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If you are going to rent gear while in town, try to make those arrangements ahead of time, and pick up your gear from the rental store the day before you’re going to start skiing or boarding. It can get pretty frustrating having to wait in line at a rental shop to get your boots and skis, especially if you’re already dressed to be out on the slopes. There are even shops in town who will deliver your gear directly to your door! It’s also a smart idea to get your lift tickets the day or evening before you ski.Pick up a copy of What To Do a free booklet which contains discount coupons for ski rentals, activities, dining and gear.
First thing in the morning tune into “Good Morning Vail” TV-8, the resort network. Here you will get an update on snowfall totals, up to the minute grooming reports, and tips on how to dress appropriately for the day. The hosts frequently will do interviews with local businessman who will highlight the latest in gear that will be useful on the slopes, and they also highlight activities on the mountain. You can also call 970 476 4888 for a daily update on ski conditions
Layer up! You’ll need to take more clothing than you might think based on how it feels at your lodging in the valley. There are lots of restaurants and warming huts all over the mountain, and you can peel off layers should you be too warm.
If you are a powder-hound (advanced intermediate to expert), make your way to the bowls early in the day. That’s where you’re most likely to find the best untracked snow. Vail and Beaver Creek are world famous for their grooming - and you’re more likely to find the front side of the mountain dressed in corduroy than the bowls. Every once in a while you’ll find on the ski report that one of the double black diamond runs has been groomed overnight, and there are six new inches of snow on top of the grooming. Such runs down Blue Ox are NOT to be missed! Expert skiers will find Blue Sky Basin at Vail, and Birds of Prey runs at Beaver Creek most tantalizing.
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If you’re a beginner, or will be skiing with young children, you’ll find wonderful, mellow terrain all around. There are specially designated areas for slow skiers and for families, and our army of “Yellow Jackets” carefully patrol for speed demons. There are also many out of the way, gently sloping trails through the woods especially for kids. These have hidden Indian tee pees, bear caves, wild west storefronts and mines for the kids to explore.
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If you get up on the mountain early enough on a Saturday, you can join a Forest Service volunteer to learn more about the National Forest and local ecology. Tours meet at he resort’s Environmental Learning Center and are open to skiers and boarders of all ages and abilities.
Be mindful of the weather. Often when it is snowing heavily, you may enjoy better visibility skiing/boarding lower on the mountain and in areas where you can ski closer to the trees.