FREE? VAIL? hahahahahahah
Somehow, those two words just don't seem to fit together in the same sentence....
But, believe it or not, if you want to get up at the crack of dawn (or earlier) there are a couple of places...
There is a small little parking area on the Nth Frontage Rd, holds about 20 vehicles, a few hundred yards west of the pedestrian overbridge. It is the parking for a small park. But it is well known and fills early.
Another free place is the City Market/ Safeway lot (West Vail, Nth Frontage Rd), and then catch the town shuttle to the transportation center at the base of Bridge Street. The bus is (shudder) FREE!
If you are coming in from the East, park next to the Interstate at the East Vail exit. There is a lot there, and it has a bus stop right there too. It's right next to the interchange on the Sth side of the freeway.
Otherwise, plan on paying... The town parking structures are $$, and the fee if you get towed for parking someplace you shouldn't is $$$!