This report is based on one day at Vail, and I’m sure some locals would not really agree. I’ll come back one day and make sure to know more about the mountain and the endless amount of local secrets.

It’s huge and it’s expensive. Everything is expensive except for Starbucks.

First you have to park your car for $16 a day followed by a day ticket of $77 (2005 was like this in 2009 already 97—insane). As always, it was the goal to get a good impression of the whole resort to make sure we know where to go next time or during a powder day. For once, this was not as easy as it usually is.

Everything at this resort minded me about the resorts back home. After a few minutes in line for the first chair, we didn’t really like the whole thing. $77 and waiting is not what we are used to. However, this was about the only time we had to wait for more than 3 minutes. Usually we went right to the chair. If you want to avoid the crews, you should spend a lot of time in the so-called “legendary back bowls” and Blue Sky Basin. Another deserted area is the Highline chair, probably because it’s one of the few slow chairs. In fact, this mountain is a high-speed paradise.

This resort is definitely the biggest I have seen in Canada and the U.S. We skied hard all day, almost never used the same chair twice, and never the same run more than once, but there was no way to see all of it. If you like to ski all of it I would recommend a week, but only with mid-winter snow conditions.

Overall, it is a great mountain but rather too busy and too expensive. I don’t know if there’s any challenging stuff in the trees. The rating of the runs is ok although a little bit overrated at times. Some of the double backs are no more than single blacks.


  • For I-70 resorts: Stay in Frisco or Dillon, but make sure to call Copper Mountain resort. They usually have excellent last-minute deals, and you can ski any other resort from there.

Discounted Tickets

  • For I-70 resorts: Stop on the way from Denver, e.g. at the Idaho Springs Safeway.
  • Check for specials online. Season passes are often cheap and are not in relation to a day pass at all.

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