Navigating Holiday Weekends in Vail

Feb. 17, 2017

The weather looks flawless and you’ve got a three-day weekend. There’s only one possible way you’re going to spend your day: enjoying a picture perfect day skiing. You hit the road early and beeline for first chair; cruise up to the gondola, only to find that you had the same idea as other people.

Lift lines seem to be an unavoidable when there’s excellent conditions, a holiday weekend, or the combination of both. So how can you make the most of your ski-day when you’re planning on hitting the slopes during peak ski season? Take some tips from the pros and find the best way to cohabitate with your fellow skiers while still enjoying the mountain.

Hit the Snooze Button

Early bird catches the worm, right? Sort of…Lines at Vail have a tendency to accumulate right before first chair at 8:30am and disperse rapidly after our Gondolas fire up and start shooting skiers to the top of the hill. So sleep the extra 15 minutes, grab a cup of coffee or fill up on a big breakfast and plan to get the lifts around 9:30am or 10:00am to avoid the crowds.

Especially during the spring season, early morning conditions can be firm and unforgiving. Skip the morning laps and stick around later in the afternoon to soak up that daylights savings sunshine. And better yet, we’re extending our hours until 4:00 starting this Saturday, February 18!

Don’t Fear the Lines

With newly improved lifts like Gondola One, Avanti Express and Sun Up Express, Vail has unmatched uphill capacity. Long lines don’t always mean a big wait time.

With Gondola One’s speed of 1,200 feet per minute, it is the fastest of its type in the world, creating a 40 percent increase in uphill capacity.

Use EpicMix Time to Plan Your Runs

Wouldn’t it be great if you could see how long the lift lines were before you got to the base? It’s your lucky day! Use our EpicMix app, to maximize your time on the mountain by comparing lift line times in the free iOS or Android App. This new functionality will allow you to view lift line times from your phone whenever you like so you can skip the lifts with longer lines and head straight to your next lap.

Take an Alternate Route

It can be pretty challenging to navigate Vail’s expansive terrain, add additional skiers to the mix and it can even be a little overwhelming. Take our insider advice and choose a trail less traveled:

  • Try loading out of Cascade (Chair 20) and zip over to Pride Express (Chair 26) on a busy day and get a change of scenery.
  • Ride up and down the hill on the Riva Bahn Express (Chair 6) and enjoy shorter lift lines.
  • For those guests looking to cruise some quiet Black Diamond runs, we suggest heading to Highline Express (Chair 10) for some front side laps.

Navigating Blue Sky Basin

We know that nothing beats Blue Sky Basin on a beautiful day. But getting stuck in a line at Teacup (Chair 36) at 3:00pm is certain to put a damper on even the best ski day. If you make your way back to Blue Sky Basin, plan to get your laps in early in the day and try avoiding the end of the day rush to get back to the front side.

Avoid the Peak Lunch Hours

When you’ve been skiing hard all, a hearty lunch is a necessity to keep yourself fueled. But be careful of the lunch hour rush that can make grabbing a “quick bite” challenging. Grab a to-go lunch early in the day to enjoy at one of our on-mountain picnic spots or hit the on-mountain restaurants for an early or late lunch.

Take a Moment to Enjoy the Day

When everyone around you is rushing to beat their own PR for vertical feet tracked, stop and take a moment to appreciate your surroundings. There are few things better than the buzz in the air on a holiday ski day. From the whoops of joy echoing through the trees to the laughter and excitement in the lift lines, the air is electric with enthusiasm.

So take a second between laps to stop and embrace being surrounded by people who love skiing as much as you do. With 5,289 skiable acres at Vail, believe us when we say, there’s enough snow for everyone!