A ski vacation this winter would not be complete without a trip to one of the world’s best ski resorts, Vail.

Located in the state of Colorado, a five-hour drive from Denver, this white playground is beckoning to be explored. The most visited and largest ski resort in the United States always has tons of snow and caterers primarily to intermediate skiers. With over 190 trails to explore and a charming new yet old-world designed village to meander through, a trip to the Colorado Rocky Mountains this winter should be high on your list.

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All ability levels

While Vail does caterer to intermediate skiers, offering the most extensive amount of blue runs in North America, the experts and beginners are not left out. From the main village, access to the nicest spot on the front of the mountain is by a swift gondola ride. Once at the top, weave your way down well-groomed tree lined runs. Need a little more speed? Then head over the back of the mountain to the Back Bowls to find the steeper black diamond runs. While these runs are definitely challenging, they are not as challenging as black runs found in Europe and could easily be conquered by confident intermediate skiers. The backside of Vail, Blue Sky Basin, offers an incredible variety of terrain with both sweeping runs and steeper descents. If this is not enough variety for you, visitors can travel a short 20 minutes to Beaver Creek and try the smaller, more family orientated resort there.

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To dine

All that skiing will definitely help you work up and appetite. Located in the heart of the Austrian inspired village of Vail, find some of the best dining in the United States. With lots of slope side eateries and bars, there is a great après ski vibe in Vail with skiers kicking off their boots as the sun turns the mountains pink at the end of the day. Look for the fabulous and inexpensive après ski specials and happy hours to avoid paying high prices for delicious cocktails. For a casual atmosphere, head to The Red Lion Pub for their famous chicken wings and a pint of local Colorado microbrewery beer. Stunning Japanese food can be devoured at Matsuhisa, serving the creations of famed chef Nobu. It might seem strange to find raw fish in a mountain resort however; Matsuhisa serves some of the best sashimi anywhere. A great spot to take the family for lunch, La Bottega serves up thin stone-fired pizza to please a crowd. As the sun sets, the restaurant reinvents itself to a dark, candlelit room perfect for a romantic meal for two.

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Off the hill

Sure the skiing is amazing but Vail offers a great selection of other activities all winter long. Taking in some of the special events will definitely enhance your already amazing ski holiday. From fireworks displays to snowshoe tours, free concerts and more, there are a ton of great things happening at both Vail and Beaver Creek. You might want to plan your vacation around Vail’s annual Snowball Winter Music Festival. Happening in March every year, this hip and lively event draws great bands and musicians. With three days of back-to-back music performed on three separate stages, a little live music makes for a great departure from swishing down the slopes.

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Created by Lynn May Gosselin