Vail Ski Vacation

By: Jason Palat

Anyone who visits Vail, Colorado understands why this resort is constantly ranked as one of Ski Magazine's Top 10 ski areas. It is home to three major ski areas, each of which is about the size of a regular resort.

The front side of Vail has hundreds of trails, as well as more high-speed quads than any area in the country. Expert skiers love the back bowls, which have six miles of black diamond powder skiing trails. Extreme skiers are particularly excited about the opening of the new Blue Sky Basin, which features over 600 acres of backcountry skiing. For beginners, the best areas are at Golden Peak and the top of the gondola. There is also a group of short green runs under the Sourdough Lift. Intermediate cruisers will enjoy the runs under the Eagle Bahn Gondola, or any run under the Avanti express chair.

Vail has gained the honor of becoming one of the most Eco-friendly resorts in Colorado by converting to wind power, a renewable source of energy. Ski with the Wind is a new promotion giving a free lift ticket to anyone who converts their home to wind power for a year through their partner, Renewable Choice Energy.

There are a few things you should consider when booking Vail lodging. During the winter season, many of the hotels have minimum stay requirements, and if you are planning to visit during March, which is the American Spring Break or during the holiday seasons, it may be challenging to find lodging if you do not book well in advance. While it is less expensive to stay in one of the neighboring towns, parking in Vail is very expensive. Weigh the options between the rates for off-mountain lodging in Vail against the going rate for parking. If you decide to stay on the mountain, the Lodge at Vail is a popular choice. It's located at the base of Vail Mountain, ten yards away from the village's main ski lift. Amenities at the Vail Lodge include a concierge, valet laundry, currency exchange, business center, babysitting, ski storage and rental, heated swimming pool, whirlpool, sauna, exercise room, parking, and meeting space. Most rooms have private balconies, mini-refrigerators hairdryers, and heated towel racks.

Off-Slope Activities

Vail is also a great place to explore Colorado ski history. Be sure to visit the Colorado Ski Museum at the Vail Transportation Center. http://www.skimuseum.net

The museum also has an excellent gift shop.

At night, you can get to know some Vail locals at the Sandbar in West Vail. The Sandbar tries to be many things to many people. Miraculously, it succeeds.

The owners also have bars in Florida and San Diego. This might explain the Surf theme for Sandbar Vail. The inexpensive drinks are what attract the plethora of locals who avoid the higher priced bars near the mountain. Later in the evening, the Sandbar becomes one of the hottest dance clubs in town.

Save some sobriety for evening activities at The Eagle's Nest, located at the top of the Eagle Bahn Gondola. Visitors can enjoy a game of laser tag, or try ski biking.

Dining

Although there are many fine-dining establishments at Vail, if you want a taste of true American cooking, visit Bart and Yeti's. Located in the Lionshead section of Vail, this restaurant serves specialties such as ribs and fried chicken at affordable prices. Call 970-474-2754

Shopping

If the price tags at stores in the Vail Valley lead to sticker shock, shop at Ritzy Recalls. This consignment shop features a vast variety of one-of-a-kind items with designer labels. (970) 845-7646.

Summer Activities

In the summer, enjoy cultural activities such as the Bravo: Vail Valley Music Festival. Equestrians can ride at the 4-eagle Ranch http://www.4eagleranch.com/

Fly fishing guides are available by Fly-fishing Outfitters http://www.flyfishingoutfitters.net/

Like golf? Enjoy the affects of altitude at the Vail Golf Club.

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