Nothing grows like a good idea, and West Vail is proof. In 1962, after WWII ski trooper Peter Seibert decided to build a replica of the ski resort he saw in Zermatt, Switzerland. The product of his efforts - Vail Resort - became so successful, it had to expand in both directions to accommodate the flood of winter sports enthusiasts. West Vail became the western edge of that expansion.
Though it's mostly residential, West Vail is actually larger than Vail Village and still just a short drive or free shuttle ride away from the world famous resort. It's a great place to stay, not only because it's a little less hectic than Vail Village, it's ideally situated to exploit both the sunshine from the north, and the alpine vistas from the south.
From the beginning, Vail has been, of course, mostly about the snow. Surrounded by White River National Forest, Vail Resort is actually leased from the U.S. Forest Service. From a base elevation of 8,120 feet, Vail Mountain soars to a height of 11, 570 feet. The mountain's 5,289 ski-able acres of diverse difficulty are accessed by three base areas: Lionshead, Vail Village, and Golden Peak, each of which has its own distinctive, state of the art gondola or chairlift system to whisk skiers and snowboarders quickly to their chosen destination. And there are plenty of other winter activities in and around West Vail like snowshoeing, ice climbing, snowmobiling, dog sledding, or just a nice, tranquil sleigh ride. Or, try the slopes at one of the neighboring resorts, like Beaver Creek, or Ski Cooper. Aspen, Winter Park, and Breckenridge are other venues accessible by car. And that's just winter.
In summer, the area around West Vail and Vail is a magnet for hikers (a popular hike is one around Booth Falls) and backpackers, anglers, cyclists, horseback riders, climbers, kayakers, and canoe-ers. How about a hot air balloon ride or just a leisurely ride on a gondola with breathtaking views of the Rockies all about you! Though West Vail does have a few eateries where you can grab everything from a sandwich to sushi, the gold standard for dining is just a few minutes to the east in Vail Resort where you'll have your choice of 23 restaurants catering to diverse tastes from haute cuisine to a quick snack. After you've eaten, check out the great shops between Lionshead and Vail Village where you'll find everything from outdoor gear to artworks. Find the perfect cowboy boots or ski boots, jewelry and cocktail dresses, and apparel.
Whatever your idea of a perfect vacation, a stay in West Vail could very well be your ticket to a good time and great memories of beautiful, abundant, and exciting Vail Valley.