Over the course of five days last week, I took a little late spring break trip to Vail, Colorado with my family. It was my first time snowboarding out west, we flew into Denver and stayed for a day before we made the journey to Vail Village. Although there was some adjusting to the altitude and conditions, we had such an awesome time.
I have been a long time skier/snowboarder, my parents had me on the slopes at the ripe age of 3. We’ve spent most of our time at the mountains that Pennsylvania has to offer; the Poconos, Elk, Blue, even western PA at Seven Springs. I’ve spent a good amount of time skiing in Vermont at Mount Snow and in Killington. Let me tell you, those experiences hail in comparison to the terrain, conditions, and sheer size of the Rocky Mountain Range in Colorado. I’ve never seen or done anything like it. I found myself constantly awestruck by the views I kept seeing even 5 days in.
The weather was downright weird, and completely different from what I had expected. When we flew into Denver on Friday night, it was 60 degrees and hovered around 80 the next day. I was in shorts and a tshirt on a ski trip to Colorado! I heard it would be colder when we would arrive in Vail, but not by much. Although it is late in the winter season out there, it has been uncommonly warm and they haven’t gotten snow in weeks. A major problem for the ski obsessed culture of Colorado. It was as high as 60 degrees at the base of the mountain and temperatures would drop to about 25 at the mountain’s peak. Each day I lost a layer of clothing, you’d see me at 11,000 feet in just a long sleeve tshirt, very abnormal.
While this weather wasn’t ideal, I still got 4 days of snowboarding in. As opposed to the crowded 15 minute lifts and 5 minute runs of PA ski resorts, I would take one lift to the top of the mountain in Vail and ski for at least a half hour. There were parts of the ski area I didn’t even make it to in my few days on the same mountain. This was like nothing I have ever experienced in my time as a snowboarder. Another thing that was different about this mountain, were the bowls. Any other mountain I have been to, you take a lift to the top, ski down any trail and do the same thing again. In Vail, you could take a lift to mid mountain, ski down to another chair lift, take that to the top or a different part of the mountain. A person could ski for 8 hours and not see the same trail or chair lift twice. This was partly because of the bowls in the mountain. Basically a bowl is a massive indent in a part of the mountain, they get their name because it looks just like the inside of a cereal bowl. At Vail Mountain, there were probably 10 of these bowls that all had multiple trails. The snowboarding was challenging, the terrain was always different and you had to be prepared for anything. It was the most fun I’ve ever had as a skier/snowboarder.
Another experience I had for the first time in my life was snow mobiling up a mountain. That was a ton of fun. Vail Village was a great time, it was a great place to go on vacation with awesome shops and restaurants. I recommend this trip to anyone, not just skiers and snowboarders. There was fun to be had by all in this winter wonderland. I can’t wait to go back.
Another cool thing was the town’s dedication to the 10th Mountain Division of the Army in World War II. It’s a pretty cool story about a group of soldiers stationed in Italy in 1943. They had to ski down the Alps into battles and to infiltrate enemy camps hidden in the mountains. Just another interesting addition to the aura that was Vail Village. I can’t wait to get back.