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No 4: Vail Ski Resort

Vail Ski Resort's first season was in December, 1962 and it is the second largest ski mountain in North America (after Whistler Blackcomb).The Town of Vail is a Home Rule Municipality in Eagle County, Colorado, United States. The population of the town was 4,589 in 2005. The town was established and built as the base village to Vail Ski Resort, with which it was originally conceived.

Vail Ski Resort

Vail's average elevation is 8,150 feet (2484 m) above sea level. The town has a total area of 4.5 square miles (12 km2), with no lakes (there is, however, at least one pond). Gore Creek flows from east to west through the center of town.

The town is surrounded by the White River National Forest and the Vail Ski Resort is leased from the United States Forest Service. Mount of the Holy Cross is visible from Vail Mountain.

Vail Mountain rises from 8,120 feet (2,476 m) to 11,570 feet (3,527 m), giving a vertical height of 3,450 feet (1,052 m).It has a 5,289 acres (21 km2) skiable area, 33 ski lifts, 193 marked skiing trails on three faces: the front side, the back bowls, and Blue Sky Basin. The seven back bowls are Sun Down Bowl, Sun Up Bowl, Teacup Bowl, China Bowl, Siberia Bowl, Inner Mongolia Bowl, and Outer Mongolia Bowl. Blue Sky Basin includes Pete's Bowl and Earl's Bowl-to commemorate Pete Seibert and Earl Eaton.

Climate: Vail has pleasantly warm summers and cold winters because of its elevation. Depending on the classification used, it is either an alpine or subarctic climate. The temperature rarely rises above freezing point from late November to late February. The town receives an average of 200 inches of snowfall per season, with even more in the surrounding mountains. Roads may close occasionally during heavy snowfall. Summer temperatures can reach the 80s Fahrenheit, but are more often in the low to mid 70s. Combined with mountain breezes, this makes summers refreshing and cool.

Vail Sli Resort

Transportation: Vail is served by Eagle County Airport near Gypsum, 30 miles to the west. Native Americans used to call the area near the airport the "hole in the sky" because storms seemed to avoid it. Vail is modeled on European ski towns, many of which are car-free, and the town is partially pedestrianized. The town operates the largest free shuttle bus system in the United States and has one hybrid-electric bus. At each bus stop, a sign reports when the next two buses will arrive.

The In-Town Shuttle provides service every five minutes during peak winter times, and every 15 minutes off-peak, between Golden Peak, Vail Village, the business district, and Lionshead, with live schedule information provided at bus stops by Global Positioning System technology, which tracks buses. Other routes centering on the Transportation Center service the East and West Vail districts on a scheduled, but less frequent basis.

Eagle County provides bus service from the Transportation Center with service to Vail, Leadville, Minturn, Eagle-Vail, Avon, Beaver Creek, Edwards, Eagle, Gypsum and Dotsero.

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