If what you want above all else is white-glove service, five-course lunches and 300-threadcount sheets, you might go elsewhere. But if skiing tops your list because, well, it is a ski vacation, then Vail’s your huckleberry. (Though it dishes out service and luxury aplenty.) When readers gush about “the bowls, oh my, the bowls,” they’re talking about areas like Sun Up’s Over Yonder and Siberia’s Bolshoi Ballroom—loosely spaced, powder-choked spruce fields that meander along the bowls’ rims before diving down playful double fall lines. When you hear folks rave about Blue Sky Basin, it’s long sweeping blues like In the Wuides and Grand Review they love. Should someone complain that “the front side gets crowded,” you’ll know they unwisely entered the Mid Vail vortex between 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., a rookie mistake, instead of exploring the whoopde- doos on Hairbag Alley, the steep bumps on Kangaroo Cornice or the glades in Cheetah Gully. If by “lacks character” one reader means that Vail is missing the rusty, crusty layer some resorts spin as charm, he has a point: Vail’s villages don’t show their age, thanks to constant nips and tucks and a few recent face-lifts. The mountain, of course, is perfect—and enormous—just the way it is. —Deborah Williams
What’s New » In addition to Bistro 14 at Eagle’s Nest, a new sit-down restaurant called The 10th opens this season in Mid Vail. But remember to go before 11 or after 12:30. Or make a reservation.
Après Spot » Frost, at the newly renovated Sebastian, serves an antioxidant martini. Order it.
Top Event » The Teva Mountain Winter Games are set for Feb. 9 to 12, 2012.