A Town Made out of Lead
Leadville is only 35 miles south of Vail and worth a trip back to see what is looked like in the old times. Currently, though some of the attraction is to bring in tourists, and that changes the complexity of things. I was first here in 1985 and it was more reserved and interesting than what it has evolved into today. The pictures from back then are not any longer found, so the brochure is closest I could present this still suggesting a trip is worth the effort.
The town started when gold was found in 1860 and it got overrun by 8,000 seekers of fortune. It had a peek population of 30,000 at one time. There are 70 blocks of historic buildings on the register. It now is down to about 2,500 residents and the mines are under EPA control for the lead that is exudes
Skiing- Blue Sky Basin, Pete's Bowl
Pete's Bowl is the main attraction for Blue Sky Basin goers. From the cornices under Skyline Express/Lift 37 where you jump into Lover's Leap, Iron Mask and Little Ollie (all blacks) to the cliffs of Steep and Deep and Skree Field (also blacks), all runs drop into Big Rock Park, a wide blue that is divided as it meanders through clumps of trees, also accessible via Cloud 9 (blue). Big Rock Park is a lot of fun. Be careful (and stay right) as the trail can take you down a narrow and often icy/rocky gully toward the end. You can take Pete's Express/Lift 39 up for more on the other side of the bowl, or continue along the catwalk, following signs to Skyline Express/Lift 37 to get back up to the top again. If you want to return to the back bowls and the front side, follow signs to Chair 21 (Orient Express Lift/China Bowl) along China Spur and Silk Road (both blue catwalks).
Belle's Camp, with an elevation of 11,480 feet (or 3499 meters) doesn't offer much more than a warming hut, ski patrol and excellent views of the mountains beyond. It's one of my favorite places on the mountain- feeling at least slightly remote.
I believe you can get back to Skyline Express/Lift 37 from Orient Express/Lift 21. You can also get to the back bowls and the front side via Tea Cup Express/Lift 36, which sits right at the base of Skyline.
Under Skyline Express are The Divide and Encore, two blacks that are typically covered in moguls, but have good snow among the widely-spaced trees.
Skyline Express Lift/Lift 37- High Speed Quad, 1924 vertical, 7.69 minutes, closes at 3:00 pm.
Pete's Express Lift/Lift 39- High Speed Quad, 1581.99 vertical, 6 minutes, closes at 2:45 pm.
Orient Express Lift/Lift 21- High Speed QUad, 1565 vertical, 7.7 minutes, closes at 3:30 pm.
Tea Cup Express Lift/Lift 36- High Speed Quad, 1666 vertical, 6.1 minutes, closes at 3:30 pm.
Colorado Ski Museum
This is right in the middle of Vail Village, on the top section by the visitor center. It is short and brief, and the ultimate goal is to shop for a souvenir, or take home keepsake. They do have some old skis and show the layout of the mountain in the old days. The museum shows the history of skiing being a key attribute for the population of Colorado and this area for commerce and mail service initially. Later it evolved into a ski resort area form a train coming through here.
My work at the moment brings me to such wonderful destinations as Vail, Scottsdale and Naples Florida. Here I have the wonderful task of arranging meetings for executives, scheduling their golf and spa treatments. Of course, I have to try them out as well.
My first of these conferences was in Vail. My co-worker, who lives in Denver picked the location as she spends many weekends in Vail.
Summer in Vail
"Playground for the Rich"
View of the visitor's center. This is where the Ski Museum, parking, restrooms and information desks are.
Ever wonder what to do with your old skiis? Why not make a chair?
Looking for a good get-a-way for the weekend? This is the Wildflower Inn in Vail.
If you look closely you can see a lot of the ski runs on Vail Mtn.
Vail's famous covered bridge.
This is what Vail Village looks like in the winter with a coat of snow. This picture from a postcard!
Since you can't drive your car through the village, Vail has a very convenient bus service.
Bikes are popular in Vail. There is a very long bike path that runs along I-70 and there are many bike trails through the mountains around Vail. You can take one of the gondolas up the mountain and ride down. It's a lot of fun.