Town profile: Vail |

Town profile: Vail

Daily Staff Report
Vail Daily file photoA peek at Vail Village through the namesake of Bridge Street.

Vail is designed to be exactly what it is, a world class ski resort.

In the mid 1950s a uranium prospector named Earl Eaton was scouting around when he rode his horse to the top of what is now Vail Mountain. Looking out, he saw massive mountain bowls and valley as far as the eye could see, all interconnected.

He convinced his World War II buddy, Pete Seibert, to have a look. When Seibert saw it, he knew he’d found the skiing paradise he’d been searching for.

The area was used mostly for sheep ranching at that time. One ski run got its name from the liquor that smoothed the way for a real estate deal. Seibert and few others were designing ski trails and cutting trees when a good-natured local rancher named Chris Jouflas came strolling over, asking what they were up to.

When they said they were cutting trees on U.S. Forest Service land for a new ski are they were building, Jouflas told them to check their map and told them they were cutting trees on his land ” but added that he might be willing to strike a deal.

Jouflas, a first generation Greek, broke out a bottle of Ouzo to help lubricate the negotiations. The sale was quickly consummated and to this day that trail carries the name, “Ouzo.”

There are a couple obvious differences between Aspen and Vail.

First, Aspen is a former mining town that refuses to believe it’s been converted to a ski resort. Vail is a former sheep ranch that couldn’t wait to be.

Second, The People Who Must be Seen go to Aspen. The People Who Own The People Who Must Be Seen come to Vail.

According to the 2000 census, Vail’s population is about 4,500.

It’s home to No. 1 ski resort in North America. Beaver Creek, also in the top five, is about eight miles away.

With 5,289 acres of terrain, Vail is the largest single ski mountain in North America, featuring seven bowls and intermediate gladed terrain in Blue Sky Basin. V

ail sees a yearly average of 346 inches of snowfall and 300 days of sunshine. It first opened in 1962. Vail Village is modeled after a Bavarian Village with pedestrian streets and rugged mountain backdrops. The actual town of Vail was incorporated in 1966.

On October 19, 1998, the Earth Liberation Front set fire to the Two Elks Restaurant on Vail Mountain, causing $12 million in damage. The Earth Liberation Front claimed to be protesting a Vail Mountain expansion.

Gore Creek and its gold medal trout waters flows from east to west through the center of the town. Mount of the Holy Cross is visible from the top of Vail mountain. Vail is surrounded by the White River National Forest.

Vail Mountain is comprised of three sections: The Front Side, Blue Sky Basin, and the Back Bowls. The Back Bowls has the most amount of expert/difficult terrain on the mountain. Blue Sky Basin, on the other hand, is perfect for most skiers, as 47 with of the terrain is classified as intermediate/more difficult. For those newer to the sport the Front Side is the place to learn with 28 percent of the terrain is considered beginner/easiest.

The Vail valley is currently in the midst of a population boom. It is predicted that by 2035, the valley, including Vail and surrounding region will be home to 88,000 people.

Vail is served by Eagle County Regional Airport, 30 miles away in Gypsum along Interstate 70, the only road to Vail.

Instead allowing cars in Vail Village and Lionshead areas, Vail hosts the largest free shuttle bus system in the U.S.


– Base: 8,120 ft / 2,475 m

– Summit: 11,570 ft / 3,527 m

– Vertical Rise: 3,450 ft / 1,052 m


– Skiable Area: 5,289 acres

– Trails: 193 total (18% beginner, 29% intermediate, 53% advanced/expert)

– Longest Run: Riva Ridge – 4 miles / 6.4 km

– Average Annual Snowfall: 346 inches / 881 cm

– Terrain Parks: 2

– 1 Superpipe


34 total

– 1 Gondola (12 person)

– 14 Hi-Speed Quads

– 1 Fixed Grip Quad

– 3 Triple Chairs

– 5 Double Chairs

– 10 Surface Lifts

Points of interest

– Betty Ford Alpine Gardens

Sister cities

Vail has two sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International, Inc. (SCI):

– Australia Delatite Shire, Australia

– Switzerland St. Moritz, Switzerland

Town of Vail,

Vail Valley Tourism and Chamber Bureau,

Vail Daily,

U.S. Census Bureau facts:

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