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Tucked in the “high-country” of the Rocky Mountains, the Vail Valley is a vibrant community surrounded by some of the most dramatic scenery in the world. Living in Vail is defined not only by its stunning mountain setting, but also by a strong cultural and educational community. The Vail Valley is a spec-tacular place to live, with its limitless recreation, burgeoning culinary scene, charming boutiques and a wide array of art venues. In Vail, you don’t have to travel to cultural events, they come to you.
The Vail Valley is made up of several towns and villages, each with its own unique character and community spirit including:
Town of Vail
Avon & Wildridge
Wolcott & Bellyache Ridge
Red Sky Ranch
The Eagle County airport located just 30 minutes west of Vail serves the valley. Flights are available to and from Denver, Houston, Atlanta, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Chicago, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Washington Dulles, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Newark and New York-JFK & LaGuardia. The Denver International Airport is 100 miles to the East. Once in Vail, getting around is easy as well. The combination of the nation’s largest free shuttle system, numerous
bike paths and pedestrian oriented villages provide for you the ability to enjoy a car-free lifestyle.
Much of the Vail Valley was developed on the coattails of the early days of Colorado ski areas. Pete Seibert and local rancher Earl Eaton founded Vail Mountain in 1962 at the base of
Vail Pass. Seibert, a New England native, discovered Vail while serving in the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division during World War II. Seibert returned to Colorado after WWII with the intention of opening a ski resort. With funds raised from a group of Denver investors, they bought a large ranch at the base of Vail mountain and eventually incorporated as Vail Associates.
Living the Lifestyle
Vail’s opening day was December 15, 1962. That year, the lift ticket prices were five dollars and there was one gondola, two chairlifts, eight ski instructors and nine ski runs. During the 1960’s, Vail grew quickly with a second gondola installed in Lionshead and a six-car cable tramway. President Gerald Ford started making annual winter trips to Vail and eventually purchased property here. The area was quickly becoming a nationally and internationally recognized resort destination.
In the 1970s, Vail continued to expand its trail system and the town itself began to plan for growth. In 1972, Vail Resorts purchased the land that would become Beaver Creek Resort and on December 15, 1980 Beaver Creek opened to the public. In the late ’90’s, Vail became the largest ski area in North America and began hosting the world alpine ski championships.
The Vail Valley receives an average of 350 inches of snowfall per season and summer precipitation is brief, so residents here enjoy more than 300 days of sunshine per year in addition to some of the best skiing in the world.
During the winter months the recreational venues are plentiful, from exciting alpine skiing at one of the many resorts, to a peaceful Nordic ski, to adventurous ice climbing and much more. The towns and villages are aglow with twinkling lights and the nightlife and dining options are plentiful and vibrant. Summer in the Vail Valley brings a plethora of events to enjoy from browsing the weekend farmer’s markets,to wonderful outdoor concerts at the Gerald Ford Amphitheater, to performances by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. The streets of the villages come alive with outdoor dining, shopping events, public art tours and the Betty Ford Gardens are an explosion of color.
Skiing in Vail Valley
Vail Mountain is one of the largest and most famous ski resorts in the world with 5,317 acres of skiable terrain. The front side of Vail Mountain features the most groomed terrain on the planet with wide, long runs for a day of fun in the sun with family and friends. For the younger skiers, the front side of Vail Mountain is home to “Kids Adventure Zone” and three terrain parks including a 22 foot super pipe.
Vail Mountain is accessed by three base areas: Vail Village, Lionshead and Golden Peak. The new state-of-the-art Gondola One will whisk you up the mountain from Vail Village which is easily accessed from the many resorts and residences located in the charming village. Lionshead, just west of Vail Village, is home to the Eagle Bahn Gondola and Born Free Lift. Golden Peak, just slightly east of Vail Village is home to the Riva Bahn Express Lift, accessing the terrain park, the race course, and Northwoods Express Lift and the race course. Also located at Golden Peak is the new Gopher Hill Lift servicing the
beginner learning area and Vail’s youngest Ski School guests.
Beaver Creek is Colorado’s youngest resort. The resort is comprised of three villages, the main Beaver Creek Village, Bachelor Gulch, and Arrowhead.
The towns of Avon and Edwards are located minutes from the resort and offer a plethora of excellent cuisine options, luxury resorts and quaint shops.
The mountain hosts world class ski competitions but that is only the a small part of what Beaver Creek Resort has to offer.
From the gentle, manicured slopes of Bachelor Gulch, to the open intermediate trails of Larkspur and Rose Bowl, to the steep bumps of Grouse Mountain, skiers and riders of all abilities will feel at home in Beaver Creek.
LIVING THE LIFESTYLE
Many of the top golf course architects including Tom Fazio, Robert Trent Jones Jr., Greg Norman and Arnold Palmer have discovered the Vail Valley as a perfect landscape for designing both beautiful and challenging courses. Private, semi private and public golf courses dot the mountainous terrain providing a nice variety for all skill levels. Many of the Vail Valley’s golf courses have unique membership and real estate opportunities available.
Vail Golf Club
Highlighted by views of the Gore Range, Vail’s mountain-style, 18-hole course features unique fairways, smooth putting surfaces and a scenic layout amidst the White River National Forest. Designed and built by one of Vail’s pioneers, Ben Krueger, in 1962, Vail’s course continues to be one of best courses in the Vail Valley.
EagleVail Golf Club
Created by the Devlin/Von Hagge design team, Eagle Vail Golf club is full of elevation change and unique holes Elevated tees guarantee gravity-defying drives in the rarefied air, and, at 6,836 yards, beginners won’t be intimidated and experienced golfers will be well-challenged.
Country Club of the Rockies
Against the backdrop of a majestic mountain range, Jack Nicklaus routed a clever, strategic layout at the core of a warm, engaging club that has helped transform the Vail Valley into a year-round destination. The links-style design has rolling terrain with water coming into play on 11 holes, and four holes along and across the Eagle River.
Beaver Creek Golf Club, nestled against the slopes of Beaver Creek Mountain, has some of the longest fairways in the Vail Valley. Opened in 1982, the course was designed by noted course architect Robert Trent Jones, Jr. and is known and respected for its long, narrow challenging fairways and its stunning scenery.
The Club at Cordillera
Considered to be one of the best course designers in the world today, Tom Fazio sculpted the 7,091 yard, Par 71, 18-hole course into the high mountain desert topography of the Cordillera Valley Club. The southern exposure and low elevation allows this spectacular course to remain open for an extended playing season.
Sonnenalp Golf Club
Golfers of all levels will enjoy the playability of the course and the challenge it offers to those who seek it. Sonnenalp is a Scottish links style course combined with the spectacular scenery of the Colorado Rockies. Here, an award-winning layout takes you to elevated tees with inviting fairways framed by spectacular mountain views.
Eagle Springs was planned and developed to be one the most unique private golf club experiences in the country. The club features a Jay Morrish and Tom Weiskopf designed golf course in a setting that will remain free from development.
Red Sky Ranch and Golf Club
Red Sky features two championship golf courses designed by Tom Fazio and Greg Norman. The courses are separated by a massive ridge, which serves as wildlife migration corridor for both deer and elk. Both courses have breathtaking views and are registered as Audubon Cooperative Sanctuaries.
Adams Mountain Country Club
This 18-hole golf course designed by Tom Weiskopf features eight man-made lakes, a driving range and practice chipping and putting areas. Many holes are adjacent to water creating challenging play for all skill levels.
Eagle Ranch Golf Club
With undulating fairways bordered by native grasses this course has a links-type feel. The greens are large with subtle slopes. Strategically placed water hazards and bunkers add to the challenge and beauty of the layout. With five sets of tees, the course can be played from 5,400 yards to over 7,500 yards.
Gypsum Creek Golf Club - Gypsum Creek Golf Course
is nestled in the secluded Gypsum Valley. It covers a beautiful sage-covered mesa that overlooks the surrounding countryside.
The scenic and challenging course is a Pete Dye design that is player friendly enough for all skill levels.
LIVING THE LIFESTYLE
Likely the most famous fly-fishing spot in and around Vail is Gore Creek. Gore Creek has been awarded the “gold medal” designation by the Colorado Wildlife Commission as one of the great spots to catch large trout. Some of the best fishing on Gore Creek can be found just west of Vail where Sandstone Creek meets the Gore. Wade fishing is particularly popular in this classic mountain stream.
The Eagle River is a wider and more easily accessed fly-fishing destination. Legend has it that Ute Indians, who named the river, claimed there were as many branches of this river as an Eagle has tail feathers. Starting near Mount Holy Cross and Camp Hale (the training location for the 10th Mountain Division) it flows toward Vail where it joins Gore Creek. From there the river flow west and merges with the Colorado River.
The Colorado River begins in Rocky Mountain National Park and is home to browns, rainbows, and cutthroat trout. It offers long stretches of excellent fishing waters. Anglers looking for the most iconic way to fish the Colorado can book a float trip with over 60 miles of river to explore. There are nearly a dozen boat ramps along this section providing excellent options and access. Many professional and experienced outfitters and fishing guides know these Colorado waters and will help make your fishing experience an enjoyable and memorable one.
LIVING THE LIFESTYLE
There are numerous art galleries and venues in the Vail Valley from small gallery spaces to large scale theatres. The art and entertainment scene has expanded greatly over the years offering a broad variety to guests and residents alike.
Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival
The premiere classical music venue in the Vail Valley, Bravo! brings superior artists to Vail with over 40 acclaimed soloists, ensembles and three outstanding resident orchestras - the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, The Philadelphia Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic.
Vilar Performing Arts Center is located at the base of Beaver Creek Resort and is operated by the Vail Valley Foundation. The 535-seat theatre presents wonderful year-round performances including musicals, concerts, family entertainment, comedy, dance and classical music.
The Betty Ford Alpine Gardens
Right in the town of Vail the Betty Ford Gardens curate a fully documented collection of high elevation plants. This stunning mountain garden is situated high in the Rocky Mountains. The assortment of perennial beds, rock gardens and waterfalls is a beautiful place for an afternoon stroll with family and friends.
Vail International Dance Festival
Bringing some of the finest dance in the world to the Vail Valley including the Pacific Northwest Ballet and Ballroom’s Best the Vail International Dance Festival Presented by the Vail Valley Foundation.
LIVING THE LIFESTYLE
Shopping in the Valley
Wonderful galleries and retail shops line the streets of the Vail Valley’s villages. From small local boutiques to cutting edge skiwear shops, visitors and residents don’t need to travel far to find a wonderful array of fashion, Vail mementos, and unique art. Many of the Vail Valley’s villages have pedestrian-only shopping and dining districts making strolling the cobblestone streets a relaxing and enjoyable experience.
Public art lines the streets of many of our villages including artwork portraying Western themes in natural settings. From classic European to whimsical and modern the collection includes works ranging from painting, sculptures, murals, layground components, to site-integrated art.
Apres Ski and Dining
Vail Valley has a plethora of world-class fine dining establishments and resorts from charming, locally owned cafes and bistros to luxury resorts. With such beautiful surroundings, many restaurants have outdoor seating to take in the wonderful mountain views and sunshine.
Traditional European ski fare is popular here but you will also find many top chefs have discovered this mountain community and have created new restaurants such as Spago at the Ritz Carlton Bachelor Gulch, Matsuhisa in Solaris, Flame at the Four Seasons and Block 16 at The Sebastian-Vail.
Farm to Table
In the summer one can bring home the freshest, locally grown, organic ingredients from a host of Farmers Markets taking place throughout the summer in Eagle (Fridays), Minturn (Saturdays), Edwards (Saturdays) and Vail (Sundays).
Culinary events include Beaver Creek Culinary Demonstrations, Food & Wine Winter Festival, Reds Whites & Brews, Taste of Vail and Vail Restaurant Month.
LIVING THE LIFESTYLE
Colorado is one of the most beautiful places in the country with its majestic mountains and its expansive beautiful scenery. The highest mountain peaks reach over fourteen thousand feet and are locally known as 14ers. Hiking a 14er is a summertime right of passage for visitors and locals alike.
The White River National Forest offers thousands of miles of unspoiled rivers, streams and forest lands. The scenic beauty of the area along with its leisure opportunities accounts for its consistent ranking in America’s top 5 areas for recreational use. Here, one has access to lands for biking, boating, sight-seeing, horse riding, caving, and of course skiing and snowboarding during the winter months.
A great asset for the communities located within its boundaries, White River National Forest began gaining recognition as a “skier’s paradise”. Animals that live in the forest also include mountain sheep, fox, bears, elk, beavers, coyotes, bobcats, moose and even mountain lions.
Local conservation efforts ensure that generations to come will continue to enjoy all that the Vail Valley has to offer.
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