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Skiing In Vail: A MapQuest Guide

If you've ever put on a pair of skis -- or perhaps even if you haven't -- you probably know that skiing in Vail is kind of a big deal. The Colorado resort town is home to some of the most famous ski terrain around, and that reputation has made it a magnet for celebrities and luxury travelers over the years. But you don't have to be a Hollywood A-lister to enjoy Vail's charms. In fact, you might not even have to pay full price.

As "the largest single-mountain ski resort in America," Vail enjoys a reputation for excellent conditions on its 5,289 acres. Yearly snowfall on the mountain averages about 348 inches (but has received as much as 519 inches), ensuring fresh powder on the resort's 193 trails and seven famous bowls. The Huffington Post reports that Vail "is divided into three areas: the Front Side, Blue Sky Basin and the Back Bowls. The Front Side and Blue Sky Basin offer more traditional runs of varying difficulty, while the Back Bowls incorporate chutes, glades and moguls."

Although access to all that prime turf can get costly, the resort actually makes it quite easy to save on skiing. Numerous travel packages are offered through the resort's website, and booking multi-day tickets online ahead of time can amount to significant savings. Since the resort is an incredibly popular destination, many websites offer savings on lodging, airfare and other amenities. Doing a bit of online scouting can really pay off.

Naturally, some of Vail's attractions take place off of the slopes. The town's nightlife is exciting and often star-studded.

Vail Ski & Snowboard Resorts Map

Click pinpoints for driving directions.

Located in neighboring Avon, plush Beaver Creek is a sister resort to vaunted Vail. It's style rivals the latter in luxury -- it's motto, "Not exactly roughing it," is tongue in cheek to say the least -- but without the magnitude of celebrity splash.

At 1,815 acres, Beaver Creek is a fraction of Vail's size, but its 149 trails offer plenty of diverse terrain to satisfy skiers of all skill levels. Plus, a lift ticket at Beaver Creek also grants the user access to the trails at Vail. Be sure to check out the resort's website to take advantage of ski and stay free packages and other deals. In addition to skiing and snowboarding, visitors can check out fun, family-friendly winter activities like ice skating, snowshoeing and snow tubing.

The Huffington Post reports that Beaver Creek is a noted venue for downhill races, having once been considered as a location for the 1976 Winter Olympics. The resort "hosts the annual Audi Birds of Prey World Cup, which features three days of Downhill, Super G and Giant Slalom races."

WATCH: Promo-Spot Powder Shots At Beaver Creek

Is it possible to get sick of Vail? Probably in the same way you might get sick eating at fancy restaurants, but yes. If you're looking for a change of pace, scenery or attitude, Colorado has many alternatives, but Ski Cooper is one of our favorites. For anyone looking for great Rocky Mountain skiing without the pretense, this historic, mid-range resort fits the bill. According to The Huffington Post, the "small, volunteer-run community resort" hosted the first pro snowboarding competition in 1981.

Today, Ski Cooper's 400 lift-accessible acres host 26 trails, many of which are geared largely toward beginner and intermediate skiers and riders. Off-piste enthusiasts, however, will enjoy exploring the resort's 2,400-acre backcountry, which can be reached via snowcat tour.

Did we miss your favorite ski and snowboard resort near Vail? Tell us about it in the comments section below.

Plan your next winter getaway with MapQuest's ski resort guides for winter travel destinations in the U.S. and Canada.

Where is your favorite place to ski near Vail?


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