October 2, 2014

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Vail, Colorado

Snow Renowned for its vast, open ski terrain and other winter sports activities, Vail Mountain offers a world-class skiing/snowboarding experience as well as a world-class guest experience.  It is truly one of America’s Great Ski Mountains located in the next valley over from American Mountain Holidays offices! Vail boasts three distinct areas of the mountain: the front-side of Vail Mountain, the Back Bowls and Blue Sky Basin, each with their own unique skiing and riding features, including three terrain parks, seven bowls and 5,289 acres of terrain. 

At seven miles wide and with a vertical of 3,450 feet, finding fresh tracks is pretty easy. A powder day at Vail is like no other! On an average day, there are only two skiers per acre, and on a busy day, four!  

The vast ski mountain can be accessed from three parts of Vail: Vail Village core, Gold Peak, the fastest way to Blue Sky Basin and Lionshead, with the EagleBahn Gondola which not only accesses the west side of Vail Mountain and Game Creek Bowl, but you will also find Adventure Ridge, a football staduim sized area with a multi lane lighted tubing, ski bikes (on the runs at night with head lamps, yeah!), trampolines (try hucking your latest money move with the bungee harnesses) and more, (mini snowmobiles for kids in a groomed circular track. The mountain, service and amenities in Vail are second to none, book at ski vacation with AMH and find out why.

Summer: Summer in Vail may be more laid back, but it’s just as vibrant and full of activity! You will find great lodging deals here making Vail a great choice of a Colorado Summer Vacation! Enjoy a plethora of outdoor activities such as mountain biking, hiking, rock climbing, kayaking, whitewater rafting, horseback riding and hot-air balloon rides. Some of the more popular extreme activities include Jeep and Hummer tours, thrilling paragliding flights and single track mountain bike rides.

If golfing is your thing, be sure to check out one of the 17 championship courses within a 38-mile radius. Courses range from the picturesque Vail Golf Club located at the base of the Gore Range at the foot of Vail Mountain to the beautiful mountainous course at Eagle-Vail Golf Club. The Vail Valley is also home to a number of semi-private resort courses including Red Sky Ranch, Beaver Creek and Sonnenalp. For a more cultural experience, take in a musical festival, a visit to the nature center or alpine garden, or shop and dine at your leisure.


Known as America’s largest ski area, Vail is a mecca for all kinds of year- round alpine activities. Vail is different than most Colorado ski towns, in that it began as sheep grazing land. The town was named after Charlie Vail, the state highway engineer who built the first highway through the area. The mountain however, was wasn’t “discovered” until the 1950s, when 10th Mountain Division ski trooper Peter Seibert and local rancher Earl Eaton hiked to the top of the mountain with its vast open back bowls and realized it was the perfect spot for skiing. In 1952, Vail Resort opened. At the time, the town had only four houses and one telephone, and the resort had five lifts and a gondola.  As it was developed, the town was patterned after the European town of Zermatt, featuring pedestrian walkways and quaint cobble stone streets.  

Today, Vail is the biggest single ski mountain in the U.S. and welcomes thousands of visitors every year.  Within the town lie three villages, Vail Village, Gold Peak and Lionshead. Vail’s free shuttle system runs through East and West Vail, and conveniently drops locals and guests at curbside at each of the three base areas where they can access one of the many chairlifts. Summer? See our Summer section below. Lodging is around half price, days are warm with low himidity and the nights are cool. The locals will attest that summers in the valley are just as thrilling and beautiful as the winter. 

Attractions

There’s never a dull moment in Vail.  From the music festivals, Teva Mountian Games and Taste of Vail to farmer’s markets, Oktoberfest and Vail Snow Daze, there are numerous activities and events to entertain you year-long.  PRIMA, a collection of performing arts and cultural festivals that includes, the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, Vail International Dance Festival, Vail Jazz Festival, Vail Symposium and more, brings top talent to the Vail Valley June to September.  A selection of art galleries, a theater, and a concert hall will also feed your cultural side. The Nature Center is a seven-acre facility, in the heart of Vail, while the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens offers guests the chance to explore a stunning assortment of perennial beds, rock gardens and waterfalls dramatically situated high in the Rocky Mountains.  Be sure to also check out the Colorado Ski Museum-Ski & Snowboard Hall of Fame.

Dining
On the culinary front you’ll discover casual, elegant, traditional and exotic dining that range from five courses to five-minute bites,. Take your pick of cozy pubs, bistros, family-friendly eateries, fine-dining and more, where you’ll experience an electic mix of culinary temptations, including: sushi, gourmet burgers, organic meals, Captain Crunch French toast and the best omelets in town. We do have our favorites so we’ll give you a quick list. Contact us for a complete dining guide.

 

Terra Bistro in the Vail Mountain Lodge known for it’s organic approach delivering elegant creations to you table. The Alpenrose for it’s fresh German menu and fresh pasty case. The Swiss House at The Sonnenalp Hotel for the great fondue, raclette and Swiss cuisine. Sweet Basil, The Wildflower and La Tour are all top shelf to celebrate that big night on the town. Russell’s offers great steaks, The Left Bank, some magnifique’ French cuisine and Montauk Grill and Up the Creek for seafood dishes. If you find yourself in Lionshead be sure to try the Chophouse and Centre VBilly’s Island Grill and Bart and Yetis are solid options for a value meal.

 

Nightlife

The area’s nightlife features a number of hot spots as well as classic joints where you can enjoy live music, karaoke, piano bars, or party the night away! Vail’s greatest concentration of late-night haunts can be found in a 1 1/2-block stretch of Bridge Street. After a day on the slopes check out Vendetta’s, where you may just meet some of Vail’s Ski Patrollers, or for a musical adventure, stop by the Red Lion and sing along with your favorite bar tunes. Los Amigos is slopeside and has a local’s feel. The Tap Room at the top of Bridge Street is a mainstay along with The George at the bottom on Bridge Street in the Mountain Haus for after midnight drinks. Looking for the traditional Vail apres ski scene? Even if you’re a newbie, German beers at Gasthof Gramshammer’s Beer Garden in the center of the Vail universe is the way we do it! (Don’t miss the world class collection of trophies in Pepi’s trophy case located in Pepi’s Bar.)

 

Shopping
Stroll cobblestoned pedestrian zones and explore a diverse retail selection that includes hundreds of galleries, boutiques, specialty and sporting shops. You may just want to pick up an iconic Vail token such as The Golden Bear, find that perfect pair of cowboy hat or that unique trinket you won’t find anywhere else! Pick up a shopping guide when you get town and walk off the ski legs at the end of the day by cruising the shops and their window displays. Some AMH favorites are: Pepi Sports and the renown Gorsuch ski and mountain life shops in the center of the Village, Loro Piana, Luca Bruno and Valbruna for the Italian style,Kemo Sabe for him and Charm School Boutique for her, Scandia of Vail for the Scandinavian goods and Vail Boot and Shoefor the apres ski and mountain footwaer you’ll need. Lionshead? Do not miss Kenny’s Double Diamond Ski Shop, (try on some of their hats while you are there!), The North Face, Quicksilver, Patagonia and Burton should keep you busy.