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Vail Trip Report - Short

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Spent the last week in Vail.

Important Stuff first -
Mountain and Conditions - Basically it is a intermediate-groomers-paradise. Becos of the low temps and its North facing slopes - the front side is holding snow very well. Even the moguled runs like Prima, Pronto have decent snow.
Near Highline - there was one moguled run that had foot-high shrubs all over
the place. (blue Ox - is rated a double black !!! - that's a laugh - this run would be rated a blue in Whistler). The other thing that pissed me off are the cat tracks. you end up spending a lot of time on them.

Back Bowls - Sun up, sun down, mongolia, siberia are in terrible shape - all crusted over. half of China Bowl is in decent shape. Blue sky basin is in decent shape.But the layout and size of the Back bowls are indeed impressive. Wish they had more snow.

Skied Beaver Creek one day. Found a nice little run - Osprey - it was the steepest run i skied all week. Interestingly it had the best snow.

The Village - It is pretty and it is expensive. Although spread out - it is laid out nicely. some really nice restaurants. Campo Di Fiori and Sweet basil were the nicest.

Ski School - Kids were in Lionshead ski school all week. The instructors were all great. both my kids made good progress. Thanks to Carol and Kirk.
One bad thing about Vail ski school - they don't give you a written report card at the end of the day. Every other ski school I have been to does that.
One good thing - you can cancel and get a full refund on a lesson anytime - unlike other schools that have a 48 hour cancellation notice period.

Overall impression - Huge ski resort and Expensive.
post #2 of 7
Nice report. Succint and jibes with what I know.
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
a Few other points:

1. Great Service - better than any other place I have been to. There were a number of "information" patrollers all over the mountain - giving directions, helping skiers stuck on a difficult slope, manning sniffle stations, handing out grooming maps - you name it.

2. I had heard horror stories about how crowded Vail is. I didn't see it on the mountain all of last week. I don't think i ever waited more than a couple of minutes to get on a lift. At the most there were 3 groups ahead of me. There was always a big line at the gondola at 9am. But I just took the Born Free lift instead of waiting in the line.
of course - the restaurants were crowded and we had a tough time getting reservations. I would strongly suggest making restaurant reservations before you get in to Vail.

3. Altitude - I was drinking plenty of water and had consumed Gingko biloba's for 10 days before the trip. But i suffered from Headaches and bloody nose all week long.

4. Best deal in Vail - The 3 hour Free mountain tour at 930am everyday. you get to
cut ahead using the ski school line. I took this the first day to get an overall view of the mountain. Well worth every penny I "paid" for it -
post #4 of 7

Hey Marty-

Hi Marty- I'm glad your overall impression of your visit to Vail was a positive one. For some of your more specific points (ie- written report cards for kids ski school) please direct those to Dee Byrne, Ski and Snowboard School Manager. The corporate address is PO Box 7, Vail, CO 81658.

I'm sorrry you didn't come by and introduce yourself. I'm based in LH. I might have either had the time to take a few runs with you, or at least shown you how to get around the mtn without having to use the catwalks.

This is a problem with such a large mtn. The trail maps (the easiest way to get lost) do not give a 3 dimensional representation. Therefore our guests end up spending an inordinate amount of time on catwalks, while moving from one zone to another. But if a skier is at least a L7 (strong intermediate/low advanced) skier, you can get all over the mtn using a minimum of roads. But be aware- the Mtn Tour guides are required to remain on only blue and green terrain. They are not instrs, just volunteers, working off their season passes! Therefore- they are not capable of showing the best routes around the mtn. (Most of them are incapable of skiing those routes!)

This is one of the greatest benefits a ski pro can offer to a new guest at any large mtn. The insiders view of how to get around, as well as an insiders knowledge of where the snow might be the best at any given time.

If I were to ever go to a new large mtn that I was unfamiliar with, I would certainly avail myself of a local with the knowledge and skills to give me the best that mtn has to offer!
post #5 of 7
Vail Snopro,
Thanks for the info about the shortcuts! Those endless cattracks drove me crazy the only day I could explore the bowls a few years ago. I hope to be able to improve my impression of Vail some time this season when I come to use my Heavenly pass bonus days. It was fun skiing a day last week with a bear at Heavenly. Hope we can make a few turns together. My Metrons B5 have worked very well at ParkCity and Heavenly and should withstand Vail.

A fellow ohio(any mountains?)pro.
post #6 of 7
Gee ,the cat tracks that I think of are from Patrol Center(top of the Mid Vail Express) over to lift 17 but you can ski the Slot and ski right to the bottom of 17 I believe. You have the cat track from Two Elk over to Poppy Fields , but you can ski down Ghengis and not have to do that.

I've never felt the cat tracks to be much of an issue at Vail.
post #7 of 7
Having been in Vail 11-18 Dec I would concur with most of what Marty said, but we had 6 inches of new snow the tue/Wed I was there and conditions were a little better. Although we got a phenominal web special that was only $725 for 6 nights/6 days skiing for 2 people one hundred yards from the Lionshead Gondola I will probably not return. A special hats off to the ski school however as the wife spent 2 days with them and had an absolute blast with the instructors and group she was with. In the future we'll probably stick to Tahoe and Utah with the occasional Big Sky/Moonlight Basin trip thrown in.
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