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Vail Ski Resort Visitors Guide

Known as one of the “Best Ski Resorts in the US”, Vail is the world’s largest single mountain ski resort. You can enjoy winter sports like skiing and snowboarding, during the summer months there is hiking, camping, and the regional favorite, mountain biking.

For relaxed entertainment, visit the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheatre Vilar Pavilion & Betty Ford Alpine Gardens where you can watch and listen to a wide variety of music and shoes. The Gardens boasts more than 500 varieties of wildflowers and alpine plants. Built at 8,200 feet, these gardens are the highest public gardens in America.

At Minturn Cellars you can see the vineyards where they grow delicious grapes for their red, white, blush, and dessert wines. There are samples and tours of the winery.

Vail has several museums and art stores as well. You can see sculptures and paintings at Vail Vine Art and Gotthelf’s Gallery, exquisite jewelry at Currents or at Colorado Style Furnishings and Décor. At the Colorado Ski Museum Ski Hall of Fame, you will find more than 100 years of Colorado skiing memorabilia, photos and videos.

However, Vail is best known for its winter sports. At Beaver Cree, you will find 14 express lifts of various sizes which will take you to the 146 slopes that range in difficulty from novice to expert. There is also a snowboarding park with a half pipe.

For back country ski tours talk to the guides at Paragon Guides for the trip of your choice. They offer 3-6 day trips into the backcountry near Tenth Mountain Trail and Hut System. The Vail Nordic Center has 20 miles of cross country skiing, lessons, and snow showing available.

Other winter fun includes sleigh rides from 4 Eagle Ranch and snowmobiling through Nova Guides and Timber Ridge Adventures.

Not only does Vail offer winter fun, but there is much to do during the summer as well. For horseback riding, cattle round ups, hayrides and fishing, check into Piney River Ranch (970-476-9090). The streams and lakes are filled with rainbow, brook, brown, and cutthroat trout as well as mountain whitefish. In the Holy Cross Wilderness area, you will find over 100 miles of trails for hiking and backpacking as you discover breathtaking mountain views.

For mountain biking, first visit the Eagle’s Nest on Vail Mountain where you can rent all the necessary gear. From there it is a downhill coast to the gondola below. Other mountain biking trips include the 12 1/5 mile Lost Lake Trail along Red Sandstone.

For an exciting day on the water, talk to the guides at Colorado River Runs where you can book whitewater rafting trips in the Eagle River. The trips range from class II-IV’s for gentle trips and from IV-V’s which are extreme.

Vail has numerous ski resorts, inns and hotels to choose from. However, if you love sleeping out under the stars, check unto Sylvan Lake State Park (1-800-678-2267). You will find the two campgrounds in the 115 acre park to be a great place to relax and get back to nature. You can even go fishing and boating in the White River National Forest.