The Ute Indians claimed Eagle County for summer hunting and fishing grounds long before Europeans explored the area. The first reliable account of European presence in the Eagle River Valley was in 1840 when Kit Carson guided the Fremont party through the region. Fortune hunters and settlers scoured the state, striking lead carbonate ore in Leadville in 1874.
Originally a sparsely populated ranching community, the Vail Valley was the training ground during World War II for the 10th Mountain Division, and two veterans founded Vail Mountain in 1962. Beaver Creek was founded in the late 70's. Vail & Beaver Creek resorts have become internationally famous for their world-class skiing and world-class special events.
Vail's lifestyle combines one of the best alpine resorts in the world with a friendly, small-town feel. Visitors enjoy bountiful year-round recreational and cultural opportunities. Vail visitors and residents enjoy more than a thousand acres of open space, accounting for 30 percent of town-owned land. Vail is surrounded by 350,000 acres of national forest crowned by more than 5,000 skiable acres on the largest ski mountain in North America.
Vail Mountain Resort sets the bar for what skiing and riding should be. Consistently ranked as the #1 North American Ski Resort, the terrain is unparalleled with 5289 acres encompassing 7 miles of frontside access, 7 legendary back bowls, 3 terrain parks, and over 300 days of sunshine.
The mountain has a stellar reputation, but Vail continues to be ranked as one of the best resorts in world because it also offers a charming, classy mountain town for every type of person. At the foot of the ski mountain is the Town of Vail, a community bathed in charm. With the nation's largest free bus system, the town is filled with shops, restaurants and year-round activities in a pedestrian-friendly environment bustling with foot traffic. From family fun & special events to outdoor adventures to romantic, relaxing escapes, it's all in Vail.
"Vail will bring you what is arguably the best vacation experience in the world. The mountain offers virtually everything from the Lionshead cruisers to the justifiably famous Back Bowls. The new Blue Sky Basin has catapulted Vail back to the top of the heap in virtually everyone's opinion. The Bavarian-like Village at the base is pedestrian friendly and charming. The shopping is upscale." - Onthesnow.com