Legendary filmmaker Orson Welles once said, "I hate television. I hate it as much as I hate peanuts. But I can't stop eating peanuts." Our readers have a similar relationship with Vail, and return it to No. 1 in North America. "Vail is great skiing at high prices, but we love it just the same," explains one reader. Readers revere Vail for what is already there: 30 lifts, plentiful snow, 4,644 acres of exquisite terrain, the incomparable Back Bowls and hundreds of après-ski, dining and partying choices. They also love Vail for its pledge of what will be there: faster lifts, better lodges and more terrain than the competition. Adventure Ridge, the on-mountain activities center, is a case study in Vail's commitment to excellence. After being criticized for a lack of family activities, Vail built Adventure Ridge and has jumped to No. 2 for Family programs. But skiing is still king. If you don't holler through the trees of Shangri-La or down the pitch of Siberia Bowl, see your physician immediately. "Mountain! Mountain! Mountain!" one reader exclaims. With Vail now rivaling Aspen for nightlife, the options aren't any less captivating off-mountain. Après-ski at the Red Lion or Los Amigos. Dine at Sweet Basil, Campo De Fiori or Terra Bistro. The resort's Achilles' heel remains its lack of value. "It's very expensive¿even if you can afford it," one reader says. But most skiers agree Vail is well worth the price. "Professionally managed, intelligently run¿this is perhaps the finest ski resort in the world," one reader concludes.
What's NewChaos Canyon, an on-mountain kid zone; $10 million in grooming equipment; additional snowmaking.
A Good Deal Stay three nights and ski three days and get the fourth night's lodging and fourth day of skiing free. Through Dec. 17; $345 per person. Call (800) 427-8308.
Medals Gold Grooming, Terrain, Challenge, Lifts, Service, Weather, On-Mountain Food, Lodging, Dining, Après-Ski, Off-Hill Activities, Family Programs; Silver Snow Quality, Access, Scenery.
High/Low Rank Family Programs (2); Value (67).
Don't Miss The racing and revelry of the 1999 World Alpine Ski Championships, Jan. 30-Feb. 14. Next to the Olympics, it's ski racing's brightest star.
Reader Remarks "Everything a skier could want in a resort. If I was going to ski just one area, this would be it." "Too expensive, too crowded, not enough challenge. Poor value and inflated ego."