Women's Ultimate 4 — Photo courtesy of Jack Affleck
The vibe in Vail is always top notch, but this winter, Vail has launched a new focus: women. The array of new programs hope to empower ladies to hit the slopes, and then retain them as longtime skiers.
Since females plan 80% of all travel, we expect a tailored program like Vail's to be a hit. Paired with Vail's amazing culinary scene, convenient accommodations, shopping and spas, this resort town has everything you could ever want.
Here are 10 ways Vail is winning 2016.
Vail Ski School — Photo courtesy of Jack Affleck
1. New Women’s Programs–Women’s Ultimate 4
These half-day ski lessons are capped at only four attendees and led by a female instructor from the Vail Ski & Snowboard School. This small group setting is designed specifically to make women feel more confident in their skiing and brush up on their current skills.
Learning from a female instructor made my experience less intimidating, more comfortable, supportive and inspiring. My instructor, Ruth Demuth, explained, “We want you to feel in control, and as a mother myself, I know if I am in control. I teach women to know they can ski and they won’t get hurt.”
Ruth not only showed me how to carry my skis like a professional, but also how to finally master the art of parallel skiing. She also helped instill confidence in me, pushed me further than I imagined I could go and reminded me to always laugh and smile while skiing.
Offered 12:45 to 3:15 p.m., the Women's Ultimate 4 schedule pairs conveniently with the children's ski school, so moms and non-moms alike can easily attend.
Women's Skiing in Vail — Photo courtesy of Jack Affleck
2. Kim Reichhelm's Women's Ski Adventures
Join Kim Reichhelm, former member of the U.S. Ski Team and U.S. Freeskiing Champion, in a women's only ski clinic. Women's Ski Adventure Clinics are designed for skiers looking to improve technique and confidence, learn about proper equipment and take their skiing to the next level. Groups are small for individualized attention and guests are divided by ability. Kim and her hand-picked staff guide and teach on slopes suitable to your ability. This will be held February 8 through 11th, 2016.
3. Monthly Workshops and Demo Daze
Vail has introduced new women’s-specific monthly workshops, designed to enhance skiing and snowboarding skills while making new friends.
Demo Daze offer women a chance to demo and learn more about the latest, hippest and best snow gear.
The Arrabelle at Vail Square — Photo courtesy of The Arrabelle at Vail Square
4. Luxury Convenience
Find luxury and ultimate convenience at The Arrabelle at Vail, a RockResort. Located steps from the Eagle Bahn Gondola at Vail Mountain, immerse yourself in world-class luxury and style in the heart of Lionshead Village with the Alderhof Ice Rink right outside your door. The staff at the Arrabelle cover it all with thoughtful touches at every turn.
Enjoy spacious, plush accommodations with technology such as in-room iPads, smart TVs, Bluetooth sound systems and even Go Pros on loan for skiing. Relax in front of your in-room fireplace or on your outdoor veranda. Outside the hotel, a ski-and-boot valet and storage simplifies the process, so you never have to carry your ski boots or equipment.
The luxury extends to the nibbles, too: Start your day with the valet coffee - just order your favorite coffee drink directly from your in-room iPad. End your ski day with the daily afternoon hot chocolate reception: nosh on house-made cookies and cocoa with all the toppings (marshmallows, chocolate and even booze) you could wish for.
Spa at The Arrabelle at Vail Square — Photo courtesy of The Arrabelle at Vail Square
Soothe and stretch sore muscles in the luxe fitness center, or immersed in the Spa at the Arrabelle's heavenly steam, sauna and Jacuzzi features. Opt for a massage with the spa’s signature scent, a combination of juniper and peppermint; your treatment ends with a surprise scoop of hazelnut gelato.
If you prefer to relax in your room by the fireplace, no problem. Choose an in-room private luxury experience, such as one of their signature luxury bath soaks - try the “Grande Luxe,” scented with lavender and hibiscus, and includes a honey-oat yogurt facemask and a glass of wine and caramels.
For a sweet surprise for the kids, they can experience the “Feeling Smitten,” a gelato sugar scrub, body cream pop and cupcake bath bomb.
Blue Sky Basin — Photo courtesy of Jack Affleck
5. Spectacular Ski Terrain
With more than 5,289 acres of ski and snowboard terrain, including seven black bowls, the options for every level skier are endless. Vail is “a friendly mountain to ski for any level,” says Ingie Franberg, Manager of Adult Specialty Programs at Vail Ski & Snowboard School.
Vail hosts 21 lifts, two gondolas (one with heated seats), 16 high-speed chairlifts, four terrain parks, a front size, back bowls and blue sky basin. It’s a mountain resort with pure beauty and endless adventure.
Gondola One — Photo courtesy of Jack Affleck
6. Reduced Ski Wait-Times
Vail’s new lift, the six-passenger Avanti Express, debuted this winter. It’s the primary lift for the front side of Vail Mountain, where most of the intermediate and advanced terrain exists.
This new lift has greatly improved wait times - Vail's total uphill capacity is now 62,400 per hour.
7. Upcoming Events
From February 29 to March 5, be a spectator at the worlds premier snowboarding competition at the Burton U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships. Olympic riders compete for the U.S. Open title during slope-style and half-pipe events at Golden Peak. Enjoy free concerts in the evening and more.
Pink Vail, held April 2nd, is the world’s largest ski day to conquer cancer. It will be filled with pink hats, themed parties, a celebration ski-down, live music and contests to raise money to fund patient care and survivorship programs at Shaw Regional Cancer Center.
The 10th — Photo courtesy of Ric Stovall
8. Culinary Heaven: Lunch at The 10th
Pop into this ski-in, ski-out restaurant for contemporary luxury with alpine cuisine at The 10th, named for the 10th Mountain Division.
As soon as you enter, you will change from your ski boats to comfortable warm slippers to enjoy endless warming and healthful culinary creations.
The cuisine is as gorgeous as the views of the Gore Range. Start with a cocktail or the to-die-for hot chocolate. Begin your meal with the truffle fries, soup or salad, and then move on to anything on the menu - the chicken pot pie, pizzas (there’s even gluten-free crust!) and daily specials and desserts are all scrumptious.
Located at Mid-Vail across the snow from Gondola One and the Mid-Vail Lodge, The 10th is open for lunch 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily (kids will enjoy it, too).
For non-skiers, ride Gondola One to access the restaurant if you’re not on skis.
Game Creek Restaurant — Photo courtesy of Jack Affleck
Located just below Eagle’s Nest and nestled in the Game Creek Bowl, this unique dining experience starts with a gondola ride (with blankets) to a snowcat, which will take you to the restaurant, perched at 10,200 feet. If it’s your lucky night, you may be able to enjoy a front-row seat next to the driver.
Known for its amazing views and food, this European-style chalet offers a spectacular tasting menu, where dishes are presented like art. Guests have the option of embarking on a culinary journey with three-, four-, or five-course dinners.
I highly recommend the Colorado lamb rack with gingerbread crust, sweet potato, red cabbage and thyme sauce - and for dessert, the gluten-free beignets with dark chocolate, caramel hazelnuts and raspberry dust. It’s a Vail experience that shouldn’t be missed.
Do-It-Yourself S'mores — Photo courtesy of Steve Crecelius
If you’re in the mood for a great steak, head to Elways in Vail Village, located in the Lodge at Vail, a RockResort.
Named after the famed Broncos quarterback, this restaurant offers a cozy, yet elegant, Colorado feel with amazing food and service. The restaurant features 350 wine selections, USDA prime steaks, Colorado lamb, seafood and creative side dishes.
Try the Brussels sprout hash with applewood bacon and toasted pistachios, roasted cauliflower with truffle butter and baby kale salad with toasted pistachios, pomegranate seeds, aged gouda and a pomegranate vinaigrette.
Dessert options are inventive, with the “Scoop and a Shot” that includes a scoop of ice cream with a shot of your choice of liqueur (16 to choose from) and a fresh-baked cookie or the "Do-It-Yourself-S'mores".