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Plan Your Trip

Book online or call 888-500-5155 (+1-970-496-4910) to speak with a local expert.

Safety at Vail

At Vail, your safety is our top priority. Please read through the information below completely before you arrive to ensure your visit is a great and safe one!

Vail's Award Winning Mountain Safety Program

For the past twelve years, Vail has been recognized by the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) for exemplary on-mountain safety programming. Our Mountain Safety team, along with all Vail employees, is dedicated to on-mountain education and enforcement every day of the season. You’ll see Mountain Safety personnel in their trademark yellow jackets through-out the day in high traffic areas. Give them a wave!

Yellow Jackets cont

The Mountain Safety Program includes:
• Educating, enforcing, monitoring and providing positive reinforcement of “Your Responsibility Code” and the Colorado Ski Safety Act.
• Monitoring slow zones and high traffic areas across the resort.
• Increasing guest and employee awareness of safety initiatives through on-mountain and community-wide activities during National Safety Awareness Week and other designated dates through-out the season.
• Daily public service announcements and safety tips on TV8.
• Daily safety announcements with Ski School instructors and lift operators.
• Promoting the “Play it Safe, Play all Season” campaign to guests and fellow Vail employees.

*Note: Any employee in uniform is available to assist with safety questions and is empowered to suspend or revoke the skiing or riding privileges of anyone demonstrating reckless or inappropriate behavior.


Your Responsibility Code
Vail is committed to promoting ski safety. While visiting Vail mountain, you may be joined on the slopes by traditional alpine skiers, snowboarders, telemark or cross-country skiers, skiers with disabilities, and snowshoe-ers. Always show courtesy to others and be aware that there are elements of risk involved with skiing and snowboarding that common sense and situational awareness can help reduce. Know your ability level and stay within it. Observe “Your Responsibility Code”—listed below—and share the responsibility with others.

1. Always stay in control, and be able to stop or avoid other people or objects.

2. People ahead of you have the right of way. It is your responsibility to avoid them.

3. You must not stop where you obstruct a trail or are not visible from above.

4. Whenever starting downhill or merging into a trail, look uphill and yield to others.

5. Always use devices to help prevent runaway equipment.

6. Observe all posted signs and warnings. Keep off closed trails and out of closed areas.

7. Prior to using any lift, you must have the knowledge and ability to load, ride and unload safely.

Be advised that Vail Ski Resort does not mark all potential obstacles or hazards. When marked, poles, flags, fencing, signage, padding or other forms of marking are used to inform the skier/rider of the location of a potential obstacle or hazard. These markers are no guarantee of your safety. It is part of your responsibility under the Your Responsibility Code and the Colorado Ski Safety Act to avoid all obstacles and hazards. Learn more about safety on the mountain at  www.nsaa.org .

Colorado Ski Safety Act

The Colorado legislature, recognizing risks that are inherent in the sport, has passed the Colorado Ski Safety Act, which provides inherent risks of the sport and relative responsibilities of the skier; and the ski area. You must obey the Act. Under the Act, any person using the facilities of a ski area is considered a skier. A summary of the inherent risks is listed below:

Under Colorado law, a skier assumes the risk of any injury to person or property resulting from any of the inherent dangers and risks of skiing and may not recover from any ski area operator for any injury resulting from any of the inherent dangers and risks of skiing, including: changing weather conditions; existing and changing snow conditions; bare spots; rocks; stumps; trees; collisions with natural objects, man-made objects, or other skiers; variations in terrain; and the failure of skiers to ski within their own abilities.

The Ski Safety Act was amended in 2004 to include CLIFFS, EXTREME TERRAIN, JUMPS AND FREESTYLE TERRAIN as inherent dangers and risks of the sport.
Skiers and Riders should be advised that a green circle, blue square, or black diamond trail at Vail Ski Resort is not necessarily the same as a green circle, blue square or black diamond trail at other resorts. The system is a relative rating of trails at each resort and does not compare trail difficulty between resorts. Skiers and Riders should begin with the easiest terrain and then move up in difficulty as their ability permits in order to understand the relative rating at Vail.

Certain areas and trails at Vail, indicated on the trail map in red, are designated as SLOW ZONES. Mountain Safety staff, ski patrol and the Vail management team will be posted in the areas during high traffic hours. Please observe these posted slow areas by maintaining a speed no faster than the general flow of traffic. Slow Zones are often green circle beginner runs and therefore will host a spectrum of skiing abilities. Space and speed are especially important in these areas. Fast and aggressive skiing will not be tolerated.

Slow Zones to Know:
• Flapjack
• Lower Born Free
• Ch. 14 (Sourdough Express) Area
• Practice Parkway
• Bottom of Ch. 2 (Avanti Express)

High Altitude Environment: Some visitors may experience flu-like symptoms triggered by Vail’s high altitude. Symptoms may include but are not limited to: headaches, nausea, loss of appetite, restless sleep, coughing and difficulty breathing. Please make sure to allow your body time to adjust to the attitude especially if you are traveling from sea level. Be sure to drink plenty of water, eat and watch your alcohol intake. If symptoms persist or you have a concern about your health, please stop into one of Vail’s Ski Patrol outposts or call (970)-754-4610.

Electronic Devices: Vail Resorts strongly discourages the use of personal entertainment and communication devices and/or any other electronic equipment that utilizes head/ear phones while skiing and/or snowboarding, or loading and unloading lifts.

Cell Phones: Please familiarize yourself with important on-mountain phone numbers. Make sure you and your family members have a way to contact one another in the event of an emergency and please set up an emergency meeting spot.
Numbers to know:
Vail Ski Patrol: 970-754-4610
On-Mountain Emergency: 970-754-1111
Vail Security: 970-754-3049

Lift Safety: Under Colorado state law, you cannot board a lift unless you have sufficient physical dexterity, ability and knowledge to negotiate or use the lift safely, or until you have asked for and received information sufficient to enable you to use the lift safely. You may not use a lift or any ski trail while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Backcountry Awareness: Pursuant to the Colorado Ski Safety Act, the ski area assumes no responsibility for skiers traveling beyond the ski area boundary. To access the backcountry, use designated gates only. Areas beyond the ski area boundary are not patrolled, maintained or controlled. Avalanches, unmarked obstacles and other natural hazards exist. Be aware: the backcountry avalanche hazard may be extreme. Rescue in the backcountry, if available, is the responsibility of the Summit County Sheriff. It will be costly and will take time. Please educate yourself on the current avalanche conditions and the use of rescue equipment.

Caution Cats Working: You may encounter snowcats, snowmobiles and snowmaking equipment at any time on the mountain. Please give all on-mountain vehicles space.

Smart Style  vail safety

are designated with an orange oval and may contain jumps, hits, ramps, banks, fun boxes, jibs, rails, half pipes, quarter pipes, snowcross, bump terrain and other constructed or natural terrain features. Prior to using Freestyle Terrain, you are responsible for familiarizing yourself with Freestyle Terrain and obeying all instructions, warnings and signs.

Helmet use is encouraged! Watch a short film about helmet use.

Freestyle skills require maintaining control on the ground and in the air. Use of Freestyle Terrain exposes you to the risk of serious injury or death. Inverted aerials are not recommended. You assume the risk. Freestyle Terrain has designations for size. Start small and work your way up. Designations are relative to this ski area.

Freestyle Terrain
Smart Style Vail Terrain Park Safety

MAKE A PLAN. Every time you use Freestyle Terrain, make a plan for each feature you want to use. Your speed, approach and takeoff will directly affect your maneuver and landing.

LOOK BEFORE YOU LEAP. You are responsible for inspecting Freestyle Terrain before initial use and throughout the day. The features vary in size and change constantly due to snow conditions, weather, usage, grooming and time of day. Do not jump blindly. Use a spotter when necessary.

EASY STYLE IT. Always ride or ski in control and within your ability level. Do not attempt Freestyle Terrain unless you have sufficient ability and experience to do so safely. You control the degree of difficulty you will encounter in using Freestyle Terrain, both on the ground and in the air.

RESPECT GETS RESPECT. Respect Freestyle Terrain and others. Only one person on a feature at a time. Wait your turn and call your start. Always clear the landing area quickly. Respect all signs and do not enter Freestyle Terrain or use features when closed.

EXTREME TERRAIN contains cliffs, very steep slopes as well as rocks and other hazards. Skiing or boarding Extreme Terrain is for EXPERTS ONLY.

Learn more about safety on the mountain at  www.nsaa.org .

Wearing a helmet on the slopes reduces the chance of injury. Today’s high-tech models are light, warm, comfortable, breathable and customizable. U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission research shows that helmets would prevent or reduce 7,700 head injuries suffered annually on the slopes (44 percent of the national total). A top priority for Vail Resorts is the safety of its employees and guests. Vail Resorts’ employee helmet program, began in 2009 requires that all on-mountain personnel don helmets while skiing or operating snowmobiles. Over the course of any given season, Vail Resorts will provide about 6,500 helmets to employees at its seven mountain resorts. Children ages 12 and under who participate in group lessons at the five resorts’ ski and ride schools also will be required to wear helmets. In addition, children over the age of 12 who participate in designated children’s classes or programs must wear a helmet. Helmets will be a mandatory part of any child’s ski and snowboard package at all of Vail Resorts’ retail and rental outlets (unless a parent or legal guardian signs a waiver to decline use).

Uphill Access Policy

Please read the below fully before heading uphill! All uphill users are encouraged to call 970-754-3049 before each trip - find out where grooming operations are occurring and get suggested routes!

Non-lift access to ski area facilities; such as uphill snowshoeing, fat-tire biking, hiking or "skinning", may present high danger of personal injury to participants or others and therefore may be limited or forbidden based on conditions, on-mountain activity and/or mountain policy.

Vail Associates, Inc (VA). and the United States Forest Service (USFS) encourage use of public land.  Users should be aware that the public lands comprising Vail areas are under permit to VA by the USFS.  While enjoying these permitted lands, users must abide by VA and USFS’s restrictions and recommendations, including those summarized below.

The following summary of restrictions and recommendations for Uphill Travel to Vail is provided for your information and education and is available in all ticket offices. Designated uphill trails and operational or other restrictions should be obtained daily by calling the Trails Hotline, Vail 970.754.3049
Ski Area provided emergency services are only available when the ski area is open during normal daytime operating hours.

1.  Use of Ski Area Facilities

Under Colorado law, any person using any of the facilities of a ski area is considered a skier.  Skier’s responsibilities under Colorado law include, but may not be limited to, controlling speed and course at all times and maintaining a proper outlook.  Using a ski area for any purpose can be HAZARDOUS and the skier assumes all risks.


Under Colorado law, a skier assumes the risk of any injury to person or property resulting from any of the inherent dangers and risks of skiing and may not recover from any ski area operator for any injury resulting from any of the inherent dangers and risks of skiing including: Changing weather conditions, existing and changing snow conditions; bare spots; rocks; stumps; trees; collision with natural objects, man-made objects or other skiers; variations in terrain; and the failure of skiers to ski within their own abilities.  
The Ski Safety Act was amended in 2004 to includes CLIFFS, EXTREME TERRAIN, JUMPS AND FREESTYLE TERRAIN as inherent dangers and risks of the sport.

2.  Year-round Mountain Operations

Be aware that roads and trails on Vail and Beaver Creek Mountains may be used for many purposes and that construction and or maintenance activities take place 24 hours per day.  You may encounter vehicles on any road or trail at any time; be very cautious and yield the right-of-way.  Additionally, obey all posted warnings and trail closures.

The ski area begins 24 hour operations during the fall to prepare the slopes and trails for opening; 24 hour mountain operations continue through the ski season.  Activities may include snowmaking, snowcat and winch cat operations.  Areas in which activities are taking place may be closed.  Closure information will also be available on the Trails Hotline.  When such closures exist, only authorized personnel are permitted in closed area.  

3.  Vehicles

In accordance with a USFS Supervisor’s closure, no vehicles are allowed on Vail and Beaver Creek Mountains unless they have specific authority from VA or the USFS.

Forest Supervisor Order Number 98-02
Pursuant to 36 CFR, Section 261.50(a) and (b), the following acts are prohibited within the Vail Ski Area permit boundary within the White River National Forest, until further notice.
  1. Possessing or using any vehicle off Forest Development Roads
  2. Using any motorized vehicle on Forest Development Road 711 (Main Mountain Road)
  3. Using any motorized vehicle, or bicycle, on a trail posted as closed to motorized vehicle or bicycles\
  4. Shortcutting a switchback in a trail
The following persons are exempt from this order:
  1. Persons with a permit specifically authorizing the otherwise prohibited act
  2. Any Federal, State, or local officer, or member of an organized rescue or firefighting force in the performance of an official duty

4.  Snowshoeing, Cross-Country Skiing, Hiking, Etc.

Cross-country skiers, snowshoers and hikers are bound by Colorado Skier Safety Act, as amended, and should abide by Your Responsibility Code.  

Skiers must not impede or obstruct ski area operations at any time.  When engaged in any of these activities one should:

    During Daytime Operations
  1. Call the trails hotline
  2. Stay towards the side of the trail.
  3. Position yourself so that you are visible from above.
  4. Wear brightly colored clothing.
  5. Dogs are not allowed.
  6. Obey all pertinent signage.
  7. Avoid all areas where machinery is operating.

    During Nighttime Operations
  1. Call the trails hotline
  2. Abide by all of the above-described recommendations.
  3. Wear reflective materials.
  4. Carry a light.
  5. Avoid all areas where machinery is operating
  6. Keep dogs on a leash
  7. Be aware that ski area emergency services are not available. 

5.  Snowmobiles

In accordance with a USFS Supervisor’s closure, snowmobiles are only permitted on Vail and Beaver Creek Mountains when owned, operated or authorized by VA.  Any such snowmobile operators must be qualified, their snowmobile registered and both must comply with pertinent safety requirements.  Snowmobile use not authorized by VA is strictly prohibited.

6.  Mountain Bikes

During the winter operating season, the use of mountain bikes on Vail and Beaver Creek Mountains is strictly prohibited. Please use the following trails approved for Fat Tire Bike use in the Eagle-Holy Cross district:

  • East (FSR 415) and West (FSR 400) Brush Creek from the Forest Service administrative boundary on County Road 8 to Yeoman Park and Sylvan Lake. 
  • Gypsum Creek Road (County Road 102 / FSR 412) from the Forest Service administrative boundary for approximately 6-7 miles. 
  • West Lake Creek (County Road 25A) for 3 miles. 
  • Red Sandstone from the start of the FSR road off the pavement until the gate and the start of grooming at the kiosk approximately .5 miles. 
  • Sheephorn Road (County Road 401) for 6 miles.

7.  Winter Camping

Winter camping by the public is not allowed within the ski area’s special use permits unless authorized by the permitee and or USFS..


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