Known for its snow-capped mountains and of course, skiing, Vail, Colorado is a tourist destination for both winter and summer sports enthusiasts. But the small, Colorado community has even more to offer than just outdoor recreational activities.
Established as a village for the Vail Ski Resort in the 1960s, Vail has just more than 5,300 permanent residents. It is one of the largest ski mountains in North America, and is 8,150 feet above sea level. The White River National Forest surrounds the town, and the ski resort itself is leased from the forest service.
For those planning to visit Vail, the activities are endless. Those activities are vastly different depending on when your visit is planned. The winter months are dominated by winter sports – skiing, ice skating, snowboarding (like how you do it in Subway Surfers), snowshoeing and other cold-weather recreation opportunities. Visitors can choose to ski on Vail Mountain or nearby Beaver Creek Mountain or Ski Cooper. Each has its own distinct personality. And don’t worry about not coming with your own ski and snowboard gear. There are plenty of rental places along the way to take care of all your sporting needs.
Ski Cooper is geared more toward families. The mountain, which is 35 miles from Vail, is described as being more of a value as compared to other nearby mountains. Specialty lessons are offered as well as ski schools for children and adults. Beaver Creek Mountain, which actually encompasses three different ski mountains and two additional ski areas, is modeled after the slopes and communities in the European Alps. It accommodates skiers from beginner to expert and has six mountain zones. Among the various slopes are also half-pipes for snowboarders. All of the ski and snowboard locations are connected to each other via a trail system. Vail Mountain includes Village, Lionshead and Golden Peak. It offers trails for all levels and is touted as being a friendly, family-friendly option. It too provides ski lessons for children and adults alike as well as many other amenities to make your visit as comfortable as possible.
For some indoor fun year-round, Vail does not disappoint. There is Glenwood Caverns and Historic Fairy Caverns, the largest show cave available to the public in the state and Imagination Station, a hands-on children’s museum. Ballooning is also popular in Vail and can be done in either the winter or summer months. Taking a hot air balloon ride is not only a great way to see the Colorado landscape, but also provides the opportunity to see wildlife in a beautiful, picturesque environment. Depending on what time of year you go dictates the types of animals you will see.
In the mood to attend a festival? Vail is your destination. There is the Go Pro Summer Mountain Games in June and the Bravo! Vail music festival throughout the month of July. The mountain games bring more than 3,000 athletes to the community to compete in eight sports. The music festival is a great opportunity to enjoy music from groups such as the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic. There is also the Vail Jazz Festival, the Vail Arts Festival, Gourmet on Gore and Vail Oktoberfest, among others.
Visitors to Vaile in the summer can enjoy activities such as biking, hiking, camping, fly fishing or even a round of golf. Eagle County alone has 58 miles of recreational paths, all paved and perfect for any type of outdoor activity. Mountain biking is also an option with 343 miles of biking trails winding through the region. A number of companies offer rafting, tubing and kayaking options and outdoor enthusiasts can explore the Rocky Mountains via zip line.
But for those who want more of a relaxing visit to Vail, don’t worry. There is plenty to keep you busy. There is an endless amount of shopping opportunities in Vail and the surrounding communities. From souvenirs and gourmet food to fine art, there are shops and boutiques to fit every interest. In addition, Vail offers spas for that quick massage or facial. Many of these establishments offer additional, specialized services. Be sure to do your research before heading to Vail to find the one that’s right for you.