Snowboarding in Vail, Colorado (User-submitted)

Biking in Vail, Colorado (Vail Resort/Jack Affleck)

Golfing at Vail, Colorado resort (Vail Resorts)

Chairlift over Cascade Resort & Spa, Vail, Colorado (Vail Cascade Resort & Spa)

One Gondola, Vail, Colorado (Vail Resorts)

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What to do in Vail

This Innsbruck-style resort town just off I-70 has always moved fast. Before building started in 1962, there wasn’t much more than some sheep pastures (unlike Telluride and Aspen, Vail has no significant mining legacy, so it has a more spit-shined appeal). In just 20 months, 3,000 vertical feet of trails were cut; three chairlifts and a gondola (the first in the U.S.) were erected; then restaurants, shops, and lodging followed. By its third season, Vail had piled up more skier-days than any other resort in the state, and it still claims the crown—which means that, on weekend powder days, multilevel parking garages can fill up before the lifts start spinning. It’s worth it to get up early, if only for the quintessential Vail experience: skiing a foot of untracked snow in one of the back bowls until your legs and lungs start to burn.

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