Skip to main content
Vail, CO
Vail, CO


How to experience Vail’s Back Bowls


The Back Bowls at Vail are legendary – and legendarily massive. Spanning nearly 3,000 acres, these wide-open slopes give way to incredible views, and even better skiing. They’re truly unlike any other skiing experience, making Vail a lifelong destination for skiers and snowboarders. The best thing about skiing Vail’s Back Bowls? There’s something for everyone, whether you want to cruise blues or challenge yourself with black diamonds.

But first, where do you start? Navigating the Back Bowls can seem a bit intimidating if you don’t have a plan of attack, considering how expansive they are. For the best, most comprehensive experience, get started with Sun Down and Sun Up Bowls. You’ll take the Eagle Bahn Gondola to the Game Creek Express Lift, dropping you right in front of these beauties. Pro tip: Use EpicMix Time to stay ahead of the game and keep an eye on lift line wait times.

Here’s a breakdown by experience:

Blues: Once you get off of Game Creek Express, go straight to Sun Up Bowl and make your way down Sleepytime Road. It’s a nice, long, winding trail that takes you across Tea Cup Bowl to the Orient Express Lift. Take that lift to the top and spend some time in China Bowl, where you have three beautiful blues to choose from: Chopstix, Poppyfields East, and Poppyfields West. If you want, do all three on repeat! Once you’ve taken on China Bowl, get on the Orient Express Lift and head over to Siberia Bowl, where you’ll take Silk Road to the Mongolia Lift. There, you’ll get off and continue down the winding, wonderful Silk Road, back to Orient Express, where you can revisit your favorite runs of the day. If you’ve gotten your powder fill by then, you can make your way to Belle’s Camp and into Blue Sky Basin to discover more of our expansive mountain.

Find a comprehensive guide to Vail’s Back Bowls for Intermediate skiers here.

Black Diamonds: Get your first black diamond fix with Ptarmigan Ridge in Sun Down. Veer left and hit some tress on Widge’s Ridge to get a little thigh-burning action in the Aspens. Take that down to the High Noon Express Lift. There are plenty of other black runs you can explore in Sun Down, but we’ll take you over to Sun Up for The Slot, a beautiful, wide-open run that feeds into Yonder. Take the High Noon Express Lift and this time, go down Yonder Gully to the Sun Up Express Lift. Now, you’re headed over to China Bowl, where you’ll take on Genghis Khan and head into the small but mighty Tea Cup Bowl. From there, take the Orient Express Lift into Siberia Bowl, which is famous for its powder. Hit Rasputin’s Revenge for a less-tracked run back to Orient Express, where you can revisit your favorites of the day. For more expert ski tips, check out our top spots for experts in this guide.

Whether you’re checking them off your bucket list or racking up more vertical miles, the Back Bowls are calling, and it’s high time you answer.


The Best of Vail's 2016-2017 Season
Last year was one for the books, with plenty of powder-filled days under bluebird skies. And with a few late-season storms, spring skiing offered great snow conditions paired with warm, beautiful weather. Get amped for the upcoming season by reliving the best moments of the 2016-2017 season.