One of the underrated benefits of living or staying within Vail’s town limits is the extensive public transportation system which runs completely free of charge all year. From most residential areas there is a bus stop within a ten minute walk, which whisks riders to the heart of Vail Village within minutes. Free in-town bus service also runs between the various resort villages that visitors can use to quickly move between gondolas and lifts to see as much of the over five thousand acres of exciting runs that Vail has to offer as possible.
If you happen to be living or staying in the Sandstone area or along North Frontage Road then you are particularly fortunate to need no vehicle at all to get to the slopes! As in any resort, town parking is certain at a premium, so the ability to cut parking out of your schedule and budget by utilizing the interstate spanning pedestrian bridge is quite a boon. At a brisk pace you can make it across the bridge and to the gondola line in under fifteen minutes, which is great if you are skiing on a limited amount of time.
At the top of Eagle Bahn Gondola out of Lionshead you have many route options, but today we will be focusing on this blogger’s personal favorite run: Simba run which is rated more difficult (blue). There are two “Kid’s Adventure Zones” located near the top of Simbra run that are sure to have smiles on youngster’s faces, and produce some great photos! Simba offers diverse terrain that is easy enough for most to make it down without a problem, but also boasts branching catwalks that learners can take at their own pace. Post Road catwalk can also be useful to quickly ride over to mid-mountain for even more fun.
Two main factors have made this less celebrated side of the mountain my personal favorite. Firstly, the convenience of having Pride Express Lift running from halfway down Simba/Safari to Eagle’s Nest makes meeting up with friends a breeze, without ever needing to wait, as most skiers and riders can make the loop in about twenty minutes. Secondly, this area features unusually wide runs so you can give others a wide berth and tackle the hill as fast or slowly as needed. Another benefit of having wide runs is you can always pull to the side of the run and take in the spectacular views of the Keller and Bald mountains to the North, or just take a breather and get the feeling back in your legs!
The lower half of Simba run takes a turn towards more challenging terrain, so if you have introductory level riders be sure to head down the diversionary Cheetah run, which meets back up with Simba after just a few turns while avoiding Simba’s most difficult stretch. At the end of the run you will find the Gondola that you started your journey on, along with many food and drink options, so get back up to the top and enjoy another trip down! See you on the slopes.