Vail, incorporated in 1966, is located in the Rocky Mountains in central Colorado and is divided into the following areas through the narrow Vail Valley: West Vail, Vail Village, Lionshead, Golden Peak, and East Vail.
Vail was the hunting ground and summer residence of the Ute Indians before the arrival of the white man in the mid-19th century. Irishman George Gore, known as Lord Gore, and American frontiersman Jim Bridger were among the first explorers to venture into the mountainous region.
By the 1870s, news spread that the Gore Range contained both gold and silver. Mines were set up, railroad tracks were laid down, and the Utes were driven from the land; upon their departure, the Utes allegedly set fire to thousands of acres of trees, resulting in the deforested area today known as Vail's famous Back Bowls.
Miners eventually abandoned the valley and it was home to sheep ranchers until 1939, when construction began on Highway 6, running from Denver through the Gore Valley. Charlie Vail, the town's namesake, was the project's engineer.
During World War II, the Army's 10h Mountain Division trained at Camp Hale, about 20 miles from Vail. After the war, many of the men who trained there were drawn back to the mountain valleys, including one of Vail's founders, Pete Seibert.
Today, Vail features a world class ski resort, dining, entertainment, and cultural events as well as an abundance of outdoor activities within the town and the surrounding areas.
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