Then and Now

Jan. 20, 2016



During Vail’s first few years, there were no grooming machines. Instead, teams “groomed” by doing the “Vail Two-Step” (pictured here), earning them a lift ticket in exchange for their dance steps. Grooming has changed leaps and bounds since the ’60s, with new innovations to ensure world-class conditions. Vail boasts the most groomed terrain on the planet, covering more than 1,200 acres each night. This year, we aim to increase groomed terrain by 20%, covering 9,000-11,000 acres per week! Not only can our new machines sculpt the perfect slope, but they also shape half-pipes, terrain parks and snow tube parks for a variety of winter adventures.

Take a Behind-the-Scenes Look at Grooming

Back Bowls


Skiing Vail’s legendary Back Bowls has been a bucket list item for decades. Powder chasers, scenic-run seekers and every winter-enthusiast in between should experience the unmatched views and snow at least once in their lifetime. Not much has changed from 1962 to today, and we like it that way.

Buy Your Ticket to the Back Bowls

Family Ski


Clear skies, full hearts…can’t lose. In 1975 this family was the height of cool with their retro jackets, flowing locks and shades. These days, helmets have become a staple on the slopes, and ski equipment has evolved drastically, making it much easier for kids to learn the ropes. Whether your crew is a pack of pros or a bunch of newcomers, we have plenty of options and a variety of terrain for you to enjoy.

Get Your Family into a Lesson 



Vail’s first gondola opened with the mountain in December of 1962. Back then we had just one gondola and two chairlifts for the entire mountain. Now Vail offers two gondolas and 31 lifts to serve 5,289 acres of skiable terrain. Our crowning jewel is Gondola One, which opened during our 50th anniversary season. Commemorating our original gondola in the same location, this state-of-the-art beauty boasts heated, cushioned seats, Wi-Fi and the ability to whisk you from the Village to Mid-Vail in just 7.5 minutes.

Learn More about Gondola One



Accordions and skiing…a match made in heaven! Vail definitely had its fair share of original hipsters, taking a moment to soak it all up in the middle of a beautiful day on the slopes. Vail has always been as much about the lifestyle as it is about the skiing and boarding. Our après scene is just as sacred as the slopes, and nothing beats sharing stories over your favorite après aperitif after playing in the snow all day.

Check Out Après Options

Ski Bike


Part bike, part skis, all awesome. Ski biking originated in the ’70s and has been cool ever since. Combining the frame of a bike with two skis instead of wheels, it’s a great way to have fun on the slopes and try something different with friends and family.

Try Out Ski Biking at Adventure Ridge


Vail Village was built in the ’60s with a nod to classic European alpine architecture, giving it a charming small-town vibe. That vibe is still alive today, with the bonus addition of countless world-class restaurants and shops to explore. You’ll feel like you’re thousands of miles away and right at home—all at once.

Explore Vail Village