Vail, Colorado

Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr

Miles Junkie is supported by you, our readers, and this article may have references to products from one or more of our advertising partners. When you click on links to products we may receive compensation. For a more in-depth explanation visit our Advertising Policy.

Vail, Colorado or what my bother calls the ‘Disney World’ of winter sports. This place is something I have never seen before and to be honest, is a little overwhelming. I have not been to the Swiss Alps, but from the pictures I have seen, the town of Vail mimics Swiss architecture with a modern 60’s twist. Vail is expensive, but if you are willing to cough up the dough, it does not disappoint. As an avid snowboarder, I was excited to checkout some of the most famous ski runs in the country, and of course the legendary back bowls. This article takes a closer look at the town of Vail and Vail Ski Resort.

The Town

Vail Village
Vail Village – Photo Tal-ee Roberts

Downtown Vail has an impressive selection of bars, restaurants, art galleries, jewelry stores and gift shops. The downtown area is mostly car free and the Vail Transit system operates year-round and provides free bus transportation services throughout the town of Vail. The streets in Vail are heated so no worries about wandering around the town in a foot of snow.

I highly recommend making dinner reservations if you are planning to eat out. My brother and I arrived on a Sunday (non-holiday) evening and every restaurant had a 1-2 hour wait! I couldn’t believe it and due to my stubbornness and hunger we walked to multiple establishments until we found a table at the Swiss Chalet Restaurant. This restaurant, known for its delicious and authentic Swiss cuisine, specializes in meat and cheese fondues as well as traditional raclette. And don’t forget try out the traditional Wiener schnitzel, it was fantastic. Other restaurants we visited, and I highly recommend, were the Fall Line (the rack of lamb was out of this world), the Slope Room — where the Grand Teton Lamb Ragú was impressive — and the Red Lion which is as close as you can get to a ‘normal’ bar in Vail, and where we ate lunch twice.

Swiss Chalet: Photo Travis Furnari
Swiss Chalet: Photo Travis Furnari


When I go on ski vacations, a good hardy breakfast is essential before I hit the slopes. While there are plenty of options for lunch and dinner in Vail, finding a good breakfast spot was somewhat of a challenge. Vail does have a bunch of coffee shops with bagels or premade breakfast burritos, but what we were really looking for was a traditional, and filling breakfast. Luckily we stumbled upon The Little Diner. This place is small, but packs a big punch with oversized portions at an affordable price. My brother tackled the breakfast burrito, which looked delicious, and I couldn’t help but order the Huevos Rancheros, which were amazing.

The Little Diner in Vail, Lionshead Village
The Little Diner in Vail, Lionshead Village. Photo Tal-ee Robets

Skiing Vail

The sheer size of Vail Ski Resort is impressive. It doesn’t offer quite as much vertical as Revelstoke, BC but boasts an abundance of skiable terrain and a huge number of skiable acres. The resort has a vertical drop of 3,450 feet and features 5,317 skiable acres, providing endless opportunities for skiers and snowboarders of all levels.

Unfortunately, like a number of ski resorts in Colorado, Vail can be extremely busy, causing monster lift lines. I can’t stand lift lines, and often find myself complaining if I am waiting even five minutes in one. Fortunately, Vail does a great job moving skiers with 34 lifts — all but one of them are high speed. The front side of the mountain offers a large selection of wide, groomed runs to help warm up the legs as well as an impressive number of green runs for the kids.

The back side, better known as the ‘Legendary Back Bowls,’ are loads of fun and I can’t recommend checking them out highly enough. There are steep sections, however I was surprised at how skier friendly the back bowls could be. The vertical is nothing an intermediate skier can’t handle. If you are wanting a little more challenge to your runs, check out Blue Sky Basin. The famous ‘Lovers Leap’ definitely got my heart pumping when peering over the cornice.

Even though we skied non-holiday weekdays (Tuesday through Thursday) the resort was busier than I expected. The downside to this resort is that skiers are often funneled into choke points which can become a challenging game of dodging people trying to make it to, or past, the same lifts. Overall, Vail Ski Resort was a blast, but be careful to book your trip during less busy times of the season to avoid insane lift lines and packed runs.

Vail's legendary back bowls entrance
Vail’s legendary back bowls entrance. Photo Tal-ee Roberts


Vail, Colorado is a beautiful and luxurious town with plenty on offer for throngs of wealthy tourists. Vail Ski Resort is the biggest attraction in town, providing world-class skiing and snowboarding opportunities. With this luxury comes a price — Vail is awfully expensive, from accommodations to meals and lift tickets. But don’t let that deter you from visiting, as the stunning mountain views and charming atmosphere are truly worth it. Side note — save money by purchasing one of the many flavors of Epic passes that include Vail prior to the season you’ll be visiting.

The town also hosts various events throughout the year including music festivals, outdoor markets, as well as food and wine tastings. This adds to Vail’s vibrant atmosphere and gives visitors even more reason to keep coming back. That said, if you are looking for a more affordable ski vacation with excellent mountain town vibes and ski runs, I recommend checking out Whitefish, Montana or Durango, Colorado.

Typical Vail skiers in ‘flashy’ outfits. Photo Tal-ee Roberts

Editorial Note: Information and opinions articulated in this article are solely those of the author’s, not those of a credit card company, bank, airline or hotel chain. This article has not been reviewed or approved by or otherwise endorsed by any of these companies or organizations.

Travis is a Senior Editor at Miles Junkie. An avid outdoorsman, you'll see him shredding the slopes of Colorado in the winter and cutting rounds to heat his home in the national forests during the summer. He lives with his wife and three dogs in southwest Colorado.

Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x