Vail Local Guide
At 5,289 acres, Vail is the third largest single mountain ski resort in the United States, behind Big Sky and Park City. It features seven back bowls and incredible glades especially in Blue Sky Basin. You can discover new trails and areas even after skiing it for an entire week. Vail has three distinct ski areas. The front side is usually crowded and provides lots of groomed cruisers and areas available to beginner skiers and riders. The legendary Back Bowls are famous amongst advanced skiers and some will say their best powder days occurred in the Back Bowls. They are a great way to truly feel in the mountains and escape the masses. Lastly, Blue Sky Basin is like another resort, within the resort. It’s peaceful, and it has ample amounts of backcountry trials and tree skiing. On a powder day, get out there early and head to Blue Sky Basin first for some of the best lines and views you’ll ever experience.
Between Vail & Beaver Creek is the town of Minturn. With a historic downtown, reasonable prices and a relaxed atmosphere, this charming small town has big character. Afterall, it’s the oldest town in the Vail Valley. Be sure to visit the Minturn Saloon with the best all-natural margaritas around. Sage Outdoor Adventures provides visitors with a different winter day in the mountains. Only 30 minutes away from Vail, Sage’s private mountain and snowmobile trail system is larger than the Vail ski area. They have many tour options from the never-ever to expert riders. If you’re not wanting to go too far, walking distance or a short shuttle ride away, head into Lionshead Village. With great coffee shops and places to window shop, you can spend a relaxing afternoon exploring the village. You can even go ice skating at the Lionshead Rink, where the locals will tell you it’s best to go at night.
When visiting Vail, be sure to take advantage of the incredible cuisine! Sweet Basil is located in the heart of the village, and features a creative seasonal menu. Not to mention, its wine selection is highly rated by locals and visitors alike. Be sure to book your reservations early, because this place is popular and fills up fast! Vendetta’s is another hot spot and is a great place for people of all ages to dine. With great staff and fantastic Italian fair, you must get one of their pizzas while there. Located just steps off of Gondola One, Vendetta’s has a great patio for a fun and lively apres experience. Located in Manor Vail Lodge, the Fitz is another extremely popular choice amongst locals. Since they open just before the mountain closes, the Fitz is a classic apres spot. With a great selection of appetizers and entrees along with their unique cocktails, you’ll be hard pressed to have a bad time at the Fitz. They just recently renovated their outdoor patio as well, making it a stellar spot for mountain views. For the later portion of the night, Shakedown is one of the more well known bars. Also located just off Gondola One, they bring in great live music which usually begins around 9:00pm. That said, Shakedown is popular late-night, so be sure to get there before the music starts so you can find a good table. This place will get packed with locals and visitors all clamoring for a place on the dance floor. Craving even more information on Vail? Check out the blog for part two of our Vail Local Guide, coming soon.