Vail Bowls Blow Me Away

by Paul Maraschiello


It was really great day when I drove up to Vail from Leadville. The ride was SPECTACULAR with gorgeous vistas around every bend. Vail is one of the most up-scale ski areas in Colorado and it plays host to an international clientele. I rode up in the gondola with a man who was bi-continental. He lived in England and worked in New York City. He was skiing with his family but left them to explore this top-flight mountain by himself.

When I got off the gondola, I headed to the back bowls that Vail is famous for. I was not disappointed. There were plenty of soft moguls that were just the right size for me. I took a number of runs in the bumps and had a blast skiing these medium-sized moguls. I evidently was looking pretty good because a young gal stopped me and asked for a few pointers. I advised her to ski with a lower stance so she could have more leg to extend after she absorbed the bump and then extended into the valleys between the moguls.

I had an interesting day at Vail. All the people were friendly and the expensive outfits, especially on the women, were the latest fashion. There were certainly a lot of beautiful women at Vail. I had a chance to meet and talk to a local lady when I stopped for lunch. She was waiting for her husband and daughter to join her in the restaurant. I tried the vegetarian chile and it was pretty tasty. It was served to me by a ski bum from Argentina who was working at the ski area for the season. It seems that there are a number of young people who come to the US ski resorts to work during the winter months. One hears a lot of very interesting accents when you ski these days.

In the afternoon, I continued to ski the back bowls. To me, the back bowls are what sets Vail apart for the other ski areas. They don't groom these bowls and let the bumps build up. That day, I got my fill of skiing soft medium-size moguls.

I herd that a guy had gone off a ledge and hit a tree, almost skewering himself in the process. I decided to ski over and see where he had crashed into the tree. As I rode up the chair, I told the people on the chair why I had journeyed to that part of the mountain. On of my fellow skiers said he had never seen anyone crash into a tree. A few moments later, another "yahoo" jumped over the huge rock under the chairlift and hit a tree before our eyes. He wasn't hurt, all that was injured was his ego. His friends gave him a good ribbing. We could hear their barbed comments from the chair. Now I know why my mother doesn't let me jump off cliffs. The caustic comments from my friends would be too much to bear.

I had skied pretty far back and the day was beginning to get late. I decided to head back to the front side of the mountain and call it a day.

On the last run, I skied the bumps under the gondola. These bumps were hard and icy and there were plenty of rocks and bare sport. I handled the moguls with the skill I picked up skiing icy bumps in the East. No one was watching but I felt good about the way I skied that bumped-up slope on the front side of Vail.

Vail has a lot going for it. This year, they came out with a "Perfect 10" package where you can purchase a 10-day lift ticket that is good at Vail, Beaver creek, Breckenridge, and Keystone and the cost is only $319 for adults and $159 for children (5-12). These tickets area available on-line or at any season pass office.

Vail also has a 3 for 1 beginner lesson package where you get three days of lessons, beginner lift tickets, and rentals all for only $135 - $145 depending on the season. They also have a lot of other deals, so it pays to do a little research to make your stay as inexpensive as possible.

There are a few FREE events at Vail. There are free "Meet the Mountain" tours and free Wednesday night concerts.

I thought about having a drink but thought better of it. I was pretty tired after battling the bumps all day long, so I just put on my shoes and trekked back to the parking garage (yes Vail has a parking garage) past the trendy shops. I was pretty tired.