the steep cost of parking and lodging remaining the largest complaint from visitors and residents alike, but money will be the last thing on your mind when enjoying the views from Game Creek Bowl and Blue Sky Basin. 

When the lifts close, it’s hard to make a wrong choice for après, but we prefer getting a pizza at Vendetta’s or Normy style wings at Bart and Yeti’s. If you’re feeling fancy, end the day watching the alpenglow of the sunset on Vail’s frontside with a cocktail from Matsuhisa or a local pint at the Vail Brewing Company Taproom, followed by a stroll along the babbling Gore Creek before dinner at Mountain Standard or Russell’s. - Jon Jay

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Vail Back Bowls

When it's empty, Vail is magical.


SNOW On storm skiing days, the crowds head to the Back Bowls, but the Northwoods area has phenomenal glades and visibility.

LODGING Spend some nights at The Sonnenalp or The Lodge at Vail for proper pampering that’s worth the price.

NIGHTLIFE When Shakedown Bar has live music, it’s hard to beat.

FAMILY ACTIVITY Hairbag Alley rides like a natural banked-slalom course through the trees. It’s a hoot.

DINNER PICK Try Fall Line Vail for Latin-inspired cuisine in a sunny, rustic space in Vail Village. Do order a signature cocktail off the innovative bar menu.     

APRÈS SPOT Grab a couch at The George, Vail Village’s iconic subterranean lounge. With drink and food specials (try the king crab), this place gets packed with locals and visitors alike.

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