Vail is world-famous for its skiing and snowboarding terrain. With an average yearly snowfall of 350 inches, 5,317 skiable acres, seven legendary back bowls, a broad front side with the most groomed terrain on the planet, and 300 days of sunshine, how could it not be?
Whether you are a seasoned Vail visitor or brand new, here are local tips and tricks to make the most of your Vail Mountain experience.
For even more local insight regarding the best things to do in Vail, request a free copy of our Vacation Guide!
Getting Around Vail Mountain
Vail Mountain sets the scene for an unforgettable adventure. Whether you’re new to winter sports or experienced in the snow, the mountain has terrain for every difficulty level! Drop into an endless blanket of immaculately groomed snow. You’re in for the time of your life! Here are a couple of our staff’s helpful tips:
- The fastest track to the Back Bowls from Lionshead: Take BornFree (chair 8) to Avanti (chair 2) to Wildwood Express (chair 3), where you can dive blissfully into Sun Down Bowl.
- On a busy day: Hit Game Creek Bowl early, and then come back to the front side or ski the Simba area (chair 26) while other front side chairs clear out. Try to avoid the most popular Back Bowls and chairs 2, 3, and 4, especially mid-morning through lunch.
Our Favorite Gear
Maybe it’s your first time in Vail. Perhaps it’s your first time skiing and snowboarding in general. Regardless, it helps to know where to get the best gear and what items you should prioritize! Our local staff has been doing this for a long time, so take advantage of some of our advice:
- The best place to rent your gear: Performance Sports in Lionshead offers the best service, hands-down!
- Goggles vs. sunglasses: We recommend goggles. Goggles with appropriate lenses are even better. Consider yellow, gold, or amber tinted lenses in low light or fog, rose-tinted lenses for flat or gray light, and polarized lenses for bright sunshine.
- What to wear: Layer up! You can always add or take away as temperatures and conditions dictate.
- What we always carry with us: Lip balm with SPF, sunscreen, energy bar, collapsible water bottle, cell phone, cash, and neck gaiter if we’re not already wearing it. You’ve got lots of pockets in those parkas & pants, so use them!
Wining and Dining
Warm-up in between sessions or after a long day in the snow with some delicious food, a glass of wine, and a stroll along the heated cobblestone streets of Vail’s enchanting villages!
- The best places for lunch: Either before 11 am or after 2 pm on-mountain to avoid the crowds. Or head down to the Lionshead base area. Moe’s BBQ in Lionshead is a filling, yummy & fast option. Bart & Yeti’s has a great deck. You’re also close enough to your condo for a quick, homemade lunch. From Lionshead, you can quickly hop back on chair eight or the Gondola to get back to the mountain.
- For a little après-ski: In Lionshead, Garfinkel’s deck is the place to be. In Vail Village, hit the Red Lion for the legendary musical entertainment. And don’t miss town-wide Vail Apres celebrations and specials at 4 pm each day!
- One more “out of the box” lunch suggestion: If you don’t mind a little effort, head to Belle’s Camp in Blue Sky Basin on a sunny day. Free grills are available, so bring a backpack full of burgers, brats, drinks, etc. and enjoy the scene!
Local Tip: For even more restaurant suggestions, read our blog about the best dining in Vail!
Stay in Luxurious Accommodations
Skiing and snowboarding in Vail is an experience unlike any other! After a long day on the slopes, take advantage of one of our many amenities to recover. Soothe those sore muscles in our sauna or hot tubs. Stretch your legs in our fitness center. Let our concierge book a massage or recovery session with Mountain Fit. Browse our accommodations, then contact us for personalized service and help to select the perfect loft or condo for you and your needs!