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Expert Terrain at Vail

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
My wife and I are travelling to Vail for a week in February and wanted some advice on the best steep/expert terrain at Vail. We like to ski steep and narrow (no cliffs please). Great tree and bump runs are always appreciated. We have skied most of the obvious terrain like the back bowls, but still find the place lacking gnarly steeps like in Jackson Hole.

Any suggestions?
post #2 of 26
I have had the same experience at Vail, but hopefully that will change with my recent move to Summit county as I have been assured by many that know the resort much better than me that steeper terrain exists.

Try searching (Miniturn mile?) or ask me again in January.
post #3 of 26
Unfortunately you are not going to find much in the way of steep terrain...we don't have any terrain that compares JH. Yeah, we've got runs with steep sections...those sections aren't much in the way of vert.
post #4 of 26
Look up one of the Mt Ambassador's. I'm sure if you call the main number, tell them what your looking, you should be able to set up a tour with one of them.

They used to leave Lions Head at 9:30 AM. That was one of the best day's ever...
post #5 of 26
Possibly take a poke into the East Vail Chutes
post #6 of 26

Try Hairbag

As much as anyone would want
Iron mask is steep but short

All the trees in BSB are great fun, Nothing wrong with Over Yonder Just keep going.

Vail is Fun

CalG
post #7 of 26
vail is flat! prob won't find what you are looking for. take a day trip to Aspen
post #8 of 26
This is the problem I have always had with Vail. The mountain is way too big, and I can never find any real steeps. Sure there are some great runs, but at places like Snowmass and Highlands I have faired much better in that regard.
post #9 of 26
True, there is nothing really that steep at Vail. But they do have some good runs. PPL - Prima,Pronto, Log Chute and Highline are nice bump runs. I have a couple of hundred days at Vail and I probably spent 80% of the time in the old back bowls. They really need to update chair 5!
post #10 of 26
Drive 20 minutes to Beaver Creek. Steeper terrain there.

That being said, there are some places with more exposure at Vail, but you need a local or a guide to find it. Also, unless you really know what you are doing, have avy gear, and have someone to guide you, forget the East Vail Chutes. Several people are killed there most seasons, but it is reputedly quite steep (and prone to slide).

There's not much terrain in Colorado similar to JH. You can catch the Lake Chutes at Breck (as steep as anything I skied at JH, but shorter), E chair at Breck for bump/tree skiing, hike the North Pole at A Basin, ski the Pali chair or north side of Montezuma bowl at A Basin, hike Highlands Bowl at Highlands, ski the Hanging Valley at Snowmass, etc. But, in general, you will not find the variety, length, and pucker power of the terrain at JH (or Snowbird, for that matter).

Mike

Mike
post #11 of 26
From what I've heard Vail is probably the last place on Colorado I'd ski. I've skied Breck-several times, Highlands, Smowmass, Buttermlk, and Purgatory. Next trip to Co Steamboat and Copper/Mary Jane will be top of the list. Enjoyed Highlands and Breck the best so far. Also Taos in NM is quite cool.

But, from here in NC VAIL looks AWESOME! If I lived on CO and it wa the closest place I'm sure I'd be quite alright with it most of the time assuming it there are parts of it that aren't too crowded i.e. the steeper areas. If you want extreme, like previous posts mention, there are the chutes.. just be careful what you ask for..
post #12 of 26
How about as you're riding the Vista Bahn through the trees ; Been There Done That( I never have) Going up the spine to the top of Blue Sky Basin, the cliffs off to the left, looks plenty steep.

Me I got laughed at last year saying I thought Ghangis was steep at the top!
post #13 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by dmahr View Post
My wife and I are travelling to Vail for a week in February and wanted some advice on the best steep/expert terrain at Vail. We like to ski steep and narrow (no cliffs please). Great tree and bump runs are always appreciated. We have skied most of the obvious terrain like the back bowls, but still find the place lacking gnarly steeps like in Jackson Hole.

Any suggestions?
Dmahr, PM Uncle Louie. He did a "how to get around Vail" guide a while ago and I think still has it. He's been swamped with building our house but just the other day was talking about posting it somewhere on Epic to help out folks like you. UL knows Vail pretty well and can probably help you find the terrain you're looking to ski. And I agree with Cal, Vail is fun!
post #14 of 26
FWIW - steep runs at Fail are like great surfing in Texas. There is no such thing.



Aspen Highlands. A-Basin?(dunno - never been there)
post #15 of 26
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for your posts. We've skied most of the other resorts, but my wife is intent on skiing wide open spaces during the day and hanging out with some friends of hers we are travelling with at night. FWIW - Chair lift E in Breck is a favorite and so is Palavachini in A-basin. Most of Highlands and AJAX is awesome too. I just get so bored unless my adrenaline is flowing. BTW, I have skied the trees under Vista Bahn and they are awesome. This is the type of terrain I like. If I could only get my friends to go to Telluride.....
post #16 of 26
Its 20 minutes to the Beav. Head there, and you will be happier. And you can hook up with the spouse afterwards.

Mike
post #17 of 26
I'm always amused by the folks who dis Vail as being "flat". Prima Cornice is flat? As they say, you don't know what you don't know. There are more than a few other real steeps, none marked on the trail maps. Not to mention the really rad stuff that you certainly won't be shown by the Ski Ambassadors.
post #18 of 26
But that's the problem, Raspritz. Unless you know where it is, you are going to find it only by chance, or if a local shows you.

Mike
post #19 of 26
The good thing about Vail is that you can see a lot from the chairs. Pretty much if you can see it you can ski it. It's there.
post #20 of 26
You will not find a much better bump run chair than Highlands. One of the three runs always has big bumps and one is almost always good for some high speed cruising. The west side of the back bowls also has some steeper lines. Take a few laps there and you may be ready to ski with your friends.
I find part of the problem at Vail is it is so wide that I'll look at the trail map and think, "I'd like to ski there" and two chairs and a long cat walk later I finally get to where I wanted to go and missed an hour skiing to get there! You can waste a lot of time working your way back and forth across the mountain.
My #1 rule at Vail is stay away from crowds. There are lifts without crowds. They usually serve the steeper runs. Watch the lights - avoid the crowds and you'll have a good trip.
post #21 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by habacomike View Post
There's not much terrain in Colorado similar to JH. You can catch the Lake Chutes at Breck (as steep as anything I skied at JH, but shorter), E chair at Breck for bump/tree skiing, hike the North Pole at A Basin, ski the Pali chair or north side of Montezuma bowl at A Basin, hike Highlands Bowl at Highlands, ski the Hanging Valley at Snowmass, etc. But, in general, you will not find the variety, length, and pucker power of the terrain at JH (or Snowbird, for that matter).
Mike
You clearly have no idea what you're talking about. Have you ever been to Crested Butte, Telluride, or Silverton? I'm guessing not.
post #22 of 26
In fact I have. Have you been to JH or Snowbird?

Mike
post #23 of 26
Yes, I have. If you don't think the terrain at CB and/or Silverton compares to Snowbird, you're not skiing the right places. I'll give you that JH is in a league of its own, but CB and Silverton is pretty damn close.
post #24 of 26
Granted, there is some steep terrain at Silverton and CB. However, Silverton is all hike to terrain -- not really apples to apples, is it? Unless we are going to include Cody Peak, Rock Springs and Green River Bowls, and Granite Canyon. And including that terrain, neither Silverton or CB is in the same league as Jackson.

Mike
post #25 of 26
Can you find your nugget of value out of the immense terrain of Vail in such a hit or miss method as comparing post responses here? While you appear as an accomplished skier unfortunately I think you and your wife will invariably spend more time figuring out the trail map “cliff notes” complied from the many suggestions offered --that is once you filter out the “my mountain is tougher than your mountain” nonsense.

I would also offer that coming into Vail looking for a “JH like” steep experience only sets one up for disappointment. You can’t find JH at Vail. I certainly haven’t. But you can find some uniquely awesome turns offered at Vail if you’re willing to change expectations a bit.

The only way to efficiently hone in on those spots you would more highly value is the good fortune having a friend who knows a local ex-racer or big mountain skiing type that calls Vail valley home and can hook you up with their posse. Hanging on the wheel of those folks will change your perspective of Vail quickly and only costs you a lunch or a couple of mid mountain cups o’ mud.

However, without a good friend to hook you up; schedule a Vail mountain pro that suits your profile and gladly fork over some cash to jump a line or two in route to a much better experience in a short period of time. Ask to ski the circuit they do on a free ski…and tip well for that roadmap.

Finally, there are many Bears who know the mountain pretty well. Throw out a meeting date & location on the community “getting together” forum you’ll find some excellent guides to ski with…provided you and wife don’t mind the danger of meeting strange bears in the woods
post #26 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by DonDenver View Post

Finally, there are many Bears who know the mountain pretty well. Throw out a meeting date & location on the community “getting together” forum you’ll find some excellent guides to ski with…provided you and wife don’t mind the danger of meeting strange bears in the woods
Amen to that !
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