Best of Vail: Best Local Winter Festival |

Best of Vail: Best Local Winter Festival

Birds of Prey World Cup races, left, and the Burton U.S. Open, right, are annual winter highlights in Vail and Beaver Creek.

1. Birds of Prey World Cup Races

1. Burton U.S. Open

3. Vail Snow Daze

The Birds of Prey ski races are so popular that they don’t even need to take place to be voted into the top spot. While warm weather forced the cancellation of the annual World Cup event in 2016, that didn’t stop the America’s Winter Opening party from taking place.

Ever wonder where the Birds of Prey course gets its name? Nathaniel Vinton describes it best in his book “The Fall Line,” where he writes, “The racers look like hawks folding their wings up and diving for prey.”

The Burton U.S. Open is known as The World’s Greatest Snowboard Event, and since moving to Vail in 2013 it has provided the venue for the world’s greatest slopestyle run (Yuki Kadono in 2015), and the world’s greatest halfpipe run (Shaun White in 2017). Kadono’s run contained back-to-back triple cork 1620s, regular and switch, and White’s six-hit run included both the 1440 YOLO flip and his signature Double McTwist 1260.

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