Maybe my Vail trip report will be helpful :
Conditions are usually much better then what you got by the way .
I only hit Sun Up, Tea Cup, China, and Game Creek on the front. There might have been a couple of the lower sections of Tea Cup Bowl roped off but maybe that was just to get folks through the open gates. Other than that, everything seemed to be open and a couple of my friends did a lot of Sun Down bowl too. I don't think any of us made it to Siberia or further east.
You cant burst my bubble. Last Saturday I spent the day ice skating down Hunter Mt's 160 acres in below zero temps with long lift lines all day long and still had a great time. The shittiest day at Vail will be better than anything I've probably ever experienced here. Hopefully the weather situation will turn around in the next couple of weeks but if it doesnt well shit, its still alot better than being in Jersey!
A lot of the advice in this thread comes from folks located thousands of miles from here. First, O2 does nothing to either prevent or treat standard acute mountain sickness, though AMS is fairly unlikely at Vail's elevation; HAPE/HACE is a different matter, though the chance of that at Vail is almost nil. Second, according to two friends who skied Vail on Saturday, conditions are very good, though not powder; snow is predicted for the next two days, but with limited accumulation. Third, I'd leave both those pairs of old skis at home, bring your boots, and rent/demo, more modern, wider skis, changing them out to suit conditions at the time. Most folks hereabouts ski 98 cm underfoot or wider as their everyday rides. I use Rossi88s as my teaching skis, because with students I do a lot of skiing backwards, herringboning back uphill., etc., but I free-ski 98 or wider, depending on conditions.
Have a great trip!
There has been some very good advice in this thread. I am from Northwest Indiana and I worked full time a Breck in the past and I am part time now, while I still live in Indiana. I teach skiing and I can tell you the worst thing is when people spend lots of $$$ to come skiing and the altitude sickness kicks them in chest/head/gut. If you are there and start feeling light headed, dizzy, nauseated or short of breath STOP skiing and take a break drinking lots of water.
Issues with altitude are very common. Some good advice has been given. Seeing as you have stated you have had previous issues with altitude I recommend letting your doctor know you will be sleeping at about 8,000' in elevation and skiing between 8,000' to about 11,000' in elevation. If the doctor is willing to give a perscription to help deal with the elevation, it could save your trip. When my wife comes out to Breck she uses Diamox (starts taking it two days before arrival and uses it the first two days there) and she has never had a problem. It's is not expensive. As previously stated Diamox dries you out (I'm guessing most of the altitude meds will) so make sure to drink plenty of fluids (non-alcoholic at least the first day). My experience has been unless your altitude sickness is pretty bad they prefer to not administor o2 (or at least keep it to a minimum). The way it was explained to me is your body is trying to adjust to the lower air pressure (thus lower o2 absorption), if your body is given a big dose of o2 it stops acclimating to the lower air pressure. Once the o2 is taken away your body has to start the acclimation process again.
Every rental unit and every bedroom in rental condos should have a humidifier. Use it. If there is not one in your unit/bedroom call the front desk and ask for one. If they say they don't have any available tell them that's fine you will leave a pot of water on the stove with the stove on all the time or you will let the hot shower run. They will get you a humidifier. Using the humidifier will help you sleep much better and will prevent bloody noses from the dry air.
As for your skis, the smaller waisted ones will be more versatile for you (my everyday skis have a 80mm waist). If you get a snowfall of more than 5"-6" inches you can rent fatter skis for the day.
When skiing Vail for the first time make sure you note what base area you start at and need to end up at at the end of your day. Vail has three base areas Vail Village, Lions Head and Golden Peak. There are buses that run between them, but it is best just to make sure you finish skiing where you want to end the day.
Skiing Vail for the first time and wanting to experience the back bowls I suggest be careful/cautious the first day until you get comfortable with the elevation and the size of Vail (make sure you ALWAYS have a trail map with you, it is very easy to get lost at Vail and end up miles - yes miles - from where you want to be at the end of the day). On your first day, I would recommend going to China Bowl and skiing the groomed run down the middle of the bowl. I believe it is named Poppy Fields. Stop and look around from the top, middle and bottom of China Bowl. It will give you a good perspective on just how big Vail and the back bowls are. If it is early enough in the day when you do this you can continue from the bottom of China Bowl to Blue Sky Basin. In Blue Sky Basin go to the blue trail named Grand Review. You have to take the Skyline Express chair up to Blue Sky Basin and ski down to Pete's Express chair and ride it up to get to Grand Review. From the top of the Skyline chair take Cloud 9 trail to Big Rock Park trail for the easiest route Pete's chair (these trails are also quite fun with Big Rock Park being a natural gully with all kinds of natural features to play on). The Grand Review trail has that name for a reason, make sure to stop and take in the scenery once you get there. Keep track of what time it is in the afternoon, it can easily take an hour plus to get from where you are to where you need to be at the end of the day. Also be aware of your energy levels, you do not want to end up completely exhausted at one end of the resort and have to ski for another hour or more to get where you need to go.
If you want a long blue cruiser I always like Born Free on the front side early in the day before it is tracked up after having been groomed (Bwana and Simba can be good, too). Born Free is a long blue run that goes all the way back to the base (Lionshead). Blue Ox, Highline and Roger's are some good black/double blacks on the front side. They are usually bumped up, but they do groom Blue Ox at times. If you do get a powder day while you are there, I really enjoy Champagne Glades in Blue Sky Basin. It usually is not real crowded and it is widely spaces trees with a decent pitch so you can keep moving in the powder.
Have fun and be safe!
Only a few more days before Vail! Very excited.
I've been looking for a break on lift tickets but I've found zilch. Looks like im going to be paying $405 for 3 days of skiing. Should I just pull the trigger or is there a way of getting cheaper tickets somewhere in CO?
Yeah 405 bucks for 3 days seems crazy. I personally dont know anyone with a season pass there. Is the buddy discount decent? If you could be so kind to help me out I'd gladly compensate you with some beer!
Vail guarantees that their advance purchased price is the lowest you'll find - so it's unlikely you'd find any other discounts. And if they're publicly available, Vail will match them. (And I think they might go up as you get close to the dates you buy them for - when I bought mine, it looked like the price started going up a couple of weeks ahead of the purchase date. They want you to buy early.)
Getting a buddy pass instead would be great.