It's on my first morning in Vail that I meet ski-instructor Silvia Prieler, who gives me a rundown of what to expect during my stay at 8,150 ft above sea level. All the while taking in the awe-inspiring view from the chair lift.
After an impressive career taking the Australian Olympic team through their paces, Prieler now gives expert tutelage to the Kardashians, Michelle Obama and Taylor Swift, as well as novices. Yet it’s not about the name-dropping at Vail because everyone is here for one reason only: the greatest skiing and snowboarding anywhere on earth.
With blue skies for more than 300 days a year and breathtaking views of the Rocky Mountains, Vail Mountain boasts more than 2,100 hectares of adventure-friendly terrain. Where else can you swoosh down powdery back bowls (seven in total) to slope-side restaurants where you’ll be presented with fleece-lined slippers to replace your ski boots?
For those still finessing their snowplough, there’s no shortage of things to do après ski, and no trip to Vail would be complete without spending time in the Swiss-inspired town. Nearly every building has been designed to resemble a traditional European chalet and conveniently the town is split into two styles: Eastern and Western. Lionshead on the West and Vail Village on the east side. which is not only home to a lively nightlife
Lionshead has a more intimate feel, with family-style dining to suit any budget and an ice-skating rink so pretty it could belong inside a snow globe. If you're all about location, then Arrabelle, located just steps from the Eagle Bahn Gondola in the heart of Lionshead Village, is the place to stay.
During the winter, you can roll out of bed in the morning, strap on your skis, and head up the Gondola straight onto the slopes - and finish the day by rolling straight into the Arrabelle's signature restaurant, Tavern on the Square.
WHILE YOU’RE IN THE AREA
Take in the breathtaking vistas at the five-star Game Creek restaurant— accessible only via a snowcat—and order the truffle fries with champagne.
Gorsuch is a three-storey, high-end department store, where you can pick up designer fashion and browse kitsch ski-themed homewares.
Breckenridge, 60km to the west of Vail and has a selection high-end hotels and condos right by the slopes, and escalators up from the centre. While, for family-friendly accommodation, you can't beat One Ski Hill Place which lies at the base of Peak 8 and boasts unmatched proximity to the slopes.
While in Breckenridge, check-out Breckenridge Distillery - the world's highest distillery - is most widely known for its blended bourbon whiskey, a high-rye mash American-style whiskey.
The Remedy bar at the Four Seasons is just what the doctor ordered. Located in Vail Village with a backdrop of floor-to-ceiling windows displaying uninterrupted mountain views and an expansive patio illuminated by fire pits year round, The Remedy is the ideal destination for apres.