Vail

Ski Chalets & Apartments for sale, USA

Expert's Opinion

"While Vail Village and Lionshead are both attractive resort centres, the real draw to Vail is the skiing. The Blue Sky Basin and Back Bowls are wide, treeless and enormous fun, and there's nothing else quite like them in the world." - Rob Keddy

The Town

One of the USA's best known and loved ski resorts, Vail is home to some of the best skiing in North America. The resort itself is nestled in alongside the Interstate Highway (70) on the valley floor below the ski area. Vail has an average altitude of 2,484m but with Denver itself being so high above sea level the drive to the resort doesn't feel like your usual mountain ascent.

Built in the 1960’s, the resort is a pastiche of European styles rather than blending in with the Old Western mining towns that you find elsewhere in the Colorado Rockies. The exclusive Vail Village and Lionshead areas of the resort are the prettiest, built in Tyrolean style and offer good access to the skiing which fans out on the slopes to the south of the resort. 

Vail is largely traffic-free, with pedestrianised areas where the lively bars, high end shops and excellent restaurants are located. The scenery is typically Colorado, with deceptively gentle hills covered in forest that reaches almost to the top of the mountains in spite of the high altitude.

 

The Skiing

Vail has a huge ski area, with famous powder bowls and a large enough extent for skiers to really feel like they have travelled when on the slopes here. The Back Bowls and Blue Sky Basin in particular are huge unpisted, patrolled areas that are well liked amongst expert skiers. The areas aren't too steep, so they're more accessible than some freeride zones in the Rockies. 

The bulk of the front face of Vail is intermediate and beginner skiing, with wide, open runs and gentle tree skiing. There are some black runs that are fairly easy, and confident intermediate skiers could definitely handle them if they were looking for something a little more challenging. With over 200km of skiing and plenty of off-piste, this area is easily one of the best in North America. 

There are some great local guides who can take you down interesting backcountry routes like the Minturn Mile; a famous route outside of the patrolled area, down a powder bowl leading to the Saloon at Minturn. The ski school is well regarded, and class sizes are generally small enough to give you plenty of individual attention.

Summer

Along with the traditional mountain activities, hiking, biking and white water rafting, Vail is home to a farmers market every sunday during the summer months, with stalls winding down the main promenade in Vail Village. The market not only sells fresh produce, but also features music, art stalls and plenty of samples. 

The Ford Amphitheater is a wonderful outdoor venue that is home to some superb events, including a classical music festival that brings some of the best orchestras in the US to Vail, including the New York Philharmonic. The Vail International Dance Festival is another acclaimed event, while the free concert series Hot Summer Nights is a local favourite from June. 

As an American ski resort, there are more than a few activities that are associated with old west Americana; camping out in the mountains is recommended if you want to spend a night under the stars, while fly fishing for fresh trout is a popular summer activity.

Properties

As with many ski resorts in America, there are a number of cabins and houses for sale within an hour's drive of the resort. If that's not what you're looking for from a ski property, the best properties for sale in the town centre are condominium apartments. Of those, there are only a small number for sale in the exclusive Vail Village and Lionshead areas.

The faux-Alpine architecture and convenient proximity to the main lifts mean these areas are by far the most desirable and property there fetches a premium. There is very little new development taking place in these areas, and any new builds that do come available always sell fast. Resale property is likewise hard to find in the higher end areas of town, so if one takes your fancy it's best to act fast.