My dad calls Vail, ‘God’s Country.’ I agree.
- More about your oliver guide: Cynthia Pillsbury
- Trip type: Adult, Family, Mountains
- Activity level: high
- Ideal length of trip: 5-7 DAYS...OR AN ENTIRE SEASON
to & from
Fly directly to Eagle Vail Airport (45 minutes West of Vail) from certain locations (LA, Chicago, Dallas, NY) or fly to Denver and rent a car if staying outside of Village or take Colorado Mountain Express/Epic Transportation. Skip connecting through Denver to Eagle, takes about the same time and significant risk of missing your connection.
Where to Stay
If hotels are you thing Sonnenalp Hotel is our very favorite. The cozy atmosphere, charming spa and delicious breakfast buffet are second to none. For a less expensive, but PERFECT location, Christiania At Vail is a great option. Minutes from Golden Peak and Gondola #1 complete with a pool that is the temperature of a hot tub. If renting a house is more your speed for cozy fireside nights check out AirBnB or HomeAway/VRBO. Ideal to stay in the Village (East to West, North to South) to take advantage of the FREE Town of Vail bus service to the slopes.
Where to Eat and Drink
- Terra Bistro, Sweet Basil, Bully Ranch and Swiss House at The Sonnenalp, and Campo de Fiori are favorite standbys.
- Yama Sushi, Bol (Bowling Alley with DELICIOUS food), Mountain Standard, Almresi are relatively new to the scene and are great.
- Apres at Los Amigos deck on a sunny day or opt for rowdy music and the scene at Red Lion or choose live music and Glogg wine at Almresi or The King's Club at the Sonnenalp. Phil Long at The Chop House in Lionshead will be the best sing- along in North America. Trust me. All are perfect places to end your day on the slopes depending on your mood.
- For more of an adventure take a cat-driven sleigh to Beano's Cabin in Beaver Creek for a special treat.
- On Mountain the Wild Rice Soup at Wildwood Smokehouse is the best!
- Glogg Wine at Almresi
- Mud Slide at Bully Ranch
What to Do
- Hire a Mountain Guide if you are not familiar with the mountain. It's big and can be overwhelming if you are not familiar.
- Check out Adventure Ridge (top of Lionshead Gondola). Kids can do the Forest Flyer (alpine slide), ski biking, tubing, kids' snowmobiling
- Ski Chair 10 on Saturday am- Blue Ox will be groomed. Furthest East Run on front side of Mountain. Heavenly
- Ice Skating in Vail or Lionshead Villages
- (Window) Shopping at Gorsuch
- Take advantage of the cool (free) Vail offers. On Sundays in January you can hook up with Vail Patrol and do the "sweep" at the end of day.
- Drink water, water and more water to adjust to the high elevation. If you have issues with altitude, consider spending a day or night in Boulder or Denver.
- Make ski school reservations 3-4 weeks in advance during holidays-Golden Peak for Vail Village or Lionshead if staying in Lionshead.
- Make dinner reservations early (most restaurants take reservations 1-2 months in advance for high season- February and March) but if it's just two people most restaurants mentioned above have great bars with complete menu service.
- If you are staying in the Village you don't need a car, you can have groceries delivered to your condo. IF you are staying in the Valley and want a car to drive into dinners at night, the price of a rental car will probably be less than multiple seats on Colorado Mountain Express (CME).
What to Pack