When Olympic and World Cup champion Lindsey Vonn isn’t busy adding to her collection of medals, she always comes home … to Vail.You could argue that all of Vail, Colo., is Lindsey Vonn territory. Set in the Colorado Rockies at 8,150 feet, this high alpine resort has been home to the Olympic gold medalist and World Cup champion since she relocated from Minnesota 15 years ago at age 12. Vonn enrolled in the prestigious Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy, competed in the Junior Olympics and easily landed a spot on the U.S. Ski Team prior to the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City. Since winning the gold in downhill and a bronze in the Super-G at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, Vonn has become a household name in America. Today, Vonn is lauded as perhaps the best ski racer in the world. Not the best woman racer, but the best racer — period.
As she has manifested into an international phenom, Vonn has simultaneously elevated the profile of Vail Resort, one of her sponsors. She praises Vail in her myriad media interviews. She sits on the board of Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy and hosts pep rallies for the school’s athletes. Her year-round resort appearances highlight Vail’s efforts to mentor children and inspire all to pursue their dreams. She keeps a luxury apartment at Vail’s Ritz-Carlton Residences and also rides the free town shuttle. She’s quick with an autograph and this year is launching Ski Girls Rock, a premium ski program for girls at the Lionshead Ski & Snowboard School in Vail. All this while maintaining a rigorous training and competition schedule that has her jetting to the world’s steepest, iciest mountains. No matter how far afield her ski career takes her, Lindsey Vonn has made one thing clear: Vail is home.
And within that home is one spot so indisputably Vonn that a visitor could be forgiven for starting their vacation at breakneck speed to see what it feels like — just for a minute, mind you — to ski like a superstar. That place is Lindsey’s, the expert-level ski run that was known as International before being renamed in 2010.
“It is definitely the most challenging run on the mountain, and they never groom it,” Vonn says. “It’s icy! It’s a classic run in Vail, and I was shocked when they renamed it after me. Shocked and honored.”
Not game for testing your newly tuned edges and sea level ski legs on Lindsey’s? No problem. Vonn gladly plays tour guide. Not surprisingly, she starts with the skiing and riding.
“I’ve skied at every major resort, and Vail has the most vertical feet and the best snow,” she says. “You can ski forever and never ski the same run twice. It’s not comparable to other places. Vail has the best skiing in the world.”
Gauntlet tossed, she turns to the town itself.
“But it’s not like there’s only skiing here,” she says. “It’s so cozy and quaint.”
Vail encompasses three main compass points (running east to west): Golden Peak, Vail Village and Lionshead Village. Last year, the resort completed a $2 billion renovation dubbed Vail’s Renaissance. The effort saw the construction of the Arrabelle at Vail Square and surrounding merchants in Lionshead; Vail’s Front Door Project, which offers skier services, ticket sales, ski school and ski storage in Vail Village; construction of exclusive townhomes and of the Vail Mountain Club; renovations to the Lodge at Vail and the addition of the lodge’s spa; construction of the Ritz-Carlton Residences, Four Seasons, Solaris, the Sebastian and more.