Slopes from afar in Vail, Colorado
Photo by: David Benbennick, Creative Commons

The town of Vail in the State of Colorado is known for its magnificent ski slopes. In fact, the town was founded after a ski resort was built in the area in the 1960s. Vail boasts having the second largest single ski mountain in North America.

The 11,570 foot high Vail Mountain is the home of the Vail Ski Resort and the main tourist draw to the town of Vail. 5,289 acres of the mountain is skiable, featuring seven bowls. The ski slopes are accessible through 33 lifts or through 193 marked trails.

Vail was established in 1966, four years after the Vail Ski Resort started operation, distinguishing the town from other ski towns which were built and grew before ski resorts were built in their respective areas. The resort quickly grew in popularity among skiers, and the town itself grew at the base of the gondola which brought skiers up the mountain. U.S. President Gerald Ford and his family vacationed in Vail in the 1970s, further boosting the popularity of the town. The town and its ski resort has also been the site of numerous skiing competitions – it would have been the site of the 1976 Winter Olympics’ skiing competition if Colorado voters had not refused to host the games – throughout the years.

Besides being a prime ski resort, the town of Vail is also home to the Steadman-Hawkins Clinic, a world-renowned clinic for knee injuries. Skiers on Vail Mountain’s slopes need not fear getting adequate medical attention if and when they fall and break a few bones. The town is also the location of the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, the highest botanical garden in the world. The different gardens here contain about 2,000 different kinds of plants, including many wildflowers and alpine plants. Vail also plays host to annual film and music festivals.

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