Vail is one of the United States' premier skiing destinations seeing over a million visitors, offering all sorts of recreational fun and sports.
What first stood out to me about Vail, Colorado was that this small town of less than 5,000 people (and less than five square miles) sees over a million visitors a year. Not all of them are on a quest to ski, but all of them are on a quest to experience one of the best destinations in the country.
The winter/skiing season starts in mid-November, running all the way to the middle of April. Yeah, when you're at 8,120 feet it's not exactly a tropical paradise. It it, however, a snow-laden paraside.
Vail makes it easy to get up the mountain with 31 lifts, including one gondola and 17 quads that lift more than 59,000 people an hour to its 193 trails. In case you're wondering, Riva Ridge is the longest of them all at a staggering 4 miles long.
More than fifty percent of the trails in Vail are for the experts or advanced skiers. Sorry beginners, you're alloted less than 20 percent of the trails that see more than 366 inches of snow a year. There are both ski and snowboarding schools that'll help you improve your game. There are even special children and teen lessons for the younger ones in the family.
Because you can't spend every waking minute skiing (although some would disagree), Vail's got the best in other wintrey sports. There's a half-pipe and a super-pipe, as well as all sorts of Nordic activities like snow shoeing and hiking.
To heck with skiing, the four on-mountain restaurants are what I'm wanting to see. I mean, eat. Hey, traversing a mountain can certainly make you hungry. Before you ask, of course there are other restaurants found all over town.
Vail also has a wide variety of accommodations to fit every budget and every family size--including condos, hotels, and lodges. Yes you'll want to stay the night, how else are you going to ski and tackle Adventure Ridge?
Adventure Ridge is a snowmobiling, tubing, family-friendly adventure. Take the gondola up after 2pm and ride is free. Go beforehand and it'll cost you a whopping $28. The season for Adventure Ridge runs a bit different, not opening until mid-December, and closing by the middle of April.
While you're exploring Adventure Ridge, you overlook some of Vail's bowls, with names like Outer and Inner Mongolia, Tea Cup, Sun Down and Sun Up, and Siberia. There are 10 total, although according to some there are only seven "officially".
Usually in the beginning of April, or sometimes late March is the Vail Film Festival that brings in thousands more to what is considered the largest ski resort in the country.
Not everyone is here for the White River National Forest, I guess. But, take Vail anyway you can get it--a million people can't be wrong. Can they?