The Avanti Lift, Lift 2, serves some good intermediate terrain, as well as some so-called "expert" runs. From the top of the lift (or you can access Avanti from the top of Game Creek/Lift 7 or Wildwood Express/Lift 3 via Eagle's Nest Catwalk) numerous runs, green to black. Avanti (blue-black), and Pickeroon (blue-black) are good runs here, usually groomed enough for practicing form. You can access Mid-Vail, Wildwood Express/Lift 3 and Mountaintop Express/Lift 4 via Mid-Vail Express (blue), or Overeasy (green). From the top of Avanti, you can take The Meadows, a nice green that gets a bit more difficult near the end, or Look Ma, a steep black that's usually full of moguls and devoid of people. If you like black runs, Look Ma is short, but pretty nice. Watch out for rocks.
Avanti Express Lift/Lift 2 also serves the Black Forest Nastar Public Racing course.
To get to the base of Vista Bahn/Lift 16 and to Vail Village, take Giant Steps if you like expert pitches. I like it better than International, another black that parallels it. If you want an easy way down, Gitalong Road is a green catwalk that crosses back and forth over Bear Tree, an easy blue. You can split off toward Lionshead via the Lionshead Catwalk.
Avanti Lift/Lift 2- High Speed Quad, 1465 vertical, 7 minutes, closes at 4:00 pm.
Game Creek Bowl is a nice, intermediate area that offers some less cared-for terrain as well. As you look down the slope, to your right, accessed via Eagle's Nest Catwalk, are Deuces Wild, Faro, Ouzo and Ouzo Glade, expert slopes not so much because they are steep, but because they are either in the trees (well-spaced trees) or in terrain that is less prepared. Straight ahead of you are Showboat, a wide blue, and a branch of Wild Card, a black. They are essentially the same, wide run, Wild Card just has some nice moguls, while Showboat is typically groomed and easy. The blacks, Deuces Wild, Faro, Ouzo and Ouzo Glade can have a decent amount of powder- they aren't typically run by most people on Game Creek, unless there has just been a lot of snowfall.
To your left, down the catwalk are more blue runs, The Woods, Baccarat and Dealer's Choice, as well as a green, Lost Boy, if you go all the way around. From the top of Lost Boy, you can access the other blues here. It's an easy ballpark (smooth, groomed) run. Dealer's Choice, Baccarat and sometimes The Woods have moguls, and are not usually groomed.
The only way out is Game Creek Lift, Lift 7, which rises 1180 feet, takes four minutes and closes at 3:30pm.
Cycling is big in Vail, and for those who prefer road riding and don't mind hills, Vail Pass is an excellent ride. Start off in town and take Frontage Road or hit the golf course trail. Both will spit you out at the end of Vail, where you'll go under I-70 and begin to climb. The road dead-ends for cars, but for bikes and pedestrians, it continues up, up and up. You need to be in reasonable shape for this ride, and I'd recommend a bike with more than ten gears. You can turn around when the road ends, or continue on to Copper Mountain, Dillion and beyond on the trail that follows I-70.
Check your brakes before the descent!
Ski season in Vail usually begins in late November. Although an official opening day is scheduled, this date is subject to change depending on how much snow the area receives. Vail Mountain and its surrounding ski destinations opened on time for the 2003 season as snow fall had been good that year. The night before, ice and snow built up, creating patches of snow on the ground and on balconies. The next day, the first snowstorm of the season arrived, in a rain of white flurry which covered the village streets, creating a winter wonderland. It was the first time I'd seen snow fall, and it was a beautiful sight.
This is about 40 minutes from Vail but worth the drive. It is possible to drive to the lake and catch an awesome view of the Gore Range as a backdrop.
To get there, take the frontage road north of I-70 west from the main Vail exit #176, which leads to Red Sandstone Road. Turn left onto Forest Road 700 and the lake is at the end of the road
If you are driving from Vail toward Denver there is a rest area on I-70 at about 10,000 feet of elevation just outside of Vail. We stopped for a break on the morning of January 5th, 2003. The weather wasn't too cold (about 1 degree below freezing), and there was deep snow covering everything. Some people were riding snowmobiles around the surrounding hills. Although the air was thin, we had some fun playing in the snow before continuing on our drive east.
My son, Dutch, took us up the mountain to a deserted town which must have been used for mining. Great views from up there. So remote. People had to have been really motivated to live that far from civilization. Vail itself wasn't built at the time the little ghost town was settled.
Vail was created for skiing in very recent years.
There are more than 50 14,000 foot peaks in the state of Colorado (52 or 54 I think). Quite a few are a fun day hike adventure up to the heavens. Here's a photo of me atop Holy Cross Mountain. Oh my the views....I'm on top of the world!
There are over 50 14000 foot peaks in the state of Colorado (52 or 54 I think). Quite a few are an easy all day hiking adventure. Here I am atop Holy Cross Mountain just outside of Vail. The views are worth every minute of the hike....I'm on top of the world!
Hike to Hanging Lake - this is about an hour hike in Glenwood Canyon to the most incredible crystal clear lake you'll ever see - you can see trout swimming deep in the lake. Waterfalls, spouting rock and views of the canyon are spectacular. This is easily on the top ten list of the most beautiful places I've seen. Check out this website: www.hikingincolorado.org
The park is about 7 miles east of Glenwood Springs.
This hike begins at the Hanging Lake rest stop along Interstate 70 in Glenwood Canyon, through which the Colorado River flows. Westbound travelers must exit a few miles farther west at the Grizzly Creek exit and double back on the eastbound lane to the Hanging Lake exit. Eastbound travelers can drive east from Glenwood Springs directly to the Hanging Lake exit. The return access to Interstate 70 from Hanging Lake is westbound only, so drivers who wish to continue east on Interstate 70 must travel west to the Grizzly Creek exit to get back on track after the hike.