Colorado -

Vail, CO

By Monyse Bélisle, Ski Product and Marketing Director

Sometimes I find it hard to believe that I’m paid to go skiing, visit hotels, try new restaurants and attend conferences in the most beautiful winter destinations. But, of course, someone has to sacrifice their time to make sure our customers can enjoy the best vacations possible, right? Okay, I know—I have the best job ever!

This year, I finished the season off in Vail, accompanied by my colleague and friend, Paul Dubrûle. After attending several meetings during the negotiations conference, we finally got to take a break and test out the product for ourselves. Paul went off on his own to ski the back bowls of Blue Sky Basin, which provides access to mainly expert terrain. No doubt he had a few scares while skiing those steep couloirs and zigzagging through the glades. I, on the other hand (being a little more conservative), decided to stick with the groomed slopes. And, I couldn’t have asked for a better place to do it—after all, Vail has more groomed runs than anywhere in the world! It’s impossible to get bored here or even ski the same run twice in a day.

After a full morning, we met up for lunch in one of the resort restaurants. Surprisingly, there were lots of healthy options to choose from, which is rare for an American resort. At the end of the day, we headed over to Garfinkel’s bar—one of my favourites—for a little après-ski enjoyment. As I headed back to our slopeside condo afterwards, I stopped in at a few shops along the way.

The next day, we decided to start the day off like the locals and have our breakfast at the Little Dinner. Everything was fresh, fast, and delicious—good fuel for our second day on the mountain. We also made sure we were well hydrated since the altitude was having quite an effect on us. Once at the summit, we were still amazed by the vast expanse of the area and the variety of terrain. To end this second glorious day on a fine note, we indulged in the best ribs in town at the Bully Ranch. It’s a place I always love going back to. Paul will tell you that it’s an absolute necessity during any trip to Vail.

Riding the shuttle bus back to the Denver Airport at the trip’s end, I was already bursting with excitement at the idea of telling the Gendron team about my stay, and sharing all my discoveries and favourite things about the trip.

What stood out the most for me about this particular ski vacation is the fact that, in Vail, the skiing is always extraordinary, the food alone is worth the trip, and the accommodations are unbeatable. You simply can’t go wrong!



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EXCURSIONS

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Text from 2015-2016 ski magazine

 

much more than the back bowls

By Robert Choquette, Special Contributor

Every year, like clockwork, nine of my ski buddies and I make our yearly quest to Vail, hoping to get into shape before the start of our upcoming club race season. Granted, mid-December is early for perfect snow coverage but Vail is, after all, one of the most dependable early-snow destinations due to its high elevation. The village itself lies at 2,484 m (8,120 ft.) and the highest lift-serviced point reaches 3,527 m (11,570 ft.). As a matter of fact, last year, 2014, the entire resort was open by mid-December!

Vail is the largest single mountain resort in the United States and every time I go back, I just can’t get over how much terrain there is! Here are just a few of its impressive stats: the seven back bowls spread over 11.2 km from one end to the other; there are 193 runs and 5,289 acres of skiable terrain. The ski domain is spectacular and extensive and includes numerous long, steady pitched and immaculately groomed cruisers.

We are always out by 8:30 in the morning and keep going until the day’s last run. We even have this friendly competition between us to see who scores the most vertical using the EpicMix app that works with the ski pass’ tracking feature. We always head for the open back bowls and Blue Sky basin as soon as the patrol allows. Some are steep, others not as steep. Some have trees, others no trees. The only time we stop is to enjoy lunch at one of the on-mountain restaurants. Located at the top of China Bowl, the spacious Two Elk is a favorite; so is the Wildwood, at the top of Game Creek bowl, and then there’s Garfinkel’s or Red Lion back down in the valley.

When it comes to accommodations, it seems I’ve tried them all over the years. I’ve stayed at the posh Sebastian Vail, located in Vail Village. Very nice and right where the action is come nightfall. Then, there’s the budget-conscious Evergreen Lodge, which straddles Vail Village and Lionshead but requires a longer walk to the lifts. And, of course, there’s the quaint Tivoli Lodge, which is just a short walk to the lifts servicing Vail Village. On this last trip, our group shared two, four-bedroom luxury condos at the Antlers at Vail, in Lionshead. We literally had countless restaurants to choose from, right outside our door in either Vail Village or Lionshead. At night, the streets come alive but Vail is far from being a party town like Whistler. And that’s just fine by me because I’d rather be rested and ready to hit those slopes first thing in the morning.

The Colorado Ticket is an exchangeable pass, valid for Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone resorts. This ticket doesn’t give access to Arapahoe Basin. Epic Pass is valid for 9 stations (Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Heavenly, Northstar, Kirkwood, Park City & Arapahoe Basin)

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Ski stations Accommodations Snow Conditions
TEMPERATURE (CELSIUS)
Month Min. Max.
January -8 5
February -6 7
March -2 10
April 1 15
May 5 20
June 10 26
July 14 30
August 13 29
September 8 24
October 1 18
November -3 10
December -7 6

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