Consistently ranked among the top three ski resorts in North America by ski and travel magazines, Vail has been a go-to destination for skiers since its founding nearly 50 years ago. With its consistent snow fall, wide-range of beginner and intermediate trails on the front-side, and legendary, expert back bowls on the other, Vail offers something for every skier.
In many ways, it has become the archetypal American ski town: downtown walking streets with shops, restaurants and cafes; a multitude of ski-in-ski-out accommodations; and an extensive bus network that much larger towns would be smart to emulate. It’s perhaps no surprise that First Lady Michelle Obama chose Vail for the family ski holiday this past President’s Day Weekend in February.
But beyond the glitz of its fancy hotels and après ski lifestyle in winter, Vail has much to offer as a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts of all seasons. As Vail approaches the 50th anniversary of the ski resort’s founding in 1962, Vail continues to re-invent itself as a hub of outdoor living and active lifestyles. Winter sports may be Vail’s centerpiece and claim-to-fame, but its hiking, mountain biking and other outdoor activities should make it a stop on anyone’s Rocky Mountain itinerary.
Curving through Vail Village long before joining the Colorado River, the banks of Gore Creek are the perfect place for a morning jog or leisurely walk.
The Gore Valley Trail extends from one end of East Vail all the way through West Vail to Minturn in the spring, summer and fall. During winter, the trail is plowed in sections or hardened into snowpack within Vail, allowing for walking and jogging with a good tread.
Jogging from Lionshead to West Vail is about 4 miles round-trip and the trail is well-marked with directional signs. I threw on a pair of trail running shoes with a grippy sole and GoreTex upper. They're also the kind of shoes that can be worn with jeans for a night out in Vail Village.