Recent snow storms brought more than a foot of snow to Vail last week, which meant that opening day on Friday, November 20, was a powder day. Nice way to start the season. Vail kicked things off with 1,150 acres of open terrain, and celebrated the new six-passenger Avanti Express Lift (#2). The resort plans to turn on the lights in more areas soon.
You can read about every Colorado ski resort in the Edge, our winter sports guide, as we roll it out online. Each description lays out what's new, what the signature experience is, what to splurge on, how to go cheap and, of course, what to drink. Now, head for the trees.
VAIL SKI RESORT
What’s new: Ride the new six-passenger Avanti Express lift, which replaces the old Mountain Top Express Lift from Lionshead on the front side of Vail Mountain. Also, check out the Skadi Women’s Ski Fest January 20-22, named for the Norse goddess of winter and featuring gear demos and guided ski-school experiences on the mountain, followed by cooking demos and wine-tasting events at the Arabelle at Vail Square.
Signature experience: Take a lesson, suggests Vail spokeswoman Sally Gunter, whether you’re a beginner or an expert. “Vail’s ski and snowboard instructors are the cream of the crop and enhance your overall experience on the mountain,” she says. “From an insider’s tour of the mountain to bypassing the lift lines, pairing up with an instructor allows you more time to ski and less time to stress.”
Splurge: Book at table at The 10th, a posh mid-mountain retreat where the menu pays homage to mountain cuisine from France, Switzerland and Italy, with a Colorado twist.
Ski bum tips: “Savvy travelers can make the most out of their trip to Vail this winter by visiting during early season and other off-peak periods, when benefits include better deals on lodging and lift tickets, fantastic events, easier reservations at the most popular resort restaurants, and more of the mountain to yourself,” Gunter says. “Traditional off-peak periods fall between opening day and Christmas; after New Year’s Day and before the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday; between the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday and the Presidents’ Day holiday; after the Presidents’ Day holiday and into early March, and in mid-April until closing day.”
Drink locally: Try the locally made 10 Mountain Whiskey at The 10th or at the new distillery’s tasting room in town, at 286 Bridge Street; visit the new Vail Brewing in Eagle-Vail; or push on toward Crazy Mountain Brewing in nearby Edwards, or Bonfire Brewery in Eagle.