Winter Activities - Best in the Vail Valley
“The Cold Never Bothered Me Anyway” - Every Colorado Resident Ever
Spring is far from sprung, and the hustle and bustle of the winter holidays grows dim in our rearview mirrors. One might say this is the lull of winter in the Valley (or really anywhere with a chill.) Somewhere between “good tidings of great joy” and “April showers bring May flowers”, it’s easy to hole-up, sink into some fuzzy socks and your favorite chair, and choose Netflix hibernation mode as our sole winter activity from here on out.
Listen, we love a solid flick as much as the next team. But this is the Vail Valley, we’re talking about. When you’re here, you’re family. Wait, that’s Olive Garden. Seems true for Vail too, but anyway.
Like we said, this is the Vail Valley. As much as we could pass on the days that threaten to freeze our orbital bones or eyeballs solid, we live for the winter - and more specifically - for the winter activities.
Truth be told, we’re still learning over here what all the underground hotspots and can’t-miss winter activities around Edwards. So we pooled a little research on our own with some recommendations from one of our favorite local experts, Will Schleifer of TV8- a well-respected Advertising Consultant overflowing with connections, stories, and local recommendations.
So here goes. Whether you’re in for a weekend trip or a local with a bit of cabin fever, here’s our top ten winter activities you’ve got to check out in the Valley before the snow melts.
Confused? We were too. Lucky for us (and you), skijoring is the winter spectator sport of our dreams (or at least of comedies). Head to nearby Leadville from March 6-8 this year for the highest speed skiing you’ll find on flat ground. Think Kentucky derby meets drag racing meets slalom skiing. Will describes this crazy sport as “a man on skis going over jumps while being pulled by a horse at full speed. What could go wrong?” Count us out for participating and in for bringing the popcorn and maybe a first-aid kit.
Open Air Sleigh to Dinner at Beano’s Cabin
A Will Schleifer favorite, this charming Vail winter activity will have you and your partner cuddled up in a snowcat-drawn sleigh to turn up the warm fuzzies in a dinner excursion you’ll talk about for years to come. Heck, this is the stuff of the Bachelor franchise. According to the website, Beano’s Cabin is often recognized by “Distinguished Restaurants of North America”. Needless to say, it’s a high-class establishment with all the allure of a cozy winter wonderland.
Vail Legacy Days
This can’t miss Vail winter activity is a staple event every year. The mid-February celebration includes self-guided historical tours, parades, face-to-face meetings with the Colorado National Guard, a ski trooper race, helicopter landings, and a host of other events honoring the history and legacy of Vail and the surrounding area.
Pond Skimming in Vail: Closing Day
Apparently, Vail saves the best winter activity for last. Will says, “If you’re in the area, it’s an absolute must see.” In this part-sport, part-show spectacle, participants aim to ski and snowboard across a pond while throwing in some comedy for the sake of the audience. According to Will, participants do quite a good job of entertaining the audience but don’t have quite so much luck in crossing the pond.
Winter Culinary Weekend
Beaver Creek’s late January Culinary Weekend is a foodie-fantasy that will water your taste buds and refine your palate. Hosted by the fantastically talented Andrew Zimmern (who you’ll recognized from the Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods and Food Network’s Big Food Truck Tip), this luxe weekend offers unrivaled themed dinners, guided tours, tastings, classes, demonstrations and more. (Hurry, it’s happening soon!)
Vail Valley Art Guild: First Fridays in Minturn
If you find yourself close by on the first Friday of any month, and you’re aching for a little local flavor, head to the Vail Valley Art Guild in Minturn. Now of course, this event isn’t seasonal like some of the others, but we think the cold days of January, February, and March are the perfect backdrop for a cozy walk through some art. Will says this isn’t your adrenaline-filled winter activity, but “if you want to see talent from some of the local artists . . . in the valley, this is the place.”
Complimentary Ski Tours
Spending a day or week on the slopes of the famed Vail Mountain? Switch it up a little by joining one of the complimentary ski tours led by experienced mountain guides. They’re a lesser known perk of your lift ticket purchase! Every day except Saturday, you can cross this winter activity off your bucket list at 10:30am or head over at 10:15am on Tuesday, Thursday, or Friday for a more advanced tour of the back bowls. Ladies looking for a Girls Day Out that takes the cake? Bring your crew for an all-female tour of the back bowls every Monday and Friday at 10:15am.
Guided Snowshoe Tours
Adults and kids are all invited to the daily free snowshoe tours offered by Walking Mountains Science Center. Take an hour to roam through the Valley’s stunning great outdoors in a winter activity fit for pretty much the whole family. And, it’s a good workout for both your bodies and brains.
Vilar Performing Arts Center
Though the namesake of the venue brings up a variety of Valley opinions, the stunning architecture and a wide variety of talent make the Vilar Performing Arts Center a worthwhile stop, according to Will. Take a lap on the ice rink located just above the center, then pop downstairs with 529 others for an intimate concert, comedy show, play, or musical. Will says you won’t find a bad seat in the house.
Burton US Open
You heard that right. The U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships take place right here on Vail Mountain. Watching the Olympics on TV is cool. This is WAY cooler. From February 24th to February 28th, you’ll find the biggest names in snowboarding making their way through Vail’s slopes and halfpipes. Concerts, shopping, entertainment, and snowboarding . . . gnarly.
Curious about what we can do for you while you’re in the area? Check out our winter Rise workshops here.