Vail, Colorado

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Written by Cassidy Barnes posted on Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

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The town of Vail, Colorado was established in the heart of the Vail Valley in 1966 at the foot of the Rocky Mountains and at the base of Vail Mountain Ski Resort, famous for having the second largest single ski mountain in North America.

Ice climbing a frozen waterfall near Vail. (Colorado Tourism Office)

Vail has a multitude of winter sports, but is also a year-round destination for outdoor activities. With a population of less than 5,000 people, it’s possible that there are more Vail attractions than residents! And they are ready to play host, with a wide range of Vail lodging options, there is a place here in this Rockies town for every kind of traveler.

Gore Creek runs east to west through the center of town, which has a total area of 4.5 miles. The town has an average elevation of 8,150 feet, but Vail Mountain rises to over 12,250 feet.

The enormous skiable area totals 5,289 acres with 33 lifts, 193 marked trails on three faces (the front side, the seven back bowls and Blue Sky Basin).

A few winter activities that shouldn’t be missed include skiing or snowboarding, of course, but also cross-country skiing, ice skating, sledding, and snowmobiling. After all that exercise, stop by one of their world-class spas for a hot stone massage or jump in your hotel’s Jacuzzi to relax those tired muscles!

Popular summer activities that take place in this beautiful mountain town include guided hikes, mountain biking, golfing, horseback riding, rock climbing, kayaking, and fishing. For those interested in elevating their heart rate, Vail has many adventure options. Zip-line tours, paragliding flights, whitewater rafting and even hot air balloons await!

As Vail’s economy mostly relies on tourism, they are also developing a cultural center that feature different artists and concerts to entertain visitors during all four seasons. Vail Film Fest takes place in March or April each year and draw many movie buffs and industry bigwigs. They also host a food and wine festival, the World Alpine Ski Championships, a 4th of July extravaganza and the popular and beloved Vail rubber ducky race.

Modeled after European ski towns, Vail tries to be car-free. In order to facilitate this, the town provides one of the United State’s largest free bus services, and not just during ski season. The “In-Town Shuttle” provides frequent service between Golden Peak, Vail Village, the Business District and Lionshead, with real time schedule information provided at bus stops using GPS technology to track the shuttles. Other routes from the Transportation Center go between the East and West areas of Vail.

The Vail Valley is served by Eagle County Airport, near Gypsum, Colorado. The airport is the perfect place to enter the region as the local Native Americans used to call the area near the airport the “hole in the sky” because storms seemed to avoid it.

During your visit don’t miss your chance to take advantage of the many gourmet Vail restaurants that have helped to make this Colorado Rockies town a rich culinary center.

Montaneros of Vail: This mountain lodge is filled with one to four-bedroom condominiums right in the heart of Vail Village at LionsHead. Just steps away from the gondola, shopping, casual and fine dining. All condos come with a full kitchen, fireplace, balcony, and hotel-like amenities. Contact Montaneros to book everything-from airfare to lodging!

Antlers at Vail: This property offers condominiums and a conference center. Sizes range from studios to four-bedrooms, all with enough room to relax after a long day of skiing. The property is located in LionsHead on Gore Creek, facing Vail Mountain. Each condo has a kitchen, living area, private balcony, high-speed Internet and a BBQ grill. Facility amenities include a fitness room, pool and hot tubs.

Holiday Inn Apex Vail: This Colorado hotel is just minutes from the legendary slopes at Vail Mountain Resort. Choose from their king deluxe, traditional king, traditional double queen, king condo or double queen condo accommodations. Amenities include a fitness center, spa, conference center, and on-site restaurants. Ski and bike rentals also available from the hotel!

Lion Square Lodge: You’ll have ski-in/ski-out convenience at this LionsHead Village property, right at the base of Vail Mountain and the gondola. Hotels rooms and up to five-bedroom condominiums are available year round. Amenities include free on-site parking, pool, hot tubs and dry sauna. Rooms are well appointed and service is unsurpassed in Vail!

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