Vail: A Winter Wonderland
Your insider guide to Rocky Mountain bliss
Vail owns bragging rights as being Colorado’s largest ski resort, offering more than 5,000 skiable acres. From its legendary Back Bowls to its freestyle terrain parks, the mountain has something for everyone. Modeled after an Austrian ski village, Vail oozes European charm and its two main hubs—Vail Village and Lionshead Village—are easily walkable and lined with restaurants, bars, and shops. Even non-skiers will find plenty to do, between ice skating in the village rink and exploring snowy trails by dogsled. Here’s an insider’s guide to the top winter experiences in and around one of the most exclusive ski resorts in the world.
Family-run restaurant Alpenrose transports guests to the Alps with hearty dishes like rösti and schnitzel. Splurge on a three-course feast in one of their fondue gondolas, kitted out with antler chandeliers, fur throws, and a Bluetooth speaker. Swiss fondue is the star of the meal, while guests can choose a bottle of Austrian red or white wine for the perfect pairing.
Skip the lifts and book a cross-country ski adventure with Vail Nordic School. Half- and full-day guided backcountry tours explore 35 trails of varying difficulty levels throughout the White River National Forest and showcase the area’s mining and 10th Mountain Division history.
Explore the surrounding snowy wilderness with Mountain Mushers. Your musher and their team of huskies have access to private trails that weave through glades of aspen and pine. Wool blankets keep guests warm throughout the 90-minute ride, and it’s common to spot wildlife such as fox, deer, coyote, and elk.
The new Slope Room bar elevates Vail’s après scene with its sleek setting of sapphire blue velvet booths and black-and-white photos by David Yarrow. Creative craft cocktails like the Old Fashioned Sour are complemented by gourmet bites such as beef tartare and arancini.
Tucked away on the third level of the Vail Village Parking Structure, the non-profit Colorado Snowsports Museum and Hall of Fame chronicles everything from the evolution of snowboarding to 100 years of ski fashion while also paying tribute to the state’s most accomplished athletes.
Where to Stay
Exclusive Resorts has nine ski-in/ski-out luxury vacation homes located right next to the Eagle Bahn Gondola at the Arrabelle in Lionshead Village. Perfect for families and groups, each home features three bedrooms and large living rooms with cozy fireplaces. Members have access to Arrabelle amenities like a state-of-the-art wellness center and rooftop pool and hot tub for the ultimate luxury winter holiday.
Select photos courtesy of Vail Resorts.