Pictured: Some Vail Resorts trails maps from the 2019-20 season.

UPDATE: Limited quantities of trail maps may be available to those who request them at ticket windows.

A traditional ski resort staple is disappearing from all Vail Resorts mountains. A source within the company has confirmed to PeakRankings that physical pocket trail maps will not be returning to Vail’s resorts after the company discontinued them for 2020-21 due to COVID. Instead, guests will be advised to pull up mountain guides on the EpicMix app or individual resort websites. The company says the choice not to reintroduce trail maps is an environmental one as part of its Commitment to Zero, with concerns about paper use and viable virtual alternatives spearheading the decision.

PeakRankings Take

To some regular skiers and riders, this decision might seem like a minor inconvenience on the surface. However, there are some Vail-owned mountains, such as Kirkwood, Park City, and Stevens Pass, that don’t exactly have the best signage and/or trail map markings across the resort. Moreover, many expert zones across all mountains are notorious for the lack of signage to mark where trails start. These circumstances make physical maps quite critical for those learning a new mountain.

Additionally, while the corporate execs at Vail might think that mobile phones are a sufficient alternative to physical maps, it’s a widely known fact that phone batteries do not do well in the cold, making them impractical to use on the mountain. On top of that, many resorts lack the cell phone service even necessary to pull up a trail map.

Vail Resorts may have made this commitment under the guise of environmental responsibility, but we wonder whether they should consider more environmentally friendly ways to produce physical maps, such as using recycled paper, rather than discontinuing physical trail maps altogether. At the very least, we hope they’ll compensate by adding better signage and more maps across their resorts. It seems those who are in the know may be able to snag maps at the ticket window this winter, but given the ever-increasing proportion of guests who opt for advanced-purchase access products, it’s less and less likely that visitors will stop by here. Hopefully guests who need one can figure this out.

For more on how the Vail Resorts mountains stack up against the competition, check out our rankings of the best ski resorts in the US and Canada.

See the full article on peakrankings.com: https://www.peakrankings.com/content/vail-resorts-permanently-axes-trail-maps-at-all-its-resorts/