Best of Vail — Backcountry Ski Run: Minturn Mile | VailDaily.com | VailDaily.com

Backcountry Ski Run: Minturn Mile

Katie Coakley
Best of Vail

1. Minturn Mile
2. East Vail Chutes (tie)
3. Camp Hale (tie)

When it comes to snowsports, the Vail Valley has options in spades, from cross-country skiing and winter fat biking to ice-climbing and world-class downhill skiing and snowboarding at two exceptional resorts.

But for those who want to eschew the trail map, backcountry skiing is the ticket, and there’s no more iconic backcountry ski run in the valley than the Minturn Mile.

Exiting from a back gate on Vail Mountain and dropping into Minturn, the Minturn Mile has been a challenge and a rite-of-passage for skiers and snowboarders for decades. On a powder day, the start of the Mile provides a wide-open bowl for stellar turns before the trail turns into the trees and leads down the Game Creek drainage.

The Beaver Ponds crossing can provide a bit of slogging or a chance to break with friends before hitting the luge portion and ending up in Minturn, where a margarita at the Minturn Saloon is the traditional celebration beverage. No matter how many times you’ve completed the Mile, every excursion provides a new and memorable experience.

— Katie Coakley