10 Great Reasons to Visit Vail, Colorado with Your Family
If you ask any member of our family about our favorite ski destination, we will tell you without hesitation, it’s Vail, Colorado. We are not ski fanatics, but we do enjoy skiing and over the years have tried a number of different ski resorts across North America. In the end, we always return to Vail.
I guess if the place is good enough for Lyndsey Vonn, the best female skier in the world, who lives and trains in Vail, then it’s good enough for us. Lyndsey probably has a list of her reasons, but here is why our family thinks Vail has earned the right to call itself a mountain resort “like nothing on earth.”
1. Incredible Ski Terrain for All Levels
With 5,200+ acres of ski terrain, Vail is one of the largest ski resorts in the world. Its longest run Riva Ridge is four miles in length, and its seven back bowls and the wide open Blue Sky Basin for intermediate and advanced skiers are legendary. Equally impressive are the number and diversity of easy or beginner trails scattered throughout the mountain and the total number of lifts, 31 to be exact. Add some moguls, the EpicMix racing area, and three terrain parks for all levels with pro-style features as well as beginner and kid-sized jumps, boxes and rails, and you’ve got one incredible ski and snowboard playground. And, I’m not even telling you everything!
2. Plenty of Snow and Sunshine
Vail resort is open from November through April and boasts an average annual snowfall of 353 inches. Those are some amazing snow conditions. In the event Mother Nature does not cooperate, which occasionally happens to every ski resort, the giant snow guns scattered throughout the mountain are ready to make up for it at any time. I’d also like to point out that Vail has 300 days of sunshine per year. Because what is better than plenty of snow when you are skiing? You got it…plenty of snow AND sunshine!
3. Perfect Grooming
Despite its impressive size, you will find the most groomed ski terrain on the planet here. Over the course of a normal week, Vail Mountain grooms more than 100 different trails, laying fresh corduroy all across the vast resort terrain. I am seriously impressed each time we ski there. It is clear that a lot of people work very hard late at night or early in the morning so the crowds can ski on the most fun and safe slopes possible. Latest grooming updates are always available at all gondolas and lift chairs, as well as Vail.com and their mobile app (something I definitely recommend you download).
4. Incredibly Family Friendly
My husband and I fell in love with Vail well before we had children, but now as parents, we actually love it even more. My Mom radar, which always scans for family friendliness when we book our vacations, is happily beeping in Vail. From trails and access to chairlifts designed with kids in mind, to menu choices and abundant activities planned to delight Vail’s youngest guests, the resort’s pro-kid attitude is easy to spot immediately and everywhere.
5. Outstanding Ski School
Vail Ski and Snowboard School, located in two places, Lionshead and Golden Peak, in case you have a preference for one side of the mountain over the other, offers private, small-group and group lessons for kids and adults of all levels and abilities. The experienced and friendly staff has a true passion for ensuring that you and your kids will have the best time on the slopes. Each of our family members has taken lessons in the past and we all loved it!
6. Much More than Skiing
Looking for things to do in Vail with kids other than skiing? Vail resort is ready to deliver. On the mountain, try cross country skiing, snowshoeing, snow tubing, ski biking, or kid’s snowmobiling. In the valley, the options for fun activities multiply: from ice-skating on one of the two beautiful open-air rinks within steps of the slopes, dine-in movie theater or some of the most chic bowling I have ever done (with some amazing food to boot) to guided snowmobiling tours or musher dog sledding in the wilderness a few miles outside of town. The possibilities are endless.
7. World Class Restaurants On and Off the Mountain
Our family is passionate about good food and Vail always makes us happy. The mountain offers a great range of tasty casual restaurants. The buffalo chili at Two Elk Lodge is worth the trek and Sarge’s outdoor BBQ at the terrace level in Mid-Vail will have you licking your fingers.
There is also memorable fine dining. At The 10th in the heart of Vail Mountain, you can enjoy spectacular views and fine contemporary alpine cuisine for lunch after you remove your ski boots and step into cozy slippers provided by the restaurant’s hosts. After an exhilarating day on the slopes, relax at Bistro 14 while you watch the sun go down over the the western mountains. For a truly memorable experience, Game Creek restaurant offers five-star dining, but the real kicker is that this chalet is only accessible by a Snowcat which will bring you to its doors, wrapped in cozy blankets provided to all guests. Can you say fun? And romantic?
In the village, the list of options for either casual comfort food or world class dining goes on and on. We never tire of Campo dei Fiori, serving delicious Italian fare and eclectic Blu’s, which has a long, but unpretentious history. During our most recent trip we discovered Mountain Standard, which is definitely worth a return visit. I can’t forget Rimini, our favorite gelato place located in Lionshead and a great après-ski pick-me up. Who says it has to be hot chocolate all the time?
Happily exhausted from the slopes, our family is usually asleep by 9 pm, but if you are looking for night life, Vail won’t disappoint. Start with a swanky cocktail at Frost Bar, then enjoy some live music at Red Lion and finally, dance the night away at the Shakedown Bar. If you do all this after you have skied or shredded all day, I have serious admiration for your stamina!
8. The Picturesque Town
Cozy, with no car traffic and resembling villages in Bavaria or perhaps Switzerland, Vail Village is very picturesque and highly enjoyable to explore after a day on the slopes or on your day off from skiing. With lively Gore Creek weaving through its center, the town, big on art, is filled with sculptures and art galleries of all kinds, quaint cafés, restaurants, shops and more.
9. Friendly People
Everybody in Vail seems to be big on customer satisfaction. Gondola and chair lift operators, ski school instructors, ski equipment rental places, free-shuttle drivers, restaurant wait staff and shop employees are all super friendly while having just the right amount of that laid back attitude. It makes you appreciate the place even more and smile even bigger.
10. Captivating History
This last reason might not directly influence how you feel on the mountain, but it does add another layer to our appreciation for Vail. Founded by World War II veteran Pete Seibert, today’s world famous Vail came into existence in 1962 with just six buildings, a gondola, four chairlifts and 15 ski runs.
Few know that the mountains surrounding Vail served as a training ground for the famed Soldiers on Skis. In 1945 the 10th Mountain Division went to Italy and fought a battle that helped destroy Germany’s strong hold on Europe and ultimately, liberated Italy.
A great place to learn all of this and plenty more is the Colorado Ski & Snowboard Museum and Hall of Fame, free of charge and located in the Vail village at the top of the Transportation Center. Its six themed galleries display artifacts, narratives and film documentaries that entertain and educate visitors of all ages. Interesting speakers and guided tours are available several days each week. It’s certainly worth a visit!
You can explore Vail from several hotels in the Hilton portfolio from nearby Silverthorne and Breckenridge.
You may also enjoy:
- Tips For Successful Family Ski Vacations
- Ski In Colorado And Utah For Free
- Mom’s Favorite Activities in Breckenridge, Colorado
- Fun Things to Do in Breckenridge, Colorado (besides skiing!)
Hilton Mom Voyage writers receive free night certificates to use at Hilton Hotels & Resorts worldwide. To learn more, visit our About Us page.
A native of Slovenia, Vera moved to the U.S. 20+ years ago after meeting her American husband. Together with their two children they live on the North…