Vail is a resort put together with superlatives. Whatever can be said of it today will be revised, enlarged, or improved tomorrow.

For skiing, it’s among the most imposing areas in North America. There are two main sides to the long Vail Mountain masiff - the “front face,” which faces the village, and the “back bowls.”

The dozens of consistently groomed runs on the front face, with a 3,300-foot vertical, are a playground for intermediates with enough interesting drops to keep an expert satisfied. One-third of the mountain’s endless trails weaving through the trees are a joy for beginners and novices.

The back bowls consist of a fabulous 6-mile-wide stretch of treeless terrain. More than two-thirds of the bowls are classified as for advanced skiers. The rest are for courageous intermediates.

The 25 lifts can carry 40,000 skiers an hour. They include nine highspeed detachable quads, one six-passenger gondola, one fixed-grip quad, three triple chairlifts, six double chairlifts, and five surface lifts.

For shredders who want to carve the corduroy, Vail’s half-pipe for snowboarders is one of the world’s largest, and the jibline’s metal and wood rail slides are popular with the experts. So, too, is “earth surfing” the deep-powder back bowls.

As a destination resort Vail is one of the world’s most upscale ski areas.

The village is charming. Its narrow streets are lined with ski boutiques - where sales may feature discounts on chic, $5,000 fur ski jackets - art galleries, which display the works of outstanding artists in every medium, and specialty stores selling handmade Native American artifacts along with handmade cowboy boots and authentic western wear. Housing includes elegant hotels, condos, and chalets. There are more than 50 restaurants, from the lavish and truly gourmet to pizza parlors and sidewalk cafes.

Modestly priced facilities within a reasonable driving distance are at a minimum.

Apres-ski life runs from full gamut from swinging discos to saloons with an Old West flavor, and from discreet piano bars to a refuge featuring Austrian folk music.

Vail has the nation’s largest snowboarding school, along with extensive ski school facilities.

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