It’s a no-brainer. You’re visiting one of the most popular (and largest) ski resorts in North America—you have to check out the mountain. During the winter, if you’ve never skied or snowboarded before, your best bet is to sign up for a lesson. The instructors at the Vail Snowsports School are patient and professional and can get you up and riding before you know it. Check to see if there are deals on lift tickets with lessons for beginners. If you’re confident with your mountain prowess, consider purchasing an Epic Pass
at the beginning of the season. One of the most screamin’ deals for snowsports enthusiasts, the Epic Pass is an unlimited pass to all five Vail Resorts mountains with no blackout dates. If you’re worried about lines at the main base areas (which can happen at peak times), use Golden Peak as your mountain access point. Try to catch first chair and, from there, make your way to Vail’s legendary Back Bowls. While Blue Sky Basin is friendly to intermediate skiers and riders (snowboarders, be prepared for cat-tracks to Blue Sky), Sun Down Bowl is the place to be on a powder day. After conquering the Back Bowls, you’re free to explore the front side including Blue Ox is a must try. Chair 5 (High Noon) is being replaced and will become a high speed lift to the top of the front side of Vail. If you’re wiped after a full day of shredding, ride down to Golden Peak and take the bus back into the Village or Lionshead for a less strenuous return to your lodging. If you’d prefer to just take in the views, a foot pass is available to ride the gondola, no equipment required. During the summer, the mountain is just as lively with hiking, mountain biking, horseback rides and a Friday Afternoon Club with live music and entertainment.