Our Colorado mountains present a unique opportunity to escape reality and connect with nature—all on one Epic Pass, within just a few hours of the big city. This winter, we’re welcoming guests back to Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Crested Butte with an emphasis, simply, on our love of skiing and riding in some of the most pristine and wide-open winter destinations in the Rocky Mountains.
Explore the Trails Less Traveled
In the spirit of escaping into nature, we’re dishing some of our favorite spots and secret stashes at our resorts where you can truly feel worlds away—whether that’s through the peace of a quiet glade or the extreme rush of an untracked steep.
Crested Butte: Even Farther Off the Beaten Path
Traveling to Crested Butte in itself is an exercise in getting off the beaten path, but CBMR also lets you spread far and wide across the mountain’s 1,547 acres. Want to escape from others or explore the natural environment? It’s easy. Bask in the views of the surrounding Elk Mountains from the top of Painter Boy Lift, but to venture even farther from the frontside, take a cruise to Gold Link Lift. Not only can you soak in the scenery, but you might find a couple powder stashes remaining near the trees along the side of Elko Park or Panion’s Run. Or get a taste for some of Crested Butte’s less traveled signature steeps by taking a lap through Teocalli Bowl off the High Lift. But for the ultimate Crested Butte experience, hike to the peak for 360-degree views from 12,162 feet above sea level before descending 3,062 vertical feet from the summit.
Vail: Where Wide Open Spaces Are Limitless
No other resort will allow you to escape from reality like Vail Mountain, where with 5,317 acres of skiable terrain, skiers can truly feel worlds away and completely immersed in nature. In Vail’s expansive Back Bowls, the views (and the powder!) are absolutely limitless. Want to go the extra distance to find your own secret stash? Make the trek out to Outer Mongolia Bowl, at the very Eastern edge of Vail’s vast terrain. Not many skiers make the traverse, so you’ll often have the rolling fields of snow and stunning quiet all to yourself. Beyond the legendary Back Bowls, Blue Sky Basin is no less than 7 miles away from Vail’s base area, and thus feels like a true remote backcountry ski experience. Enjoy the huge outdoor space at Belle’s Camp, where skiers can take a break and relax under bluebird skies with stunning views of the nearby Mount of the Holy Cross, one of Colorado’s tallest peaks. For beginner skiers, take a moment to relax on the peaceful Timberline Catwalk in Northwoods, where the glistening snow on the trees surrounds skiers like a magical wood.
Keystone: Make the Trek to the Outback
The Outback, Keystone’s farthest (hence the name) and tallest peak at 11,980 feet, is an oasis for skiers and riders looking to find secret powder stashes and remote tree runs. In addition to Keystone’s three main peaks, the North and South Bowls offer skiers and riders access to secret stashes, tree runs and exclusive laps across Wapiti Peak. The only way to access these secluded areas of the mountain is by a short hike off the top of the Outback Express Lift. No matter what part of the mountain you explore, once you get to The Outback, you will feel one with the mountains and worlds away from any hustle and bustle.
Breckenridge: Earn your Turns Above it All
Escape it all at Breck by trekking to the resort’s highest peaks where unobstructed views and untracked turns often await atop Peaks 6, 7 and 8. Ride the Imperial Express, North America’s highest chairlift, and follow the boot pack up to nearly 13,000 feet above sea level to the famed Lake Chutes where the views, steeps and altitude will literally take your breath away. Or, hike out and up to the top of Peak 7 Bowl. While it may be hard to pass the allure of dropping into Whale’s Tail, travel a little further and you’ll be rewarded with steep, wide-open turns on runs like Y Chutes, CJ’s and Magic Carpet. If you’re up for a slightly longer hike, don’t miss Peak 6’s Beyond Bowl, Serenity Bowl and Six Senses.
Beaver Creek: Discover the Glades
Beaver Creek might be best known for its World Cup pedigree and stellar children’s ski and snowboard school, but the most adventurous guests will delight in the seemingly endless glade skiing to be found. While locals may argue there are plenty of secret spots on main mountain, Bachelor Gulch is where the real fun begins. The tree skiing both off of Overshot as well as Aspen Alley (just to name a few) is where powder stashes can be found for days following a storm cycle. Rather than give them all away here, they truly must be explored, and experienced, in-person.
Protecting Our Outdoors: Sustainability Stories
To us, our mountains are our business and our future, but most importantly, they’re our home. As a growing global company so deeply connected to the outdoors, Vail Resorts has made a Commitment to Zero to do our part to address our planet’s most pressing environmental challenges and protect our local communities and natural resources. Since launching this initiative in 2017, each of our resorts are doing their part to help make our operations more sustainable. From composting and recycling, to water use and land stewardship, following are just a few of the innovative ways Vail Resorts is working toward a more sustainable future.
- Ever wonder what happens to the snack wrappers you’ve recycled on the mountain? Vail Resorts has partnered with TerraCycle to recycle those wrappers into picnic tables and Adirondack chairs! Next time you’re at Vail, Beaver Creek, Keystone or Breck?, take a break to enjoy a grab-and-go snack, and kick your feet up with our new, recycled furniture.
- This winter, Crested Butte Mountain Resort has teamed up with local company 3XM Grinding and Compost of Olathe, Colorado. 3XM will haul all of CBMR’s compost—including pre- and post-consumer food waste, green waste, eco products and shredded paper—to their facility to mix and sell locally. This partnership will increase composting efforts at CBMR beyond food and beverage outlets to the entire resort, greatly increasing the resort’s waste diversion numbers.
- Last season, Vail and Keystone unveiled massive snowmaking enhancement projects, which upgraded technology in order to make more snow more sustainably. The new state-of-the-art equipment at our resorts allows for more efficient use of resources—such as snow guns with their own internal weather stations that can turn themselves on and off when weather conditions are best for snowmaking.
- Last year, we reforested ten acres in the Gunnison National Forest in Colorado that had been damaged by the bark beetle—which addressed 100 percent of the forests impacted by our operations over the course of the year. We also raised and donated $1.3 million for the National Forest Foundation and other environmental non-profits.
Colorado Road Trip Inspiration
In the days when we’re all doing a bit more travel by car, what could be a better getaway than a ski road trip across Colorado? It’s no secret that Colorado is renowned for world-class skiing and riding, but what you might not know is that each of our Colorado resorts couldn’t be more different. This winter, explore five totally unique ski experiences all within driving distance of one another, and all on one Epic Pass. A few road trip ideas for inspiration:
- Hitting the slopes with the kiddos? Start them out at Beaver Creek’s stellar children’s ski school and learning terrain, and then head to Keystone, the ultimate mountain playground packed with amenities that make family skiing easy.
- Looking for an extreme terrain experience? Hit Crested Butte and then Breckenridge for high-alpine experiences like no other.
- Want to get away from it all? Explore Vail's limitless terrain, Beaver Creek’s quiet glades, and Crested Butte’s wild and remote beauty.
- History buffs will love a trip to Breckenridge and Vail, to immerse themselves in Colorado’s true mining and skiing roots, respectively.
- Looking to hit all five resorts? Here’s the scoop on what you can expect at each:
Terrain and Historic Town with Altitude
Breckenridge, affectionately known as ‘Breck’ to locals and visitors alike, offers a serious dose of High Alpine adventure, natural beauty and historic ski town charm. With an abundance of slopeside lodging, ski-to-town trails and the BreckConnect Gondola, the connection between mountain and town is seamless. It’s like the entire town of Breck is practically ski-in, ski-out. And, thanks to a base elevation of 9,600 feet above sea-level, including the highest chairlift in North America – the Imperial Express – Breck is often blessed with plentiful snowfall and traditionally one of the longest ski seasons of any major resort in the country, with late spring operations planned through May.
Keystone's 50th Birthday Celebration
Put on your party snow pants because Keystone turns 50 years young this season! In true Keystone fashion we’re turning this birthday celebration into a birth-year party that will kick off on Nov. 6 (Keystone’s planned opening day) and last all season long. Keystone plans to celebrate the resort’s fun, family-focused past, present and future, by highlighting some of the resort’s key people, places and historical moments that have shaped the resort over the last half-century. Stay tuned for all the details of Keystone’s 50th birthday party celebration at KeystoneResort.com.
Be Wild at Crested Butte
Unleash your wild side at Crested Butte Mountain Resort. Defy the voice that says you can't and journey to the end of the road to find something that can't be found elsewhere. Crested Butte requires intention and delivers bold experiences. Break free from ordinary and dive into heart-pounding terrain, towering peaks and a vibrant town with a mountain culture all its own. With?542 acres of double-black-diamond terrain, Crested Butte is known as the North American?birthplace of inbounds extreme skiing and riding.
Explore Limitless Terrain at Vail
Under blue skies more than 300 days each year, Vail is the world’s premier mountain resort. Vail boasts more than 5,300 acres of world-class ski and snowboard terrain, including seven legendary Back Bowls with wide-open fields of powder and limitless views. Beyond the bowls, Vail’s famed Blue Sky Basin offers a true backcountry-like ski experience, where guests can truly connect to nature amongst the gladed trees and off-piste style terrain. Founded by members of the 10th Mountain Division, Vail’s founders were innovators and leaders in the American ski industry. Vail’s pioneering spirit and timeless pursuit of excellence are rooted in the legacy of its founders, making it a place truly like Nothing on Earth.
Beaver Creek’s 40th Anniversary and Beaver Creek Wonder
This season, Beaver Creek Resort celebrates its 40th Anniversary, celebrating 40 years of providing world-class skiing and riding, legendary attention to detail, rarefied experiences, and serving as perpetual hosts. Celebrate all season long with endless groomers, exploring powder stashes, and laps on our signature runs like Centennial and Gold Dust (or Golden Eagle, if you’re feeling brave!). Debuting this December, Beaver Creek Wonder will be an artistic playground of photo-friendly, oversize sculptures providing unique experiences scattered throughout Beaver Creek. Following numerous enhancements over the course of the past three summers, Beaver Creek's new art installations will bring to life a sense of adventure and discovery in the heart of the village. Each element is designed to draw families in, and provide a photo-worthy backdrop worth capturing and sharing.
Leading with Safety
Safety has always been at the forefront of our company’s mission and, due to the impacts of COVID-19, that commitment is more important than ever. Heading into the winter season, our operating plans focus on safety, a successful season from start to finish, and pass holder prioritization.
In addition to strictly enforced face covering and physical distancing requirements, we’re implementing a new easy-to-use reservation system for winter at each of our 34 North American resorts. This system will help us manage capacity and give our pass holders peace of mind knowing they’ll have the space needed to stay safe. Pass holders will be required to make a reservation before arriving at the mountain and will receive exclusive early season access, all-season access with week-of reservations, and Priority Reservation Days for the core season before lift tickets go on sale. For those without a pass, lift tickets will only be sold on our websites and through call centers, with no walk-up purchases.