Appreciating all that makes America special

Travel: Vail, Colorado

Vail has the largest ski area in America, 5,289 acres. Add that to 193 runs and 346 annual inches of snowfall, and that's great skiing math. Uploaded by

It’s not because Vail is the largest single-mountain ski resort in the United States. And it’s certainly not because Vail Ski Resort has a long and lustrous history; it’s only been around since 1962. And it’s certainly not because of the exciting town of Vail, which has a population of only 4,589. So what makes Vail a clear choice as a Great American Thing?

It’s how well everything comes together. Here are the facts and figures: more than 5,200 skiable acres, 193 separate trails for all skill levels, one run that’s an incredible four miles long, average annual snowfall is 346 inches, and don’t forget 31 total lifts. Then include a world-class resort with a wide variety of lodging options and a town modeled after a Bavarian village with pedestrian streets.

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It’s hard to believe that a mountain with such beauty and recreational promise went undiscovered for so long. Its development was the work of a couple of World War II veterans from the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division. Pete Seibert and Earl Eaton did their training in Colorado and never forgot one beautiful and unnamed mountain they both recognized would be ideal for skiing. And in the early sixties they brought their vision to life.

Like many ski resorts, Vail has worked hard to become a year-round attraction. Now you can enjoy a vast array of “off-season” activities, including rafting and kayaking, festivals, golf, fly fishing, ranching, hiking and climbing, and tennis.

But it’s still skiing that draws the most people, and which is the lifeblood of the region. Vail has its own airport with nonstop service from thirteen cities across the country. Then you can arrange vacation deals either directly with Vail or through many of the travel Web sites. Colorado has a number of excellent ski destinations, but you’ll be hard pressed to find the combination of beauty, snow, and amenities available at Vail.


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