‘Vail is a mountain city in the Colorado Rockies. It’s the biggest ski mountain in Colorado, but there’s a lot to do in Vail if you don’t like skiing…’

We rolled across the countryside through the breathtaking Rocky Mountains and into Vail. I’d read about the city on numerous occasions. I knew it was a famous ski resort with the rich and famous.  And that was the extent of my knowledge…

I finally got to see for myself just WHY it was so popular. It was absolutely beautiful and, despite the fact that I hate skiing with a passion,  I figured I might be able to tolerate it here.

Vail is a town within the boundaries of Eagle County in the state of Colorado.  After Big Sky and Whistler Blackcomb, Vail is the largest ski mountain in the United States, and the largest in Colorado.

The ski resort has been in action since 1962 and has grown year on year.  It is now well established as the biggest ski resort in North America.

You don’t need skis to visit… 

Located in White River National Forest, Vail attracts visitors from all over the world and you don’t even have to love skiing to go (thankfully….).

Personally, the thought of having to change in and out of all that gear and attempting to plod around with massive planks attached to my feet just makes me tired. Plus, I’m from Scotland, so if I wanted to ski, I have plenty of slopes at home.

When it’s icy, I have, on occasion, unintentionally gone skiing. Down my driveway, landing in a rather unattractive heap at my front door.  I don’t recommend it.  It’s in NO way elegant.

What I do like about it, however, is the whole après ski thing. That’s much more in line with my kind of thinking.

Outdoor activities (that don’t involve salopettes…)

Although Vail is famed for its world-class ski facilities, it’s also a haven for other outdoor activities.  It has a wide range of stuffs that don’t involve strapping annoyingly massive heavy things to the bottom of your feet and attempting not to die.

Former President Gerald Ford spent much time running the country from Vail. Some people will do ANYTHING to get out of skiing, huh?  He spent so much time there, there’s now a rather impressive amphitheatre named after him.

There’s also a centre named after his wife, for those who enjoy the apres ski a little too much.  I jest, of course. The Betty Ford Clinic is in California. If it was in Colorado, it would surely be the go-to place in Vail if you don’t like skiing, am I right?

Alpine Gardens and Whiskey… 

What Vail has is the much more pleasant sounding Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, which you can wander around and enjoy the plants and flowers.   Once you’re done with that, you can head on over to the 10th Mountain and Whiskey Company for a quick drink.   How ironic.

If you are interested in the *history* of skiing, but not necessarily actually doing any, you can visit the Colorado Ski Hall of Fame.  This will allow you to marvel at the feats that have taken place over the years whilst reaffirming your confusion at why anyone thinks it could possibly be a fun way to spend their downtime.   Or that’s what I did, anyway.

Eagles Nest and Holy Cross Wilderness Areas

If you neither want to ski OR find out anything about it, you can check out Eagles Nest or Holy Cross Wilderness Areas, which lie outside of Vail. With a quite massive space to explore, you can go hiking, picnicking, or just enjoy the gorgeous scenery.  Don’t forget your camera!


If you fancy some shopping that doesn’t involve ski masks, you can hop a bus to Minturn, a small but perfectly formed town around 8 miles south of Vail.

Minturn has a great reputation for its friendly atmosphere, as well as a choice of shops, bars and restaurants.  It even has a winery, which pretty much makes it a perfect day trip in my book.

Who needs skiing when there’s so much else to do?? vail if you don’t like skiing vail if you don’t like skiing

Suzanne x