Summer 2017 Vail Mountain News & Story Ideas
Epic Discovery
Do you want to soar like an eagle? Travel through the forest canopy like a squirrel? Find out if you’re as strong as a bear? See the world through the eyes of a trout? Last summer, Vail Resorts embarked on a new adventure as Epic Discovery debuted at Vail Mountain in Colorado and Heavenly Mountain in California. It will debut at Breckenridge Resort in Colorado this summer.
Epic Discovery provides a unique, connected, on-mountain summer experience, immersing guests in activities which provide big-time thrills, allow them to challenge themselves physically, guide them to explore and better understand their natural surroundings, and ultimately create lifelong memories. Whether traveling through Colorado or staying in Vail, guests can experience Epic Discovery a-la-carte or take advantage of the Adventure Pass.
This first-of-its-kind comprehensive on-mountain summer adventure features components such as zip lines, a rock climbing wall, an alpine coaster, wildlife trail exploration, and interactive, “learn-through-play” activities. Vail Resorts will utilize its “1% For The Forest” program as a means to contribute one percent of all summer lift ticket and activity revenue to The Nature Conservancy for forest restoration projects on national forest lands.
NEW | Kids Ride Free: All kids can ride the Vail Mountain gondola free with the purchase of an adult ticket, allowing children 12-and-under to experience panoramic views of the Vail Valley and the legendary Gore Mountain Range through a scenic gondola ride. For each paying adult, one child, 12-and-under, will be given a complimentary ticket to access the mountain, where adventure awaits. Once at the top of Vail Mountain, guests can purchase a ticket or a day pass to experience Vail’s signature summer experience - Epic Discovery.
NEW | Paramount Peak Rock Climbing Wall: Making its debut this summer, guests can navigate their way up 36 feet of rock face, choosing between 16 routes to the top. The second-tallest, permanent outdoor climbing wall in Colorado.
NEW | Online Product Purchasing: For ease of purchase, guests now have the ability to select summer products online, which includes the introduction of individual activity tickets. This effort provides guests with the flexibility and choice between unlimited access through pass products, or the option to try specific activities at an independent activity cost.
Epic Discovery Activities
  • Game Creek Zipline Tour: The ultimate outdoor experience, this guided tour will immerse guests in the forest habitat with an array of zip lines and aerial bridges as high as 300 feet above the valley floor. Guests will learn about the mountain environment from interpretive guides while working their way through the tour.
  • Forest Flyer™: This gravity-based alpine coaster allows guests on individual sleds to descend on a raised track through the forest while giving riders full control of their speed.
  • Summer Tubing: High atop Vail Mountain at Adventure Ridge, grab a tube and hop a ride on Vail’s summer tubing hill, which debuted in summer 2015. A new take on the mountain tubing adventure, summer tubing provides guests the opportunity to feel the thrill of the mountain just like winter tubing on snow.
  • Golden Eagle Zipline: The four-line 1,200-foot long Golden Eagle Zipline, located west of the current tubing hill lift and accessed by the Adventure Skyway (#28), offers guests a high-flying rush as they zip through the sky amongst magnificent mountain views of the Gore Range.
  • Aerial Challenge Courses: Looking for a physical challenge? Guests can conquer one of two aerial challenge courses, The Gore Range Adventure Course and The Holy Cross Adventure Course, each featuring multiple levels of elements to maneuver including ladders, rope bridges, swinging logs, cargo nets and more, all within the safety of a harness. The north course is a beginner course that features four distinct, more stable elements for guests to climb and conquer while the south course is an intermediate to advanced course with more than a dozen different elements requiring more balance and upper body strength to successfully complete.
  • Bungee Trampoline: Soar to new heights on the bouncing bungee harnessed trampoline.
  • Little Eagle Zipline: Kids aged five and older, between 30 and 100 lbs, will enjoy flying through the air on the single-zipline spanning nearly 200-feet.
  • Pine Cone Adventure Course: Perfect introductory course for children who are not yet big enough to try Vail’s larger challenge courses, featuring six distinct obstacle areas including rope bridges, suspended wood bridges, swinging logs, and other balance elements. It is designed for kids aged five and older, between 30 and 100 lbs.  
  • Interactive Trail System: Fireweed and Eagle’s Loop Trail transform into a wilderness exploration trail with the addition of story stakes that feature mountain flora and fauna and a series of animal ability installations that each resemble a different ability, such as vision, stride, agility and strength. Vail has partnered with The Nature Conservancy, the USFS and Walking Mountains Science Center to bring interpretive elements to the Epic Discovery experiences and will be contributing one percent of all summer lift ticket and activity revenue to The Nature Conservancy for forest restoration projects.
Adventure Ridge
Located behind Eagle’s Nest, Adventure Ridge is home to ticketing and harnessing for Epic Discovery activities. For more information on Vail Mountain Summer operation and activities, including age, height and weight requirements, please please visit,
Act of Congress: History of Epic Discovery
The Golden Eagle Zipline, The Gore Range Adventure Course and The Holy Cross Adventure Course were added to Adventure Ridge in August 2013. These activity expansions were the first step towards more resource-based recreation as outlined in the 2011 Ski Area Recreational Opportunity Enhancement Act. Vail Mountain’s Epic Discovery proposal received final approval from the U.S. Forest Service in October 2014, and the resort began construction the following summer. Vail’s existing Adventure Ridge underwent enhancements with the addition of rope challenge courses, summer tubing, and a four-line zip line, as well as a kids’ challenge course and zip line.
Activities for All Ages at New Heights
  • Guided Mountain Biking & Hiking Tours: Vail Mountain offers guided mountain biking and hiking tours, led by friendly, knowledgeable staff. The guided tours are perfect for lower level hikers and bikers – individuals, groups or even families – who are unfamiliar with the trail system, new to mountain biking or not comfortable venturing out on their own yet. The mountain biking tours are approximately three to four hours long while the hiking tours are approximately two hours.
  • Gore Creek Mini Golf: Family-friendly putting returns to the Lionshead base area for the second summer season. Children and adults of all ages can practice putting their hole-in-ones on Vail Mountain’s nine-hole mini golf course. Located in front of the Lionshead summer ticket office, the course features a unique interpretive animal theme that spotlights a different local animal species at each hole.
  • Top-of-the-Mountain Tour: The popular Top-of-the-Mountain Tour combines accessible adventure for all ages with incredible views of Vail’s legendary Back Bowls, the Gore Range and Mount of the Holy Cross. The motorized mountain tour starts its 11-mile loop at Eagle’s Nest, passing Two Elk and Patrol Headquarters with a final destination of the Orient Express Lift (#21) at the top of China Bowl. Top of the Mountain Tours can also be combined with lift and lunch packages.
  • Gondola One and the Eagle Bahn Gondola: Enjoy scenic rides and bike hauls on Gondola One and the Eagle Bahn Gondola this summer, offering views of magnificent peaks and a variety of trails for hiking and biking. Ride to Eagle’s Nest on the Eagle Bahn Gondola where you’ll also find an array of affordable dining and adventurous activities for all ages and abilities at your fingertips. Gondola One and the Eagle Bahn Gondola begin daily operations on Friday, June 9th  through Monday, September 4th.
  • Mountaintop Music | Friday Afternoon Club and Saturday Sundown Series: Vail Mountain comes alive with the sound of music this summer with the return of the resort’s Friday Afternoon Club (FAC) and the Saturday Sundown Series at Eagle’s Nest. Guests and locals alike can celebrate the weekend with free live music and activities, food and drink specials, and the best views in the valley with amazing sunsets.
  • Disc Golf: Vail Mountain’s 18-hole self-guided disc golf course begins at the top of the Pride Express Lift (#26), winds up to the western edge of the ski area boundary, wraps below the Eagle Bahn Gondola through the Little Eagle Lift (#15) area and ends near Thunder Cat Cave. Maps are recommended and available at the information desk at the top of the Eagle Bahn Gondola. The course is designed for all ability levels and is free to those with their own equipment. Discs, putters and drivers can be rented at Eagle’s Nest and disc golf equipment can also be purchased at the Vail Sports location at Eagle’s Nest.
  • Nature Discovery Center & Guided Nature Hikes: Ride the Eagle Bahn Gondola to the Nature Discovery Center, an all-seasons yurt, at Eagle’s Nest. Join a guided nature walk with an expert naturalist from Walking Mountains and learn how plants and animals adapt to the high-elevation alpine environment as you identify signs of life on Vail Mountain. The Nature Discovery Center is a community-based partnership between Vail Resorts, the U.S. Forest Service and Walking Mountains and has provided the visiting public with meaningful access to the wonders of the natural world since opening its doors in 2000. Please come prepared to spend an hour outside in the dry summer environment with appropriate clothing, hiking boots and water. Walks are provided compliments of Vail Resorts, the U.S. Forest Service and Walking Mountains. Summer 2017 schedule TBD.
Enjoy Nature on Foot and Bike
Vail Mountain and the surrounding valley offer expansive trail systems for the outdoor enthusiast that wind through lush forests, brilliant wildflowers and native wildlife to provide breathtaking views of the surrounding environment.
Hiking and Trail Running on Vail Mountain
Vail Mountain offers a wide variety of hiking trails for you to choose from, encompassing more than 24 miles. All ages and abilities can take advantage of miles of trails that offer the chance to escape into nature. A few favorites include:
  • Eagle's Loop: Short, “green” ridge-top loop with great views of Mount of the Holy Cross. 1 mile, 15-20 minutes
  • Firewood Loop: Beautiful wooded trail between Eagle’s Nest and Mid-Vail. 1 mile, 30-50 minutes.
  • Berrypicker: This intermediate trail offers a steep climb from Vail Village or Lionshead through peaceful aspen trees and wildflowers, up to Eagle’s Nest. Or, wind down the trail from Eagle’s Nest into town. 4.6 miles, 1.5-2 hours one way.
  • Ridge Route: Intermediate climb from Eagle's Nest to Wildwood and back with spectacular views of Mt. of the Holy Cross and the Sawatch Range. 2.8 miles, 1.5-2 hours.
  • Ptarmigan Loop: This scenic, 360-degree-view trail through shaded woods connects with Ridge Route at Wildwood to Ptarmigan Point and back. 1.2 miles, 30-40 minutes; Loop with Ridge Route: 4 miles, 2.5 -3 hours.
  • Grand Escape: This trail offers an alternative hiking experience with spectacular views of the Gore Range. Combine with Ridge Route for a loop. 1.5 miles; 1.5-2 hours one way.
Mountain Biking on Vail Mountain
As the host of two previous Mountain Bike World Championships, Vail’s trails suit the amateur and the seasoned professional. Family cruisers can ride the gondola, explore the forests on two wheels and enjoy a mountaintop barbeque. Downhill junkies can ride uphill then seek out the most technical terrain for their descent. Vail Mountain encompasses more than 52 miles of mountain biking trails and some of the many include:
  • Lucy’s Loop: Beginner loop from Eagle’s Nest to Mid-Vail and back.
  • Village Trail: Longest and most pleasant beginner route on the mountain, the Village Trail is a winding gravel road that traverses the mountain in a descent. 7 miles.
  • Fred's Lunch: An alternating single and double intermediate track path that leads from Mid-Vail down the mountain, providing spectacular views. 3.2 miles
  • Grand Traverse: Vail's signature intermediate trail crossing the Back Bowls, starts easy and becomes more difficult, accessed from Adventure Ridge or the Wildwood connector. 5.3 miles
  • Hanks Hideaway: A fun yet challenging single-track that leads from Lion Down to Lionshead Loop. 1.2 miles
  • Big Mamba and Radio Flyer, Mountain Biking Flow Trails: Late in the summer of 2011 Vail opened a new flow trail, Big Mamba, followed by a second flow trail, Radio Flyer, during the summer of 2012. The gondola-served flow trails are built slightly wider than typical downhill trails and designed for intermediate mountain bikers as well as with sustainability in mind. According to the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA), characteristics of a flow trail include synergy with the landscape, forgiving and natural terrain that is accessible to a wide range of riders, and banked turns and rollers that are designed to maximize a rider’s forward momentum.
On-Mountain Dining
Dine at new heights atop Vail Mountain this summer, from the smokey barbeques at Talon’s Deck and Sarge’s at Mid-Vail, to the eclectic and family-friendly dining at Bistro Fourteen to the distinctive fine dining of The 10th and Game Creek Restaurant.
  • The 10th: Vail’s newest on-mountain table-service dining experience, The 10th, is open during the summer for weekend lunch service beginning in June. Serviced by Vail’s Gondola One, which transports guests from the base of Vail Village to Mid-Vail, the restaurant features a main dining room with spectacular views of the Gore Range, a cozy bar and lounge with fireplace, and a south-facing outdoor deck that captures the afternoon sun and views of the Look Ma and Challenge trails. The restaurant’s beautiful design and finishes befit its mountain location while still offering a bit of contemporary flair. The venue is also available for group events and weddings.
  • Game Creek Restaurant: Ride the Eagle Bahn Gondola to Eagle’s Nest where you’ll meet a shuttle for transportation to an old-world chalet, where you’ll dine on all your senses at Game Creek Restaurant, nestled within Vail’s Game Creek Bowl. Game Creek Restaurant offers distinctive American cuisine with all-natural and organic products and the freshest ingredients, an award-winning wine list, and superior service complimented by magnificent views and sunsets. Dining at Game Creek is an experience not to be missed. Enjoy late-afternoon drinks and appetizers on the sunny deck overlooking the Vail Valley or a complete culinary experience with a three-or four-course dinner menu, plus an optional chef’s menu beginning at 5:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. Sunday brunch including fresh fish and meats, pastries, breakfast traditions, and more has never been better set amongst Vail Mountain’s scenic views, wildlife, flora and fauna at Game Creek Restaurant, a cozy chalet nestled in Vail’s legendary Game Creek Bowl. Sunday brunch is served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Open Sunday, June 18th through September 3rd.
  • Talon’s Deck at Eagle’s Nest and Sarge’s BBQ & Deck at Mid-Vail: Whether your afternoon adventure takes you to Eagle’s Nest at the top of the Eagle Bahn Gondola or to Mid-Vail at the top of Gondola One, relax and enjoy a casual selection of lunch menu items including burgers and delicious barbeque amongst amazing views of the Gore Range and Mount of the Holy Cross at Talon’s Deck and Sarge’s BBQ. Open daily.
  • Bistro Fourteen: Bistro Fourteen is a convenient, full-service restaurant at the top of the Eagle Bahn Gondola at Eagle’s Nest. A celebration of Colorado’s highest peaks, Bistro Fourteen features family friendly cuisine in a relaxed atmosphere. It's the perfect stop for lunch or dinner before and after experiencing the fun at Adventure Ridge, and kids always eat for just $10! Enjoy lunch daily and dinner on Fridays and Saturdays.
Easy Access from Eagle Airport (EGE)
Eagle County Regional Airport provides non-stop flights from 12 major markets in the winter, and 3 in the summer, which makes getting to Vail and Beaver Creek super easy no matter when you visit. One-stop connections are available from over 250 cities worldwide, making EGE the number one choice for frequent visitors to Vail and Beaver Creek. Summer service includes daily non-stop flights from Dallas/Ft. Worth and Denver, and twice weekly flights from Houston. This winter season, Eagle Airport will be serviced by Air Canada, American, Delta and United from markets including Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, and New York/JFK, Newark, Phoenix, Toronto and Washington DC. Eagle County Regional Airport is located just 30 minutes from Vail and Beaver Creek.  For more information and current flight schedules visit
For more story ideas, facts and figures, photos and the latest news, visit

Vail Mountain Media Contacts
Sally Gunter (970) 754-3001,
Maggie Meisinger (970) 754-4528,
Consumer Site: or Mobile Consumer Site:
General Vail Summer Media Contact
Kristin Yantis, Malen Yantis Public Relations, (970) 949-7919,

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