Vail is a world-class resort fashioned after a European village and located only two hours west of Denver. It's also a haven for winter enthusiasts, upscale but approachable. Many accommodations offer a ski-in, ski-out option, and there's a free bus line that takes you from one point to another with ease. Whether you go for a long weekend, or get to stay and play longer, Vail has a lot to offer.
1. The number one activity in Vail is snowboarding and skiing. So if downhill sports are your thing, this lovely winter wonderland will provide lots of snow to enjoy your passion. Another beautiful day on the slopes — Photo courtesy of Scott Cramer/iStock
2. Don't forget to think "off the hill" to explore many other fun filled adventures, though. Head over to one of the many ice skating rinks in the area. If you are in Vail Village visit the rink at the Solaris or if in Lionshead visit the Arrabelle rink. Both rinks are in the heart of town and have shops close by to grab a hot chocolate and just observe and relax.
3. Don't miss a trip up to Adventure Ridge. Take the Eagle Bahn Gondola and enjoy ski bikes, tubing runs and a snowmobile track. There is a moderate charge but worth every penny in memories.
4. When the slopes close and its time to head indoors think about going bowling at Bol. This venue at Solaris in Vail Village is not the bowling alleys from your youth. Bol is luxury bowling with a comfortable atmosphere and a great menu offering burgers to gourmet food.Luxury Bowling and great food — Photo courtesy of Bol Vail
5. Did you think fishing was only a summertime activity? Join Minturn Anglers were you can experience winter fly fishing. They welcome beginners to experts and will cater to your needs. Everything is supplied so stand back and concentrate on your cast and the peacefulness of a Rocky Mountain stream.Fly Fishing in clear mountain stream — Photo courtesy of Minturn Anglers
6. Want to go higher? The altitude of Vail is 8120 feet, so how about a balloon ride to look down upon the great Rocky Mountains. Celebrating 25 years in the Vail Valley is Camelot Balloons. Take your camera for some breathtaking shots. They also have a photographer, for a minimal fee, to record your experience.
7. All abilities and fitness levels are welcome at Apex Mountain School of Ice Climbing. All equipment is provided. They guarantee customer satisfaction and a big smile on your face when you leave.
8. The boutiques can keep you busy shopping for days. Pack light so you have room to take home everything from a tee shirt to a fur coat. The galleries ship anywhere, so if a life size sculpture of a moose catches your eye, then shipping is no problem.
9. There are many restaurants to choose from. Every hotel has a signature restaurant inside, and all are wonderful, so don't dismiss what's right at hand. But if a sandwich for the slopes is more your style, you won't be disappointed with any of the delis on your walk to the lift. And of course there are restaurants all over the mountain for lunch if you need a break halfway down.
10. Every hotel has a spa that is warm and relaxing. There are over 15 spas in Vail, and just as many more within a 15 minute radius. A massage or oxygen treatment will really make you feel refreshed.
The Vail Valley is an active persons' paradise, but if you're looking for a more relaxed vacation, then Vail can satisfy that as well. It's a Rocky Mountain winter wonderland with a wealth of options.