Resort guide to Vail - USA

Colorado's best resort. Large ski area with legendary 'back bowls'. High quality hotels

Vail resort guide - a general overview

Vail is the biggest ski area in the US and an impressive one by any standard, offering more skiable mountain terrain than anywhere else. The resort is convenient, has a civilised atmosphere and a great snow record with most of the terrain being ideal for novices and intermediates. However, there is still plenty for the expert with lots of open bowls, an excellent park and plenty of groomed and ungroomed pistes to keep everyone happy. Ski schools and guides have an excellent reputation and are among the best in the world. Accommodation in the resort is mainly in the form of hotels but there are also some charming chalets in Vail. Apres ski is lively and there is a lot to do off the slopes. This is a lovely resort as long as you can handle a few queues, crowded slopes and the overall damage it will do to your wallet!


1 hour
2hr 30mins

Resort stats

5290 acres

2,500m - 3,490m

Level of skiing

Snow sure
Ski area


Charm factor
Resort layout
Fine dining
Short transfer
Resort value


  • The biggest area in the US
  • Free and frequent bus service
  • The Colorado lift ticket covers Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone resorts
  • Fantastic groomed and ungroomed terrain in open bowls and through the trees
  • Lively apres ski scene, shopping and a large selection of restaurants


  • The resort is vastly spread, and stretches for miles
  • Lift queues can be long, especially at the weekend
  • Mountain restaurants are crowded and expensive
  • Expensive
  • There are few chalets in Vail

Vail Resort Restaurants

Eating out in the resort offers an abundance of choice, with options a plenty! There is May Palace, which offers Chinese, Montauk, which sells seafood, Pazzos where you can pick up a pizza, Billy's Island Grill offers you steaks and the Bistro will give you a good feed on satisfying American style food. If you're looking for something a bit more top of the range then pay a visit to the Tour, Wildflower or the Alpenrose, where the owner and chef will prepare you the finest in Continental cuisine in this authentic European style restaurant that has been a fixture in Vail Village for the past 25 years -the food is superb and the service is fantastic.

Vail Mountain Restaurants

Mountain restaurants in Vail are surprisingly poor compared to many other major American resorts, as they can be overcrowded and expensive. However don't let this put you off as there are a handful of restaurants which are of slightly better value, and come with a good atmosphere and great views including the Wildwood Smokehouse (at the top of Wildwood Express lift). If you do fancy splashing out, then pay a visit to one of Vail's flagship mountain restaurants, the Two Elk which is decorated in a Ute Indian theme and offers a gourmet cafeteria style menu.

Vail Apres Ski

The apres ski scene in Vail is quite lively and when the sun is shining, there are a few places to rest your legs at the end of the day with an ice cold drink with the sun on your face. Mainly the apres-ski is centred in the Village and the Lionshead area in particular. The Red Lion has a sun deck, live music, big screen TV's and great food. Garfunlkel's has a sun deck a regular DJ and happy hour and Los Amigos at the base of the Vista Bahn is a good place to be to watch late-day skiers make their way down the steep Pepi's Face.

Vail Nightlife

If you want the night to continue then there are plenty of places to get your groove on and have a boogie! Try 8150, which is quite unique in that it has a suspended floor that moves with the dancing! The Samana attracts a young crowd and usually plays a bit of rock 'n' roll, the Tap Room generally sees the more mature party goers and The Bridge is a bit of a snowboarder hang out. If you fancy a few beers, but don't fancy a dance then there is Altitude, which is Vail's premier sports bar with large TV screens, pool tables and an arcade.

Vail Resort Map

  • Funicular Funicular
  • Cable car Cable Car
  • Gondola Gondola
  • Chair lift Chair lift
  • Drag lift Drag lift
  • Map marker Property
Tourist info

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