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Safety & Sustainability

Everyday our community is working towards a sustainable future. In your travels and adventures around the Vail Valley, help us keep this land pristine and healthy for future visitors and generations. It is also imperative to know the safety precautions when traveling and recreating in the mountains. Possible dangers include, but aren’t limited to, deadly avalanche accidents, injury, getting lost, being caught in a storm, hypothermia — and even freezing to death. You can also face dangerous conditions simply by walking into the backcountry, including those caused by wildfires, like ash pits, falling and fallen debris, and flash floods.

Click below to learn more:


Summer Environment & Safety Tips

  • Protecting our environment: During your stay, remember to practice Leave No Trace principles. Remember to pack out your trash, avoid overcrowded hiking trails and biking trails, and please avoid causing wildfires with open flames and smoking.
  • Safety Precautions: Try to avoid wearing cotton by instead putting on quick dry clothing to avoid hypothermia. Wear socks and proper footwear when recreating in mountain terrain. Stay hydrated and bring extra water, as well as be sure to use sunscreen when appropriate.

Trail Etiquette

  • Stay on Trail & Follow Signs — Stay on the designated trails and follow the posted signs. Going off trail can damage or kill certain plant or animal species, and can hurt the ecosystems that surround the trail.
  • Obey Trail Closure Signs — Many of our local trails remain closed during certain seasons to protect the wildlife during breeding season.
  • Follow Right of Way Rules — Hikers coming uphill have the right of way. If you’re descending the trail, step aside and give space to the people climbing up.
  • Bring Your Trash Out With You — Any user of recreation lands has a responsibility to clean up before he or she leaves. Inspect your rest areas and campsite for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all trash and garbage and dispose of it properly when you can.
  • Be Respectful Hiking with a Dog — Determine if the trail you are planning to hike allows dogs, and if so, keep your dog on the trail with you (and follow the leash law if applicable). Be sure to pick up and pack out the doggy doo.
  • Do Not Disturb Wildlife — They need their space, and you need yours, too. Keep your distance from the wildlife you encounter to avoid stressing the animal.

Respect the Wild

The wildlife in Eagle County represent a pride point for many locals. Our wild friends are an essential part of a complicated and interconnected ecosystem, but living around humans poses challenges, especially with the changing of seasons and life cycles. Luckily, we can do a number of things to make life easier for wildlife.

  1. Respect Wildlife — When you see wildlife, it’s essential to not approach or harass them. Human disturbances can exacerbate loss of body weight, reduce reproductive success, and decrease survivability of the fawns and calves.
  2. Respect Trail Closures — Trails are closed to protect critical winter habitat and migratory & feeding routes. Violation of seasonal trail closures can keep wildlife from precious resources and resting spaces.
  3. Keep Your Dog(s) Leashed — When dogs chase wildlife, it burns precious calories and can separate infants and nursing mothers.

Outdoor & Wildfire Safety

With abundant recreational opportunities, the natural beauty and activities associated with the Eagle River Valley attract thousands of visitors to the valley each year. Make sure you enjoy the great outdoors, safely, year-round.

  • The most effective way to prevent mishaps is to adequately prepare. Knowledge of the area, weather, terrain, limitations of your body, plus a little common sense can help to ensure a safe and enjoyable time in the mountains.
  • Travel with a companion. Leave your itinerary with a friend or family member and check in with them upon your return.
  • Wear appropriate clothing and shoes (no cotton and quick dry clothing). Be prepared for drastic changes in temperatures and weather conditions.
  • Be weather wise. Before you leave, find out the weather report. In this area, weather can change very quickly so know the signs for approaching storms or changing weather conditions. Avoid bare ridge tops, exposed places, lone trees, streams, and rocks during lightning storms.
  • Learn basic first aid so you will know how to identify and treat injuries and illnesses. Carry a first aid kit with you.
  • Build campfires in a safe area, and never leave a fire unattended. Make sure the fire is completely out before you leave. Embers buried deep within the pile have a tendency to reignite later.
  • Avoid open flames and DO NOT smoke outside during a fire ban.

Altitude Sickness

Higher altitudes can be stressful for the body. When you go to higher altitudes, the barometric pressure drops and there is less oxygen available. Take a few precautions to feel your best while you’re here:

  1. Drink plenty of water.
  2. Watch for symptoms: nausea or vomiting, dizziness or light-headedness, shortness of breath upon exertion, insomnia and persistent rapid pulse rate.
  3. Take it easy – even if you are fit, you can still feel the effects if you push yourself too hard too quickly. Resting is often the most effective remedy for altitude sickness.
  4. Seek medical attention if you observe any life-threatening symptoms.

Winter Motor Vehicle Safety

Driving during severe winter weather conditions can be demanding. How you handle your vehicle in those conditions could be the difference between a safe trip and serious trouble. The best advice for driving in bad winter weather is not to drive at all, if you can avoid it. If you must go, scan for travel warnings and pass-closure alerts before hitting the road. Be sure your car has winter-appropriate tires or compliant traction equipment. And, if you’re renting a vehicle, it’s best to reserve one with AWD or 4WD before heading up into the mountains.

Driving Safely on Icy Roads

  • Equip your car with proper winter tires.
  • Decrease your speed and leave yourself plenty of room to stop. You should allow at least three times more space than usual between you and the car in front of you.
  • Brake gently to avoid skidding. If your wheels start to lock up, ease off the brake.
  • Turn on your lights to increase your visibility to other motorists.
  • Keep your lights and windshield clean.
  • Use low gears to keep traction, especially on hills.
  • Don’t use cruise control or overdrive on icy roads.
  • Be especially careful on bridges, overpasses and infrequently traveled roads, which will freeze first. Even at temperatures above freezing, if the conditions are wet, you might encounter ice in shady areas or on exposed roadways like bridges.
  • Don’t pass snow plows and sanding trucks. The drivers have limited visibility, and you’re likely to find the road in front of them worse than the road behind.
  • Don’t assume your vehicle can handle all conditions. Even four-wheel and front-wheel drive vehicles can encounter trouble on winter roads.

Colorado Backcountry Winter Safety

Winter backcountry recreation can be tremendously rewarding, but it’s not without risk. No matter your chosen activity — from hut trips and ski touring to snowmobiling, ice fishing and more — if you plan to head off the beaten path, please do so responsibly. It’s your duty to be prepared, always tell someone where you’re headed and when you’ll be back home, and check the weather forecast and for area closures.

Your responsible behavior now will not only protect others; it also ensures Colorado Search and Rescue’s limited volunteer resources are preserved for true backcountry emergencies.

Learn more >>

Avalanche Awareness

Traveling into Colorado’s wintry landscape might be a bucket-list item for some, but it shouldn’t be done on a whim (or without proper planning — like checking the avalanche forecast, education and gear).

First, understand the risks:

It doesn’t matter what your mode of transportation is either. Be it snowmobile, snowcat, snowshoes, cross-country skis, touring skis, splitboard or simply by foot, traveling through Colorado’s wide-open snowscape is inherently risky.

According to Colorado Avalanche Information Center’s director Dr. Ethan Greene, “On average, six people die in Colorado in avalanches each year. It is more than any other natural hazard [that’s] weather related. More people die in avalanches in Colorado — on average and in total — than any other state.”

Survival, if you’re buried in an avalanche, is about 45 percent.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Here are some tips for you to reduce your carbon footprint while visiting the Vail Valley.

  • Use a reusable water bottle. You definitely want to stay hydrated during your stay, but avoid single-use plastics when you can. Plus, we have some of the freshest tap water around so buy a souvenir water bottles and drink our fresh mountain water!
  • At your hotel, choose to not have your linens and towels washed every day. You don’t wash your towels and linens at home daily, do you?
  • Take the bus, walk or bike around town. Our in-town transportation systems are designed for you to leave the car where you parked it, and less cars on the road means cleaner air, less traffic and better views!
  • Better yet, leave the car at home. If you fly to Eagle County Airport don’t rent a car. You won’t need it when you arrive at the resort. If you are coming from Denver consider something like Epic Mountain Express, the Bustang or carpooling with friends.
  • Recycle! There are recycling bins everywhere so please use them.
  • Lights out. When you leave your hotel room or accommodations, don’t forget to turn out the lights. You wouldn’t believe what a difference this can make.
  • Eat in, don’t take out. Eating at a restaurant rather than ordering food to go lowers plastic and styrofoam containers in the trash.
  • Support Actively Green Businesses (businesses that focus on sustainability). Browse the list of businesses here.

Restaurants & Bars

In the Vail Valley, eating isn't merely sustenance - it's an important part of the lifestyle. From fine dining hotspots to casual comforts, it's not hard to find great food. Colorado is known for their locals breweries, distilleries and even wineries. Come sample a taste of Colorado and even international spirit favorites.

Activity Providers

Sure, Vail is world-renowned for its skiing and snowboarding, but the Vail Valley offers plenty beyond vast bowls of bluebird powder days and grippin' groomers. Whether you prefer your adventure water-drenched, iced, air-borne, cliff-side, cycled, motorized or snowy out mountain recreation covers it- and much, much more.

Vail Valley Events

Ski terrain and wonderful snow put the Vail Valley on the map, but it's more than just a ski resort. The calendar is packed with events that are a big part of the Vail Valley's culture. From outdoor concerts at the Ford Amphitheater to bull riding at the rodeo, it's easy to stay busy.