Vail has won best ski resort in the world more times than you have had hot dinners!
Famed for its back bowls and tree runs plus an abundance of super light pow, it has always been my favourite place in the world to snowboard. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea due to it being part of the corporate machine but at the same time, you can't argue with the fastest and newest lifts which mean no queues. The streets and pavements leading up to the gondolas are heated and have wifi, plus you are welcomed with mini waffles for breakfast as you arrive!
If you head for lunch at mid-station there’s even bloody hair straighteners and choice of products in the toilets! In Vail village you’ll find fur coat shops, fancy restaurants, ice rinks, ice sculptures, art shops and lots of cowboy hats but if that’s not your cup of tea, the mountain and the locals who love it certainly will be. Head to Vendettas for a slice and a beer for après. Go to The George for pool and shots. Hit up any independent coffee shop or sandwich place for more reasonable prices or go to the little diner for the best pancakes or breakfast omelettes.
When we rode Vail this year it was always on a powder day. After spending three seasons there, my local knowledge pays off. There are over 6000 acres of back bowls which feature huge, long open faces. Traverse a little bit and you’ll find some sick tree runs or a hike over the back and you can do the Minturn mile riding backcountry to an old mining village.
Our usual ride home took us through the west Vail trees for a few miles which took four or five hours unless we got lost which usually happened. Vail mountain has it all. There are cliff drops if you’re looking for them and in some runs that’s the only way to get down! You also have plenty of groomers to burn if you’re looking to beast the piste.
Gondy laps at Lionshead are always untracked on a powder day as everyone heads over the back. With Vail now home of the Burton US open, there's a superpipe at Gold Peak park as well as your usual array of rails and kickers. It’s nothing in comparison to Keystone or Breckenridge, but at the same time you are too busy getting the good stuff in the back bowls and trees to worry about it. Yes, it’s corporate but that is the reason you can ride all of the above resorts under one pass. The name of that pass covers America and covers our adventures. EPIC!
Check out this season’s Syndicate snow gear here, follow the adventures on Instagram @syndicatetm and get a 30% discount on new garms with code: EPIC