Vail Colorado in summer
Vail was built to look like a Swiss town, with Gore Creek running through the middle. | Photo by Rick Kimpel /

Staff writer

Vail is an intentionally built town, planned along with Vail Ski Resort. The resort opened in 1962 and the town in 1966.

Founders were rancher Earl Eaton and Pete Seibert, who trained for the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division 14 miles from the location of the town they would co-found.

The town is named for state highway engineer Charlie Vail, who directed construction of Highway 40 through the Vail Valley in 1932. Interstate 70 follows the old highway for much of its route.

Vail is surrounded by the 350,000-acre White River National Forest.

Tourism is the primary business, and an average of 1 million visitors oblige every year.

In addition to skiing, visitors come year-round for concerts, hiking, mountain biking, golf, fishing and rafting.

Beaver Creek ski area
Betty Ford Alpine Gardens
Colorado Ski & Snowboard Museum
Vail Ski Resort

Vail facts
Population: 5,305 (2010 Census).
Land area: 4.5 square miles.
County: Eagle County (Eagle is county seat).
Altitude: 8,022 feet above sea level.
Climate: Cool summers, very cold winters and low humidity, with abundant sunshine year-round. Annual precipitation of 22 inches, including average snowfall of 183 inches. Snow depth of 25 to 31 inches in January and February. January averages: high 29, low 6. July averages: high 78, low 41. More weather