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Why Visit Vail Early Winter Season?

There are a lot of reasons to visit Vail in the “early winter season”, rather than waiting until Christmas, mid-Season or even March.  Early Season, like summer and fall, is a little known secret in Vail!  And, we want to share with you all the reasons to love the early winter season.

What is “early season” you ask? It’s that delightful period from Vail Mountain’s opening day, Friday, November 12, right through to the start of the holiday season, around Sunday, December 19.  Here’s the reasons why we love early season and know that you will too:

Enjoy More of Vail Mountain To Yourself
Many people don’t even consider taking a ski trip until holiday-time or after, which means that November thru about the 3rd week of December, you’ll find shorter lift lines and more space on your favorite trails to spread out.

Terrain offerings vary depending on natural snowfall, but with the help of Vail’s highly efficient and effective snowmaking operations, it’s common to experience over 1,000 acres of terrain opening weekend and additional lifts and run opening in quick succession thereafter. And, when snowmaking and  Mother Nature cooperate, you’ll find terrain open at MidVail (Chairs 3 and 4) and off the Avanti Lift, not just on the lower sections of the mountain.  By mid-December, we’re usually skiing the vast majority of the Front Side with over 3,000 acres at your ski-tips. If all things align, we’ve even seen a Back Bowl or two open at this time of year, too. No promises, but we always keep our fingers crossed!  Be sure to check back often for snow reports and terrain opening announcements.

There’s always something happening in Vail no matter the time of year, and from the high-energy fun of opening day (Friday, November 12) to the daily après scene, you are sure to find yourself a good time! And, early season festivities are an extra special celebration to kick-off the season!

  • November 12 – Opening Day
  • November 12 – December 11 Revely Vail –  Vail’s welcome to the brilliance of winter, will be presented this season with a mix of family experiences and celebrations including tree lightings, ice skating shows, silent disco, art workshops and more!
  • November 19 – January 5 – Magic of Lights of Vail – A family-friendly, winter lighting walkthrough experience, offering locals and destination guests alike a memorable, outdoor activity to complement their Vail experience. Set in the Ford Park Lower Bench and Betty Ford Alpine Gardens area, the half-mile walking loop features an array of majestic lighting displays, made from half a million individual low-impact LED lights, creating a winter wonderland and underlining the natural beauty of the surrounding area.
  • November 25 – Thanksgiving Holiday
  • December 2 – 5 – Vail Snow Days – 4 day festival with 2 nights of headline concerts.
  • December 12 – 31 Vail Holidays – The winter holidays are a magical time of year in Vail, with complimentary outdoor, socially distanced programs and activities for all ages
  • Daily – Vail Après – After a day of adventure, join in on the second awakening of our quaint alpine villages as bells ring to signify the start of Vail’s après ski.
  • December 9 – 12 – Powabunga Music Festival – 3 days of music and on mountain activities, an immersive experience just outside of Vail Village in Ford Park with performances by Rufus Du Sol, Bob Moses (club set), Vintage Culture, Channel Tres, N2N, Gavlak, Julia Sandstorm and MORE!

Lodging Deals
Fewer people in town means great deals on lodging! Search properties and amazing early season rates now – it’s a great time to experience Vail’s incredible properties at a fraction of holiday and higher-season rates.

The Town Experience
Early season may mean the pace is slower, but the Village and Lionshead are as vibrant as ever. Shops and restaurants are open, Christmas decorations are being put in place and the general excitement that the winter season is here is infectious!  And, with fewer people typically in town this time of year, you’ll find ample space to spread out and stroll the villages comfortably.

Early winter season is a great time to enjoy Vail’s world-class restaurants, often last minute and without reservations.  While Vail’s world-class restaurants can book up well in advance in the height of the season, early season means you may be able to call your favorite restaurant the day-of or even just stroll around to find your dining spot (we do always recommend making reservations just to be sure). If you’re lucky, there might even be an early-season special to take advantage off – lucky you!

The same goes for spas this time of year! We understand that your legs and stamina may not be up for skiing every day, so it’s the perfect time to take a break and recharge with a spa service.  Vail is home to many full-service spas and day spas to give you exactly what your body needs to recover and get out on the mountain for more. We encourage booking treatments in advance, but this time of year you may be able to book a treatment or two the day of!  And, there may be early season spa specials as a bonus!

Get Your Legs Under You & Test Out Your Equipment
With wide-open slopes and great lodging deals, why not spend a few early season days at Vail, building up your ski/snowboard legs for your next visit? If you’re planning to be on the mountain 4 or more days this season, one of our Epic Pass products might be right for you. If you only plan to get out there a few days this season, just be sure to buy online at least 7 days in advance to get the best deal.

It’s probably been at least a year since you thought about putting your feet in ski boots, pulling on the snow-pants, gloves, helmet and everything else that goes into your ski and snowboard “gear”.  So, why not test everything out early season to make sure it still fits, is tuned up and all working properly.  Gear advances happen each season and maybe this is your season to invest in new equipment.   Check out the latest gear at the many outdoor retailer outlets throughout Vail.


There you have it – the many reasons to come to Vail during the early season of winter.  But, if this timing doesn’t work for you, don’t worry…anytime is a great time to be in Vail!  What’s your favorite time to visit?