When we think of amazing architecture, engineering, and construction, our minds often immediately jump to large buildings and landmarks. But let’s not forget that construction and heavy equipment can be used for anything, including prepping for some of our favorite winter activities - skiing and snowboarding!
Where is Vail Ski Resort?
Vail Ski Resort is a ski resort in the western United States, located near the town of Vail in Eagle County, Colorado. It is the third-largest single-mountain ski resort in the U.S behind Big Sky in Montana and Park City in Utah. With 5,289 acres of land, Vail features seven bowl-shaped hills and intermediate open-forest terrain in the Blue Sky Basin. Collectively, Vail Mountain has three sections: The Front-Side, the Blue Sky Basin, and the Back Bowls. Their mountain is primarily made up of wide-open terrain with trails that vary from cruising runs, moguls, back bowls, glades, and chutes.
When Was Vail Ski Built?
Construction of the uninhabited valley began in 1962 and was completed 6 months later for the opening of the resort on December 15. At this time there were only 3 lifts, which included one gondola that ran from Vail Village to Mid-Vail.
Who Built Vail Resort?
Vail Ski Resort was built by Earl Eaton, Pete Seibert, Harley Higble, and others. The ski area is at the base of Vail Pass and is named after Charles Vail, the engineer who routed U.S. Highway 6 through the Eagle Valley in 1940.
How Did Vail Get Started?
The story of Vail Resorts starts in 1962 when Pete Seibert and Earl Eaton set their minds on creating the “next great ski mountain”. Having grown up in the Vail Valley, Eaton knew there was something special about Vail and Colorado. During World War II, Seibert trained for the U.S. Army’s Tenth Mountain Division at Camp Hale, which is fourteen miles south of Vail, and became familiar with the surrounding terrain. Together, they discovered a peak that they believed to be well-located and with good snow, calling it No-Name Mountain, later becoming Vail.
Eaton started building the initial lifts while Seibert searched for investors. Fast forward to 2015, Vail Ski Resort was remarked by Forbes as “The King of American Ski Resorts”. Vail has long been the most popular ski resort in North America and for good reason. Vail has nearly 200 trails across 5,289 developed acres and features 30 different lifts.
Apart from the amazing skiing and snowboarding terrain, Vail Ski Resort also features luxury hotels, restaurants, and spas making it a great place for activity and rest. Due to its popularity and amenities, the ski resort is one of the best that not only the United States but the world has to offer.
How are Ski Resorts Built?
Before construction begins, the process of designing ski runs takes time and a lot of money. Before construction starts the design of a resort can cost $1 million dollars. Using satellite imagery and accurate mapping of the mountain is important so that hills can be sketched (this is a manual process using translucent onionskin paper laid on top of the map of the mountain).
Once designs are finalized, creating optimal skiing conditions often requires reshaping tonnes of soil, rock, and vegetation to achieve the best possible compromise between the needs of resorts, residents, and ecosystems that share the mountains. Lots of heavy equipment are also needed to flatten terrain and clear the grounds to further create optimal ski conditions.
A key factor in creating a resort is finding good terrain. Not every mountain can become a resort due to its size, shape, weather conditions, and more. As such, mountains that have lots of grass are usually a good starting point. Grass has a wide root area and lets the soil moisture tension get high enough to prevent trees from taking root and blocking a lot of ski paths.
To achieve these optimal conditions, designers will plant grass seeds where possible, using huge equipment to dig up the soil. Occasionally, workers will even go below the surface to modify the terrain.
As for the resort and amenity buildings themselves, they are built like standard buildings and require lots of coordination and communication between architects, designers, contractors, and subcontractors.
Visiting Vail Ski Resort
As it says in the name, the main attraction at Vail Ski Resort is the incredible trails you can ski and snowboard on. Lift tickets can be pricey depending on deals and the time of year. However, it's typically considered a trip that's longer than a day or two.
When you're not hitting the slopes, there are tons more activities for you and your family to enjoy, including but not limited to; exploring the local shops in the village, escaping to their luxurious spas and salons, enjoying a scenic gondola ride, snow tubbing, and indulging in the many delicious restaurants Vail has to offer.