Like many mountain resort towns, Vail is best known for its winter season. Ample opportunities for skiing and snowboarding make Vail a no-brainer for outdoor enthusiasts. That said, skiers and snowboarders aren’t the only types of visitors you’ll find around Vail in the wintertime. We’re about to share plenty of winter activities that anyone can try in Vail.
Each year, Vail Village celebrates the start of ski and snowboard season with a four-day festival at Ford Park in Vail Village including free concerts, parties and a street fair. Prominent musical groups are invited to headline the stage. Don’t miss the early season ski/snowboard specials offered at the event!
Vail Ski Season
We know this is obvious, but the Vail and Beaver Creek resorts tend to be the biggest draws for winter visitors in the valley. The fresh air and wide open spaces on the mountains allow visitors to relax and enjoy the freedom of floating over ample snow. Skiing and snowboarding can be social activities, but they’re also individual sports which don’t require partners or groups to perform, so they’re accessible to anyone.
Nordic Skiing in Vail
If you’re not interested in the crowded winter resorts, you can give yourself more personal space out on the local trails.
The Vail Golf Club becomes the full-service Vail Nordic Center once snow covers the ground, where 17km of skate and classic cross country tracks get groomed daily. Snowshoers will enjoy 10km of scenic, ungroomed trail terrain. You can purchase a day or season pass to access the trails, or treat yourself to nordic lessons for personal pointers. During the winter, Vail Nordic Center is open from 9am–5pm every day; the tracks get groomed at 8.
Fat Biking in Vail
Fat biking isn’t easy, but it’s a great way to get on a bike during the winter, and a great way to get in a workout while outdoors. The more you (or others) hit the trails on fat bikes, the better the trails become for more fat biking! We recommend looking into several local options in the Vail Valley if you’re interested in giving it a try:
- The Vail Nordic Center (the winter incarnation of the Vail Golf Club) offers fat bike rentals and access to 13km of fat biking trails, and requires payment for access.
- The EagleVail Nordic Trail offers free public access to over 8km of trails which can be used for fat biking as well as nordic skiing.
- The Eagle Ranch Golf Course offers free public access to 6 miles of trails, including both groomed nordic tracks and fat biking trails.
- Boneyard is a popular summer hiking trail that becomes a popular fat biking route in the winter. While it’s not groomed, it gets enough use to make the conditions perfect to be a local’s favorite.
Ice Skating in Vail
Considering its reputation for skiing and snowboarding, you may be surprised by the number of ice skating rinks in the Vail valley. You’ll find ice skating rinks in both Vail Village and Lionshead; the Town of Vail has three (only two are outdoors). Eagle, Avon, and Beaver Creek all boast outdoor rinks, as does the Mountain Recreation (MountainRec) complex.
Sledding in Vail
For kids and adults who love to sled, Vail will become a favorite winter wonderland. Most local neighborhoods have hills suitable for sledding; however, there are few special spots near Eagle that you may want to try:
- While finding parking may be difficult, you’ll find a favorite local hill at the the west end of West Park in EagleVail.
- Parking may also be tough at the Singletree sledding hill near the golf course in Edwards, but it’s a perfect sledding slope and ends flat so you can slow down.
- The hill up to the clubhouse from the EagleVail putting green is a long one, but you don’t have to climb the full slope. Hike up as far or as little as you like. Parking here is no problem.
Vail Snowmobiling Tours
Colorado has over 2,700 miles of groomed snowmobile trails, as well as plenty of rugged, ungroomed trails for brave adventurers. Vail is one of the most spectacular snowmobiling areas, with gorgeous mountain landscapes and wide-open meadows fully blanketed with powder — the perfect snowmobiling conditions.
Nova Guides is a well-known snowmobiling outfitter near Vail, and their tours often involve shuttling from Vail or Beaver Creek to Leadville so that you get a full winter experience of the spectacular White River National Forest.
Winter Swimming in Vail
If you’re looking to stay warm instead of venturing out in the cold this winter, find a heated pool and relax.
- In Vail, you’ll find the luxurious yet laid-back Antlers pool, where you’ll swim and soak from a deck situated above Gore Creek. The hot tubs flank the main pool and are lined with natural stone. It’s perfect for adults but it’s also a family-friendly resort, so don’t hesitate to introduce your clan to its wonders.
- Vail’s Game Creek Chalet is a secret snowcat-required hideaway in the glades of Game Creek Bowl where a private chef will prepare a gourmet meal while you enjoy your hot tub soak.
- Eagle’s Westin Riverfront minimizes its pool chemicals to help you fully enjoy your experience soaking in their trio of infinity hot tubs or your swim in their heated, 25-yard pool.
- Down the road in Beaver Creek, you’ll have a view of the ski slopes while soaking in The Osprey’s outdoor pool and hot tub, plus you can even ski in or out, should you choose.
Have Questions About Vail Winters?
At Ron Byrne & Associates, we pride ourselves on our local knowledge. Not only do we sell real estate in the area; we’re also Vail Valley lifestyle experts! We can give you our personal tips so that you’ll get the true local experience when you visit — and, should you love being a “local” so much that you want to stay, help you find the best local real estate options!