50th birthdays seem to be a good time to plan a trip. Dare I admit that I turned fifty awhile ago. My husband gave me carte’ blanche to plan a trip to celebrate my 50th. Most of our previous trips involved a lot of input on his part but this time he let me plan whatever hit my fancy! So this year, he is turning 50. His dream trip involved helicopter skiing … (my nightmare trip, by the way). Even though I’m an experienced skier the idea of helicopters and avalanches keeps me up at night. Did I mention his dream heli skiing trip involved the kids, too???? I have been gearing up for this the last few years knowing it was coming … “do I let him take the kids without me?” or “do I overcome my fears and go with them so we all die together?” Am I the only one who has crazy thoughts like that???
Fortunately for me, my husband has somehow decided that on his birthday weekend we are going to Vail instead of heli skiing (an answer to prayer maybe?). So those of you looking for a blog on heli skiing will have to wait. I am assured by my husband that that day will come so that blog will come whether I am on the trip or not.
In the meantime, this is a round about way to say that this blog is about our trip to Vail. I’ve been skiing in Vail off and on for about the last 40 years. I grew up going to Vail with my family and a group of other families from St. Louis where I grew up. Then I went a few times in my 20s with friends, then as a young married couple and now this is our third trip to Vail with our kids. So I’ve seen Vail from several viewpoints over a wide span of years.
There are so many great things about Vail that you can’t beat! For us, the proximity to the Denver Airport, the amount of skiable terrain and the village charming style and practical infrastructure make it an easy destination from Seattle.
We fly into Denver International Airport and drive a quick two hours to Vail. As much as possible, we try to find a reasonably priced ski in – ski out hotel in the village. With kids it’s hard to pass up the opportunity for ski in – ski out. But if you can’t find anything in the village, you can count on the Vail transit system to provide reliable transportation to and from the mountain.
Vail Resorts does an excellent job of maintaining the Vail culture and continuing to innovate and create new experiences. The village, designed to look like a quaint European ski village, is charming but has to compete with authentic mining towns such as Aspen and Park City. They definitely get an A for effort.
Here’s my take on Vail for everyone:
Downhill Skier – Ski Blue Ox
Apres Ski Connoisseur – The Red Lion Restaurant and Nightclub – it’s not fancy but it’s THE spot.
Snow Bunny– Shop at Gorsuch but only if you don’t need to look at price tags.
Spa Bunny – The spa at The Sonnenalp is a key location for working out sore muscles. The oxygen bar doesn’t hurt either.
Selfie-obsessed – EpicMix Photos on mountain photographers are everywhere and make taking photos easy.
Socially OCD – Download the EpicMix app to track your vertical and connect with friends.
Foodie – Dine at Sweet Basil – award-winning food since 1977
Romantic – Take a sleigh ride to Beano’s Cabin for dinner
Anti-eco-terrorist – Lunch at Two Elk site of the 1998 arson fire that burned down the lodge. One of the most beautiful mountain lodges anywhere.