Summer 2019 Vail Mountain News & Story Ideas
Epic Discovery, June 7-Sept 2
Summer in the mountains has taken on a whole new meaning at Vail with Epic Discovery, which debuted in 2016 and has quickly become the #1 summer activity in Vail. 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? Epic Discovery provides a unique, connected, on-mountain summer experience, immersing guests in activities which provide big-time thrills, allowing them to challenge themselves physically, guiding them to explore and better understand their natural surroundings, and ultimately creating lifelong memories. Whether traveling through Colorado or staying in Vail, guests can experience Epic Discovery a-la-carte or take advantage of the all-access Adventure Pass.
This first-of-its-kind comprehensive on-mountain summer adventure features activities such as zip lines, a rock climbing wall, an alpine coaster, wildlife trail exploration, and interactive, “learn-through-play” activities.
Vail Resorts continues its partnership with The Nature Conservancy with “1% For the Forest” to create eco-discovery experiences at Vail that promote education and awareness of our unique mountain environment.  To help maintain the health of our valuable forests, 1% of all Epic Discovery activity revenue is donated to The Nature Conservancy for local forest health restoration projects on national forest lands.
What’s Notable in Epic Discovery?
  • Zipline Tour + Adventure Pass Next Day Usage: Experience the Game Creek Zipline Tour, which includes the unlimited, all-day Adventure Pass, for same or next day use. Fly through and above the forest habitat with an array of seven ziplines and aerial bridges. Learn about the mountain ecosystem while working your way through each course’s challenges. Experience nearly two miles of ziplining over the course of a 3-4 hour tour.
  • 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.
  • Online Product Purchasing: For ease of purchase, guests have the ability to select summer products online. 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. New this season is our advance commitment pricing: receive $10 off Adventure Passes when they are purchased in advance online.
  • Twilight Ticket: After 5pm, purchase a Twilight Ticket for $20 to receive a scenic gondola ride and $2o dining credit for Bistro Fourteen.
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.
  • Paramount Peak Rock Climbing Wall: 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.
  • 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.  
  • Bear Club Play Zone: A new play area fit for Vail’s youngest guests. The play area includes a log balance beam, log crawl tunnel, log steppers, and a rock climbing boulder. This area is free to explore. 
  • 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.
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. Epic Discovery celebrated the grand opening during the summer of 2016.
Activities for All Ages at New Heights
  • Guided Mountain Biking: Vail Mountain offers guided mountain biking led by friendly, knowledgeable staff. The guided tours are perfect for lower level 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.
  • 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.
  • Mountaintop 4x4 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Mountain Top Yoga: Breathe in the crisp Rocky Mountain air with Mountain Top Yoga at the top of Gondola One. These 50 minute yoga classes overlooking the Gore Range are held Fridays and Saturdays June 29-September 1 at 10:00 a.m. Top it all off with a healthy lunch afterward at Mid-Vail or the 10th Restaurant. Yoga classes are $10 each or $40 for a 5-class pass (with 2018-2019 Epic Pass or Scenic Gondola ticket).
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 20 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
  • Fireweed Loop: Beautiful wooded trail between Eagle’s Nest and Mid-Vail. 1 mile
  • 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. 3.2 miles
  • 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. 1.4 miles
  • 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
  • Grand Escape: This trail offers an alternative hiking experience with spectacular views of the Gore Range. 1.1 miles
  • NEW Cabin Trail: This intermediate trail offers a scenic hike through the forest up to Mid-Vail 2.1 miles
Mountain Biking on Vail Mountain
Vail’s mountain bike 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 40 miles of mountain biking trails and some of the many include:
  • Lower Lucy’s Loop: Beginner loop between Eagle’s Nest and Mid-Vail. 1.6 miles.
  • Village Trail: A two-way dirt road navigating the eastern side of Vail Mountain between Mid-Vail and Vail Village. Beautiful views of the town and Gore Range. 5.8 miles
  • Fred's Lunch: Classic single-track mixing tight, wooded sections with open meadows that leads from Mid-Vail to lower Gitalong Road, providing spectacular views. 2.2 miles
  • Grand Traverse: Vail's signature single-track traverses the Back Bowls from Eagle's Nest, offering excellent views of Mt. of the Holy Cross. 4 miles
  • Hanks Hideaway: A challenging, winding single-track through aspen groves with an option at the end to return to Vail Village (requires some climbing) or Lionshead. 2 miles 
  • Big Mamba: Freeride Biking Trail. An exhilarating combination of flowing rollers and smooth switchbacks that will take you across open meadows, into dense pine forests, and through sunny aspen groves. 2.7 miles
  • Radio Flyer: Freeride Biking Trail.  Dozens of banked turns and rollers wind from Eagle's Nest down through Vail's lodgepole pine forests. 1.7 miles
NEW This Season in Mountain Biking:
Momentum Trail Concepts has partnered with Vail again this season to continue to work on mountain bike trail maintenance and adding new routes, including:
  •  Major Trail Improvements on:
    • Hank’s Hideaway
    • Son of Simba
    • Fred’s Lunch
  • New Trail Highlights:
    • Vail will be adding two new sections of Freeride trails off of the Lion Down trail
    • At the end of last season, Vail added a new extension last season of Fred’s Lunch Trail, which has already become very popular among guests
    • There is currently a new green trail from Mid-Vail down to Chair 10 that was built last year, and this year Vail and Momentum Trail Concepts are working on an extension of that trail from Chair 10 down to Golden Peak—this would create a green trail that runs all the way from Mid-Vail to the base of the mountain.
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: Located atop Gondola One, The 10th takes on-mountain dining to a new level. Whether having a quick bite in the sophisticated lounge or indulging in a gourmet lunch on the sunny deck, The 10th is simply: Modern. Alpine. Inspired
  • Game Creek Restaurant: Enjoy a scenic gondola ride and shuttle tour to the mountain chalet nestled amongst the wildflower-filled Game Creek Bowl. Serving après and dinner Thursday–Saturday, and Sunday brunch. Reservations required.
  • Talon’s Deck Outdoor Grill: Relax on Vail’s largest deck at the top of the Eagle Bahn Gondola and bask in the spectacular views of the Gore Range and Mount of the Holy Cross while enjoying fresh, delicious smoked barbecue at 10,350 ft.
  • Sarge’s Mid-Vail: Conveniently located at Mid-Vail at the top of Gondola One, Sarge’s offers a unique outdoor mountain BBQ experience.
  • Bistro Fourteen: Indulge in fun at Eagle’s Nest at the top of the Eagle Bahn Gondola. Bistro Fourteen is a convenient full-service restaurant with casual-upscale lunch, après and dinner.
For more information on Vail Mountain Summer operation and activities, including age, height and weight requirements, please visit
Snowmaking Expansion and Improvements
Vail is working to improve the skiing experience for next winter by adding and enhancing snowmaking capabilities on the upper mountain. As phase one of a multi-year project, guests could encounter improvement zones in and around Mid-Vail, Mountaintop Express (#4) and Avanti Express (#2) areas. The 192 acres of new and enhanced snowmaking infrastructure for next winter will help create a more predictable opening date, high-quality snow surface conditions during the early- and mid-season, and more reliable spring conditions. At Vail, the water used for snowmaking water is 75% non-consumptive, meaning 75% of that water will go back into the local watershed. Also, as part of the Vail Resorts’ Commitment to Zero, the installation and upgrading of state-of-the-art snowmaking equipment will reduce energy use by 83% in the project area. Guests are encouraged to always be cautious and obey posted signs and warnings. Trails hotline: 970.754.3049
Easy Access from Eagle Airport (EGE)
Eagle County Regional Airport provides non-stop flights from 14 major markets in the winter, and 2 year-round, Dallas/Ft. Worth and Denver, 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. 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, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, 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,
Hannah Dixon (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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