Vail Ski Patrol’s 10 tips for hiking and biking on Vail Mountain

Apr. 23, 2014

Vail’s Ski Patrol exchanges ski boots for hiking boots as they maintain and monitor the mountain in the spring, summer and fall. Here are their tips for staying safe during your summer adventures on Vail Mountain!

1.  Don’t take the environment for granted. The High Rockies, where Vail is located, are a challenging alpine environment and should be approached with appropriate caution and preparedness.

2.  Be ready for the weather to change rapidly. Surprise afternoon storms are common so be sure to bring a poncho for rain and a shell for warmth.

3.  Wear appropriate footwear – hiking boots or athletic shoes with good tread. Toms and flip flops are not advised.

4.  Avoid altitude sickness by drinking lots of water. Also know to take it easy for you first few days in Vail. Chances are it’s a few thousand feet above where you live so that means that there’s a lot less oxygen .

5.  Bring a small pack with a water bottle, rain coat, sunscreen and layers.

6.  Allow more time than you think! Our summer weather is often a lot like tropical places – sunshine for the majority of the day with an hour or so of rain in the afternoon. If a thunderstorm does pick up in the afternoon, we shut down the gondola for your safety. To put it another way: don’t go up the gondola 20 minutes before you need to leave for your flight!

7.  Don’t pick the wildflowers, leave them for all to enjoy.

8.  No smoking. This is especially important in Colorado this year because of drier conditions.

9.  Beginner or never-ever mountain biker? Pace yourself. When you first get into Vail, allow your body to acclimate for a day or two by doing trails like the East Vail bike trail that have minimal altitude gain and are close to town. This is also true if you’re renting a bike, be sure to test it on nearby trails before taking it up the Gondola. While it’s an easy ride up the mountain on the gondola, if you aren’t comfortable on a mountain bike then it will feel like a very long 6-7 mile ride down.

10. If you do encounter an emergency situation on mountain, Patrollers are ready to help. Either call 911 or contact Patrol directly at 970-754-1111. Be prepared to tell the dispatcher your location and the type of injury.


Keep up to date with summer and gondola info on! For all the latest trail updates be sure to grab a grooming map from the Vail info center or at the top or bottom of the Eagle Bahn Gondola.