February 8, 2013
Earlier this week, I spent a day skiing at Vail Resort, Colorado. As is often the case at Vail, the skiing was great. Despite only having one day to ski, I managed to hit all major areas of Vail from Game Creek Bowl to the Back Bowls to Blue Sky Basin to many parts of the front side. I also had the chance to ride Vail’s new gondola “One,” which replaces the previous Vista Bahn Express. The fastest of its type in the world, this new gondola features heated seats and even WiFi access. But, honestly, if you’re trying to get some business done over WiFi during the 7.5-minute lift ride, maybe you should have just stayed at the office.
I also tried out snow tubing at Adventure Ridge. Located at the top of the Eagle Bahn gondola, Adventure Ridge offers evening activities such as tubing, a kids snowmobile track, and headlamp-lit ski biking down the slopes. (Gondola rides to the top are free in the evening.) Tubing passes are good for one hour with sessions offered on each half hour; tickets are $32 per person. That’s pretty expensive for one hour of tubing, but the tubing runs are a blast and the views can’t be beat, especially at sunset.
Snow has been a little light in Colorado this winter so far, which was evidenced by some thin cover throughout areas of Vail such as China Bowl. Even so, recent storms have kept the snow fresh and the coverage quite good -; good enough to dip into the trees. On my visit, a sunny day evolved into a snowstorm that brought several inches of fresh powder to the resort and surrounding areas.
But enough about the skiing. After a day on the slopes, Vail Village welcomes skiers with plenty of shops, dining, and street art, including lit ice sculptures, dancing fountains, and open gas fires scattered throughout. The village becomes downright magical when snow is falling. Vail caters to the well-heeled, so many of the shops are best left for window shopping if your bank account doesn’t have lots and lots of trailing zeros. Two distinct areas -; Lionshead and the traditional Vail Village -; are pedestrian-friendly, and hybrid buses efficiently shuttle guests between key points of town. Most streets and sidewalks are heated and snow/ice-free.
The following pictorial provides a glimpse of Vail at night.