Nice picture. We are going to Vail in January. This is a our family's first trip there. Any tips to share? I booked airline ticket and lodging. I am still looking for lift ticket, ski rentals and lesson.
A few tips, in no particular order:
I made ski rental reservations in advance through rentskis.com. There are a number of rental locations near the slopes. I rented from Vail Sports, which is located at Arrabelle, right at the Lionshead base area. No complaints. They can hold the skis each night for you so you don't have to worry about lugging them back to the condo.
Check to see if there's any "stay free / ski free" type packages where you're lodging. You might be able to buy discounted lift tickets through the property.
If you like apple streudel, head to Pepi's (it's in Vail Village). They have some great apple streudel.
If you're staying at a condo, you can save on food by stocking up at the nearby Safeway or City Market. They're located in West Vail, off of I-70.
You'll find good mountaintop food at Two Elk Lodge. It's pricey, but not bad, and has a great view. Head there for a very early or very late lunch to avoid the crowds.
The gondola (from Lionshead base area) is free to ride in the evening. They have night tubing and other activities at the top of the mountain, but even if you don't plan to do those, it can be fun to ride the gondola up at night and see the views.
Your lift ticket will be valid at Keystone, Breckenridge, and Beaver Creek. For variety you can spend a day at one of those areas. (Keystone has night skiing on some of its slopes.) I didn't do that this trip, but was tempted to spend a day at Beaver, which is about 15-20 minutes west of Vail. (They have bus service between the areas.)
Be sure to check out the neat fountain/jumping water/fire feature in Vail Village. (Head through the pedestrian bridge and keep walking towards the mountain.)
There are gas grills on top of Blue Sky Basin. If you're industrious (and want to make everyone around you jealous), you can bring some food up and grill it. On a clear day you'll have one of the best views in Colorado.
Head to Game Creek in the morning, and when it starts getting crowded there (around 10:30-11 a.m.), you can head over to the Back Bowls. Game Creek has an impeccably groomed trail called Lost Boy that is a delight; it has great views and goes on and on. Simba (a blue on the far right of the front side of Vail) is a fun place to end a day; it's a great groomed cruiser.
Just a few tips off the top of my head...
Vail is incredible. You'll have a great time there and will have trouble going anywhere else in the future. It has something for everyone and conditions are almost always perfect. Main downside is that it can be pricey, but there seem to be lots of good deals this year. Vail is not immune from the current economic slowdown, and the base village seemed kind of dead at night. (Pepi's, normally a thriving apres ski joint, was nearly empty. That may be because it's still early season, but I think visits are off.)