Freeriding, terrain parks and pistes
FreeridingFreeriders will find this place heaven. Vail's Back Bowls will stoke you beyond belief when you see what is on offer. In order to find out where the best places are, you should pick up a copy of the free pocket-sized snowboard mountain map which will point you in the direction of the best boarding trails and hits. The most popular backcountry includes Ptarmigan Ridge, a 25ft cornice jump and Kengis Khan, another cornice not suitable for sufferers of vertigo. The cliffs under Chair 4 are easier to access, as long as you don't mind your slams being applauded by everyone on the lift. The tree run Cheeta Gully is marked as one of the special snowboard trails and will test the most proficient rider.
FreestylersFreestylers are extremely well catered for on Vail's slopes. Vail also provides a major half pipe and terrain park known as the Golden Peak. Both park and pipe are groomed to perfection. The pipe has huge walls offering great transitions while the park is loaded with not only a major series of gaps, spines etc, but also a chill out area that has video screens, pumping music and drink vending services.
Vail has some excellent blue trails and some challenging fast blacks. Many of the runs start out as one grade and then suddenly become another, so study a lift map in order to negotiate the best spots with ease. The Avanti lift gives access to some really good fast trails. The Mountain Top lift also allows you to ride in style on a number of extremely good trails.
BeginnersBeginners have a mountain with so many easy trails and excellent progression possibilities, that if you fail here, you must be a complete loser. The areas of Golden Peak are perfect for learning the basics, although it can become a little clustered around midday, especially at weekends and holidays. Vail's snowboard school is excellent and has a number of instruction programmes. READ NEXT: Village life, accommodation & nightlife