Vail’s Top 5 Ski Areas

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  • January 18, 2014

The skiers from the office of Ron Byrne & Associates have been enjoying all the powder days this season has delivered! We want to share Vail’s top 5 ski areas … The ins and outs of Riva Ridge, Siberia Bowl, Blue Sky’s glades and the best runs 5,289 acres has to offer.

Where to next?

Beneath the soft pitter-patter of snowflakes on your helmet, your brain grasps at memories of the last time you skied Vail. ‘Where was that one mogul run,’ you mumble to yourself.

The magnitude of Vail’s slopes can be overwhelming, local or not. You may say to yourself ‘I know every run’ or ‘I’m the best skier on this mountain’. Whether you have been skiing Vail for four decades or four days, here is our guide on the top five slopes to help steer you in the right direction.

Best mogul run

This category is quite possibly the most difficult, or at least most tiring, of the five. Moguls are a fleeting art form. It used to be the case that some of the best skiers were judged based on their mogul skiing ability. Nowadays, you’re hard pressed to see many “hot-doggers” on the slopes. Regardless, some of the best runs are those that push your limits, many of which are chock full of moguls.

Run name: Prima-Pronto-Log Chute (PPL)

Claim to fame: 1,500 vertical feet of nonstop bumps.

Local’s tip: Eat your Wheaties and wear your knee brace.

Find it: To get to PPL head up either Northwoods Express Lift (#11) or Mountaintop Express Lift (#4). Casually cruise down Swingsville to give your legs a warm up before getting to Prima on skier’s right.

prima

Best family area

Finding the perfect run for groups with varied abilities can be difficult. Game Creek Bowl is a great area for families and groups who are looking for a bit of everything. “The area offers a variety of terrain from beginner to expert runs, suitable for any and every skier or rider. Families can ride the lift together to the top, choose their own way down, and find the whole group back at the bottom of the same lift ready to do it all over again,” says Vail’s communications coordinator Sara Lococo.

Run name: Game Creek Bowl

Claim to fame: Game Creek Express was one of the first high speed quads at any resort.

Local’s tip: Easy access makes this bowl a great choice for a few fun last runs of the day.

Find it: To get to Game Creek head up Gondola one to Wildwoods Express. This will put you right on top of the bowl.

game creek

Best bowl

When Vail’s founders, Pete Seibert and Earl Eaton, climbed seven hours through deep snow to the top of Vail, Seibert said, “My god Earl, we’ve climbed all the way to heaven.” The enormity of Vail’s back bowls can have that effect on people. With so much open terrain to choose from, it can be hard to, well … choose. This past weekend, Vail had the most people on the mountain in recorded history. The mountain is clearly popular. Our pick will take you farther than other bowls, giving you a sense of serenity without going backcountry.

Run name: Siberia Bowl

Claim to fame: Siberia Bowl is one of the steeper bowls at Vail.

Local’s tip: Seclusion is an added bonus as fewer people make their way this far back. Head to adjacent Mongolia Bowl and ski the boundary line for a feeling of ultimate escape.

Find it: To get to Siberia Bowl, ride up Northwoods Express Lift (#11) or Mountaintop Express Lift (#4). Ski down Sleepy Time Road to the Orient Express Lift. From the top of the lift, ski down skier’s left to Siberia Bowl.

2008chinabowl

Best tree run

Vail has a lot of named and unnamed tree runs. We won’t give away any secret stashes here … Even if it is a powder day, and you are true to the cardinal rule (no friends on a powder day), grab a friend if you are heading into the trees.

Run name: Steep and Deep

Claim to fame: One of the steeper runs at Vail.

Local’s tip: As the name implies, this is a fantastic run if you like it steep. Getting to Blue Sky Basin is a bit of a trek, so expect to spend some time getting there –

especially on a powder day.

Find it: To get to Steep and Deep head out to Blue Sky Basin. The run will be to the skier’s right off of Skyline Express Lift.

steep

Best groomer

Everyone likes a good groomed run to cruise down. One of the best groomers on the mountain, and a must ski, is Riva Ridge. “Riva Ridge, Vail’s longest trail is four miles from top to bottom. You can find fresh corduroy on one of Vail’s most famous runs every Monday and Friday,” says Lococo.

Run name: Riva Ridge

Claim to fame: Longest run at Vail.

Local’s tip: This run offers an exceptional top to bottom experience. Take it all the way to the bottom or veer off course and go down one of the many offshoots along the way.
Find it: Head up either Northwoods Express Lift (#11) or Mountaintop Express Lift (#4) and ski down Swingsville to Riva Ridge.

riva

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