You will need sunscreen! The sun's intensity is much stronger at the higher altitude level you are at. Regardless, if it's summer or winter, spring or fall. Water! Drink lots of water. It helps with coping with the altitude. Some people become nauseated, they say the water helps.
Skiing- Back Bowls, Sun Up Bowl
High Noon Lift/Lift 5 also serves Sun Up Bowl. From the front you get to Sun Up Bowl via Mountaintop Express/Lift 4 and Northwoods Express/Lift 11. This is where I really have problems with Vail's snow. It's not as bad on Sun Down, but here it really seems to get choppy, crusty and painful to ski on. Oh well. The Slot is a nice black run, as are Yonder and Yonder Gully. The bowls are so wide and open there's no shortage of places to ride, but Yonder or Yonder Gully... wide, groomed and steep- you can really cut an edge here.
Be aware that High Noon Lift/Lift 5 is a triple chair that services a lot of terrain. There are almost always long lines. Vail and the locals want to keep it this way to try to keep tourists out of the area- they won't go if there are long lines. The reason is simple- good terrain that they don't want destroyed by shredders or beginners out of their element. It's understandable. Many people ski beyond their ability levels and the effects are felt by everyone- more regulations, more rules... I'll talk about this on another tip, Skiing Your Level.
High Noon Lift/Lift 5- Triple Chair, 1857 vertical, 11 minutes, closes at 3:30 pm.
Sun Up Lift/Lift 17- Triple Chair, 1100 vertical, 8 minutes, closes at 3:30 pm.
Green run notes
Here are some comments on several of the green runs for beginners, based on my experience. I found that doing each run several times in a row was a good approach to build up confidence with the terrain.
Eagle's Nest Ridge: Probably the the easiest green run, moderate slopes only. Finishes at the gondola, which you can ride down if you aren't up to taking blue runs. Also runs into the easy practice zone at the top of Minnie's lift.
Pika: Pretty easy run, good to start on or to warm up for the day. Minnie's lift to the top is bloody slow.
The Meadows: A mid-level green run I found myself doing many times due to it's central location. Very broad first half, with a variety of gradients - look for the flatter bits when you first start. Make sure you take your foot of the brake and shoot straight downhill as soon as you pass the big tree at the bottom of the first "meadow", otherwise you will find yourself slogging up a big hill.
Lost Boy: Slightly harder green run. Most of it is easy, but it has one very steep slope (for a green run) right at the start, then another pretty steep one at the end. Some of the best views on the mountain and good slop training, I did this run several times.
Ramshorn: Nice run, easy start and slowly gets harder, but with no really steep slopes *except* a well marked blue run section in the middle. You can go around this on a short catwalk trail ... make sure to snowplough heavily down this fairly steep, narrow track or you can easily slam into the side (or off the edge). Ends in the bottom part of the Meadows.
Swingsville: Easily the hardest green run, I suspect it is only green because much of it is in a patrolled "slow zone". The slopes are as steep as the steepest on Lost Boy and probably three times longer. Save this one for after you've developed some confidence going down slopes.
"Vail Ski School"
Vail Ski School is where my kids learned how to ski. It was a fantastic experience for them and the bonus is that now they ski better than I do!!!!
No more worrying that they can't keep up with us on the slopes, now I worry that I will break something trying to keep up with them!
Vail's slopes are more narrow than Breckenridge or Aspen, but the town is absolutely gorgeous! The apres ski parties are tons of fun too!!!!
"My Brother Likes Snowboarding...."
...but then again, he has always been the "extreme sports" person in our family!!!
Jon_Nordmark's new Vail page
"Vail is Colorado's little version of a Swiss town"
Colorado has a lot of cool mountain towns. Vail is like a little Swiss village -- a lot of doctor and lawyer types go there. Steamboat is a cowboy town. Aspen is a well preserved town from the old west mining days, but it appeals to the jet set crowds. Crested Butte feels cowboyish and it appeals to the younger mountain biker crowd. Telluride is a jet set town without the glitz of Aspen.
This is kind of how Vail got started ... in 1957 two former ski troopers from the U.S. Army's 10th Mountain Division climbed a mountain above the valley and realized its potential for skiing. In January of 1961, permits were issued. In 1962 Vail Mountain opened with a gondola and three lifts. Tickets cost skiers $5.