Vail's après-ski scene gets pretty lively, with numerous bars decorating the largely pedestrianised central streets.
Most of the action can be found along Bridge Street where popular venues include the Red Lion (tel: +1 970 476 7676; www.theredlion.com), which has been established since Vail's inception and operates a night club in to the small hours.
The George (tel: +1 970 476 2656) is a locals' favourite and has a reputation for good service, having an authentic feel and a usually friendly vibe.
A number of lively bar-restaurants are also popular at the Lionshead annex, including Garfinkles (tel: +1 970 476 3789; www.garfsvail.com). Here, a young crowd relaxes on the decked area before the evening DJs take over.
There are now more than 100 cafes and restaurants to choose from in Vail, catering to all tastes and budgets.
There are a larger number of upscale eateries than your average ski resort norm. Among the most popular are Sweet Basil (tel: +1 970 476 0125), which is known for its exquisite cuisine and stylish glass wine cellar. Mountain Standard (tel: +1 970 476 0123), SweetBasil's sister restaurant, has a similar reputation for high quality cuisine and service.
Given the number of gourmet options, it's interesting that The Little Diner (tel: +1 970 476 4279), a traditional no-frills diner with affordable prices, is one of the most popular in the entire Vail valley. At busy times expect to queue for up to an hour, even for breakfast – it's worth the wait.
For something quick and easy, the homely Blue Moose Pizza (tel: +1 970 476 8666; www.bluemoosevail.com), located next to the skating rink, offers hearty Italian fare; it also offers vegetarian and vegan pizzas too.
Beyond the slopes
Much of the non-ski activity in Vail ski resort takes place at Adventure Ridge (tel: +1 970 754 8245), a mountaintop centre where visitors can snowshoe, snowmobile, skate, go tubing or ride a ski-bike. There's also a four-line zip wire park with 400m (1,300ft) of ridable cables. Most activities can be booked through a central service (tel: +1 970 754 8245).
Ease any post-ski bruising by relaxing in one of the resorts many spas. Among the most luxurious is the 3,050 sq m (10,000 sq ft) Arabelle's RockResorts Spa (tel: +1 970 754 7754) which contains a state-of-the-art fitness centre and 11 luxurious treatment rooms, including two just for facials.
Those who want to compare Vail's offering to other ski resorts in the region can visit other ski towns including neighbouring Beaver Creek as well as the slightly more distant Breckenridge and Keystone on a day trip.
Vail is a good place for families, with childcare and tailored lessons available to young children and a range of activities for older kids.
The Golden Peak Children's Centre (tel: +1 970 479 3285) is the focus of activities for children aged three to six, with its ski school and nursery.
The ski school (tel: +1 800 475 4543) offers group lessons for children, with classes split between three- to six-year-olds, seven- to 12-year-olds, and teenagers.
Adventure Ridge (tel: +1 970 754 8245) is a great attraction for kids with its tubing areas, snow park and a specially built children's snowmobile track.
There are plenty of shops in Vail; mostly upmarket boutiques, galleries, ski retailers and souvenir stores. These include Alaskan Shop (tel: +1 970 476 3750), which sells carved wooden items, and the garden-themed gift shop A Secret Garden (tel: +1 970 476 2241).
Self-catering visitors can choose from a wide selection of grocery shops, including a supermarket.
Nearby Avon has a wide-ranging selection of shops, although Silverthorne (40 minutes away) has more options with its factory outlet shopping centres.
Take to the air on a dawn balloon ride over Vail Valley with Camelot Balloons (tel: +1 800 785 4743; www.camelotballoons.com) for sensational views across the Rockies. The cost of the one-hour flight includes transport from the hotel and a champagne toast.
This enormous resort has a wide variety of accommodation in a mixture of styles, from modern blocks to the mock-Tirolean architecture of Vail Village. There are catered chalets and apartments perfect for groups and a good number of intimate hotels that are ideal for couples.
One of Vail's original properties, the Sonnenalp has grown to include 112 luxury suites and 14 hotel rooms, all of which enjoy a view of either Gore Creek or Vail Village. All accommodation comes with a gas-log fireplace, large bathrooms with heated floors and complimentary internet access.Address: , , ,
Telephone: +1 970 476 5656
The Arrabelle at Vail Square
This slopeside retreat offers luxury accommodation, gourmet dining and an opulent spa. Its opening marked the beginning of the stylish redevelopment of the Lionshead area of the resort.Address: , , ,
Telephone: +1 970 754 7750
The centrally located Tivoli Lodge is just one block from the new gondola. Rooms come with large soaking bathtubs and many have fireplaces. The hotel serves breakfast and also houses popular pub the Brown Hound Lounge.Address: , , ,
Telephone: +1 970 476 5615
One of the more popular cheaper options in the resort, The Sebastian houses a modest spa, lively bar and outdoor swimming pool with mountain views and hot tubs. Rooms come equipped with all the latest mod cons including an MP3 docking station.Address: , , ,
Telephone: +1 970 477 8000
This roomy, pleasant and popular hotel between Vail Village and Lionshead has an outdoor pool, fitness centre and Wi-Fi internet access. Rooms are well priced and the on-site bar and restaurant has been voted the best sport's bar in the resort.Address: , , ,
Telephone: +1 800 284 8245
Lodge at Lionshead
A 3-star condominium complex that's one of the better value options in Vail, the Lodge at Lionshead offers guests free Wi-Fi internet access, an outdoor heated pool with hot tubs and a fitness centre.Address: , , ,
Telephone: +1 970 476 2700