Number one. Ask anyone who has been around the snowboard game for any amount of time and they’ll tell you Vail is the best mountain in the world. You may find a couple of contrarians that would prophesize that Whistler has better terrain or Powder Mountain has better snow…and they would probably be right. However, no mountain has a better total package. The size and scope of the mountain, the amount of snow, the quality of the parks, and the variety of the terrain all adds up to one amazing experience. So when the opportunity arose for my brother and I to spend a few days shredding the peaks of Vail, we immediately booked our tickets and jumped on a plane.
5,289 acres. Vail is massive. In contrast, Cataloochee (my local mountain), is only 15 acres. Vail is roughly the same size as the entire city of Kennesaw, GA, the birthplace of Ambush Board Co. That’s one big playground. Translation: heaven for snowboarders. It took us nearly two days and over 12 hours to ride the entire mountain. If we spent the amount of time in the park that we wanted to/should have…we may never have seen the whole thing.
60,136 vertical feet. According to Vail’s Epic Mix app, that’s the total distance in height we rode in a little more than 15 hours. 60,136 vertical feet. That’s the equivalent of riding from the peak of Mt. Everest down to sea level twice…plus 2,000 feet. We rode more than 11 miles straight down. Who knows how much the total distance was (although we estimated approximately 30 miles). Our bodies were snowboard starved and we feasted like it was our final meal.
Twenty-nine inches. Denver didn’t want the snow. The city had business to conduct, an airport that needed to function, and a population intent on making it’s way to work and school. Vail was starving for snow. The mountain had yet to completely open, which is incredibly rare for early February. It was the storm of the winter and it was heading right towards us. We couldn’t wait for the squall line to wallop Vail and deliver two feet of snow on a silver platter. We could almost taste the powder we would score the next morning. Only the storm never came…not to Vail at least. The following morning Denver employed 82 snow plows to clear the streets while Vail remained untouched. Most snowboarders would have been frustrated. But…living in the South has made us unbelievably appreciative of any snowfall we can get. It was a treat just to be out there riding at speeds that, due to small, moderately pitched mountains, you simply cannot reach down South.
104 degrees. The perfect temperature for an outdoor jacuzzi. Our tired bodies slumped motionless in the bubbling, steaming bath. We moved only to sip from our beers. In between stoic gazes, we nodded silently to one another in acknowledgement that this was an amazing trip. May all your travels be epic.