Winter Travel Guide: Vail, Colorado @ kristaaoki.com, a lifestyle & travel blog | Vail is a world renowned skiing and snowboarding destination. What does it have to offer apres ski and off the slopes?

Winter Travel Guide: Vail, Colorado

February 5, 2017
Winter Travel Guide: Vail, Colorado @ kristaaoki.com, a lifestyle & travel blog | Vail is a world renowned skiing and snowboarding destination. What does it have to offer apres ski and off the slopes?
Winter Travel Guide: Vail, Colorado @ kristaaoki.com, a lifestyle & travel blog | Vail is a world renowned skiing and snowboarding destination. What does it have to offer apres ski and off the slopes?

Vail: an American mountain town boasting a chic European charm. Walking through this town makes me feel like I’m in the middle of a romantic movie. Especially those moments that snow falls as you pass the Austrian-styled buildings. Its European charm makes Vail a great romantic ski destination for North American skiers, but people from around the world plan their skiing and snowboarding vacations here.

Vail is known for its skiing and snowboarding (with over 5,289 skiiable acres), but use this as a guide as to what you can do off the mountain if you visit this beautiful destination during the wintertime.

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Getting to Vail

Winter Travel Guide: Vail, Colorado @ kristaaoki.com, a lifestyle & travel blog | Vail is a world renowned skiing and snowboarding destination. What does it have to offer apres ski and off the slopes?

Vail is a bustling mountain town located right off of Interstate 70 in Colorado.  Driving, it is located roughly 1.5 to 3 hours West of Denver.  Its nearest airport, the Eagle-Vail airport, is about a 40 minute drive from the town of Vail.

Transportation

Consider parking in Vail to be either a nightmare, or expensive (or both!). Luckily, public transportation around the Vail area is amazing. And, the best part about it is if you’re traveling in town, public transportation is free! There is a complimentary in-town bus that travels between Vail and Lionshead Villages. Plus, if you’re staying outside of the Mid-Vail area, there are other in-town buses that make their way to both East and West Vail.

Accommodations

You have plenty of options when you are considering staying in Vail. If you’re looking for hotel accommodations, TripAdvisor lists Vail favorites decided by travelers!

AirBnB is also a popular option for an accommodation. Because lodging in Vail can get expensive during its busiest seasons, you may be able to find a great deal on AirBnB.  If you use my link to sign up for AirBnB, you will get $40 in credit towards your first stay!

Activities

Scenic Gondola Ride

Your visit to Vail will be a unique experience. For one, architecture is gorgeous.  It’s not an exaggeration to say that walking along the cobblestoned streets and brick buildings makes you feel like you’re amidst a romantic movie setting. Especially if you’re accustomed to the concrete jungle that is urban America.

When you visit, make sure you take the gondola up the mountain!  The gondolas pull you away from the villages. The entire ten to fifteen minute ride includes a beautiful view of not just the villages and their European charm, but also the very large mountain ranges surrounding this town.

It is a sight you cannot miss. Add this to your bucket list! From the gondolas at both Vail Village and Lionshead Village, you also get a spectacular view of Gore Range (fun fact: this is the mountain range featured on the Colorado license plate!).

Ice Skating

There are two cute outdoor facilities where you can go ice skating in Vail during the winter season: the Alderhof Ice Rink, and the Solaris Ice Rink.  They typically open for business in the afternoon until the evening, but times vary.

Winter Travel Guide: Vail, Colorado @ kristaaoki.com, a lifestyle & travel blog | Vail is a world renowned skiing and snowboarding destination. What does it have to offer apres ski and off the slopes?

These ice skating rinks are open after the chairlifts are closed, so it’s the perfect family activity for après ski! The Alderhof Ice Rink (open 1pm – 9pm during the winter season) in Lionshead Village is gorgeous! It sits beneath the beautiful Arrabelle Hotel on Vail Square. Plus you have a great view of the mountain from the rink. You will be skating surrounded by 360 degrees of beauty.

Snowmobiling

Snowmobiling is just like jet-skiing, but instead of gliding around on water you’re treading tracks in the snow.  We went snowmobiling with Sage Outdoor Adventures earlier this winter. They have 6,000 acres of private land, so the experience you get while you are out there with them is incredible.  You and your group are practically the only ones on their trails.

Winter Travel Guide: Vail, Colorado @ kristaaoki.com, a lifestyle & travel blog | Vail is a world renowned skiing and snowboarding destination. What does it have to offer apres ski and off the slopes?

We were lucky.  It snowed the entire night before the morning we went. Somehow, the Aspen trees we drove through balanced inches of snow on their tiny branches. If it weren’t for the single-digit temperatures that day, I would have felt like I was in a dream and we were driving through clouds.

Their property is in Wolcott, a town about thirty minutes away from Vail.  After getting to Wolcott, the drive is another fifteen or so minutes away.  But a great service Sage Outdoor Adventures offers is a pick-up and drop-off to and from your hotel!

Winter-Tubing

At the top of Vail mountain you can go winter tubing at Adventure Ridge! Take the gondola at Lionshead Village up to Eagle’s Nest.  Once settled in, they set you up in a tube and you get to ride down the mountain. This is a fun, exciting family friendly activity. And because it takes place in the afternoon (Tuesday through Saturday from 1:00 pm until 7:00 pm), you can enjoy this activity after a wonderful morning of skiing or snowboarding.

Other activities to try in Vail: Bowling at Bol, snowshoeing, dog-sledding, winter fly-fishing, catching a movie at Cinebistro (a movie theatre that serves beer and food!). Researching for more activities in Vail? TripAdvisor has a great list of traveler favorites!

Restaurants

You really can’t go wrong with dining in Vail. Here are my favorite places to eat and drink in Vail and Lionshead Village:

Almresi Vail featured in Winter Travel Guide: Vail, Colorado @ kristaaoki.com, a lifestyle & travel blog | Vail is a world renowned skiing and snowboarding destination. What does it have to offer apres ski and off the slopes?

Almresi opened at the end of 2016. It is an authentic German restaurant owned and managed by a German family. Even their furniture and staff uniforms are from Germany! And their food is delicious. Before I enjoyed Almresi’s breakfast buffet I had no idea German food could be so flavorful. For breakfast, they serve German classics as well as food you will find at a traditional American buffet. There is definitely something for everyone in the family. Plus, their waffles are to die for! Each bite makes you feel like you are at their family home in Germany. I would definitely try their breakfast buffet again, but it makes me curious about their dinner!

Alpenrose featured in Winter Travel Guide: Vail, Colorado @ kristaaoki.com, a lifestyle & travel blog | Vail is a world renowned skiing and snowboarding destination. What does it have to offer apres ski and off the slopes?

Alpenrose is my favorite place to stop by for a cold European draft beer. You can order beer in a boot-sized glass! Mike and I stuck with the 1 litre glass last time we went, and even that was a lot to finish.  Alpenrose is a small quaint restaurant known for their delicious desserts. They serve German and Austrian cuisine. Even if you don’t stop by for a meal, I definitely recommend making the time to try out their desserts and enjoying their cute atmosphere.

Bully Ranch made its name for serving the best burgers in Vail! Try Bully Ranch if you are looking for a great all-American and family restaurant with a fun, casual vibe. If you love crab cakes, you should definitely order their crab cake sliders. 

Blue Moose Pizza hosts a great après ski every afternoon from 3-5 pm! For $4, you can order either a glass of Colorado draft beer, or a Colorado beer flight (and choose three different Colorado beers to taste). They have a great variety of Colorado beers on draft as well. Or, for $7 you can order a one-topping slice and a Colorado draft beer. I’ve never been disappointed by a pizza I’ve ordered here!  

Lancelot serves delicious steak. Taking a bite of their prime rib creates this burst of flavor that delightfully lingers! They are a fantastic family friendly restaurant located in Vail Village. The atmosphere seems very upscale as are the prices on their menu. But if you are looking for a place to go to have a delicious steak, don’t overlook enjoying a nice meal at Lancelot.

Moe’s BBQ, located in Lionshead Village, should be your go-to for casual American dining. If you are unfamiliar with American barbecue, definitely check out Moe’s! Do not skip ordering their banana pudding as a side if you decide to eat here! Trust me, the banana pudding makes for a great dessert after a hearty meal. 

The Little Dinner @ Winter Travel Guide: Vail, Colorado @ kristaaoki.com, a lifestyle & travel blog | Vail is a world renowned skiing and snowboarding destination. What does it have to offer apres ski and off the slopes?

Finally, visit The Little Diner for a true quaint restaurant experience in Lionshead Village. The wait for their delicious breakfast can be long, but soo worth it! This restaurant’s setup is tiny. When you take a seat at the bar, you are met with a perfect view of the center of the bar: where all the action happens. Yes, the chefs basically cook your meal in front of you! I tried their corned beef hash with poached eggs with hollandaise on the side. Some corned beef hash tastes an awful lot like potatoes. But, the corned beef hash here was full of flavor! They’ve perfected the balance.

What do you look into when you are planning a vacation? As a traveler, what do you rank as most important?

(P.S. Are you interested in starting your own travel blog? Planning and writing your own blog is so much fun! Check out my guide here!)

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33 Comments

  • Ana

    I live nowhere close to Colorado, but now I want to goo!!
    The pictures are soo amazing and by the looks of it, that’s a great place to be!

    February 5, 2017 at 6:34 am Reply
    • Krista

      Yes Ana!! You should definitely pay a visit someday!

      February 5, 2017 at 11:27 am Reply
  • Danielle

    This place looks so amazing! This would be a great place to go on a trip❤

    February 5, 2017 at 11:15 am Reply
    • Krista

      It’s definitely a wonderful place to live! I hope you get the opportunity to visit!

      February 5, 2017 at 11:25 am Reply
  • Aimehio Vez Iyeke

    Sweet! Vail sounds AMAZING! Are there any museums of any kind, art or historical in Vail? Maybe something to do in between the skiing and snowboarding to recuperate? (Or something thats easier to keep track of the kids, hehehe). Or any places geared towards kids? So mom and dad can drop them off for a little bit and enjoy “us” time, if only for an hour or two?

    February 5, 2017 at 4:36 pm Reply
    • Krista

      Hey girl! There are actually two museums in Vail: one is a Ski History museum located within the Vail Village Transportation Structure; the other is a children’s Imagination Station museum located within the Lionshead Village parking structure! There are tons of great apres ski restaurants around the villages for families to relax. Or parents can enjoy a nice hot chocolate while the kids go ice skating 🙂 Maybe they can sneak the kids into an hour at the bowling alley! I definitely recommend making reservations for the bowling alley Bol far in advance.

      February 5, 2017 at 6:09 pm Reply
      • Aimehio Vez Iyeke

        Sweet!!!! Good to know, thanks for replying!!!

        February 15, 2017 at 5:18 pm Reply
  • Mr Grumbert

    I’ve never heard of this town before, but it looks really nice! Especially the part about snowmobiling sounds like great fun 🙂

    February 6, 2017 at 12:25 am Reply
    • Krista

      Snowmobiling is so much fun! Add it to your bucket list!

      February 8, 2017 at 6:44 pm Reply
  • Devon Marie

    These are such beautiful pictures! I’m definitely adding Vail to my bucket list.
    The snowmobiling looks absolutely amazing. So cool!

    February 6, 2017 at 8:44 am Reply
    • Krista

      Thanks Devon! I hope everyone gets to experience Vail! Its known for its snowboarding/skiing but there is sooo much more it offers!

      February 8, 2017 at 6:45 pm Reply
  • Vy

    Wow! That looks like so much fun – what a beautiful winter getaway!! I’m in need of visiting some snow already…

    February 6, 2017 at 7:42 pm Reply
    • Krista

      Haha! Thanks Vy. Yeah, where you are living in SoCal gets cold in the winter (I’m from the islands) but nothing like here! Snow is so sweet to experience!

      February 8, 2017 at 6:46 pm Reply
  • Mike

    Vail is so much fun! Excellent post! I definitely have to get to the blue moose apres ski! The most important things for me when planning a vacay are the views, the local food, and just a relaxing atmosphere!

    February 6, 2017 at 9:00 pm Reply
    • Krista

      The views, local food, and a relaxing atmosphere! I like it. You know how to travel right!

      February 8, 2017 at 6:47 pm Reply
  • Brandi

    What a beautiful town! The snowmobiling and snow tubing sound like something my kids would LOVE! Thanks so much for sharing!!

    February 7, 2017 at 2:36 am Reply
    • Krista

      Yes! Vail is totally great for the kids and the family! You should jump on the snow rides too!

      February 8, 2017 at 6:48 pm Reply
  • claudia

    I’ve been wanting to head out there so badly! This post made that even worse! Great post!
    http://www.claudiachampagne.com/

    February 7, 2017 at 8:37 am Reply
    • Krista

      Thanks Claudia! Gosh, yes! This place is incredible. You’ll have to start planning to go for next winter (or this one!).

      February 8, 2017 at 6:49 pm Reply
  • Rebekah

    This is just so beautiful! I love it!

    February 7, 2017 at 11:41 am Reply
    • Krista

      Thanks Rebekah! This place is definitely super gorgeous.

      February 8, 2017 at 6:50 pm Reply
  • Kimberly

    This place looks so beautiful! I’d love to visit one day, seems like a lot of fun activities to try.

    February 7, 2017 at 12:45 pm Reply
    • Krista

      There are so many fun activities! I couldn’t even cover them all. Definitely try to visit Vail one day!

      February 8, 2017 at 6:51 pm Reply
  • Laurel Noelle

    That looks like it was such a fun trip!!!

    February 7, 2017 at 12:46 pm Reply
    • Krista

      Thanks Laurel! The snowmobiling was so much fun!

      February 8, 2017 at 6:51 pm Reply
  • Shoshana Sue

    Beautiful place. If only I could visit it!

    February 7, 2017 at 3:31 pm Reply
    • Krista

      Shoshana! I hope you get to visit this place one day.

      February 8, 2017 at 6:52 pm Reply
  • crystal

    Wow…. we don’t get snow like this in So Cal. I’ve always heard Vail is beautiful, but this is amazing!! BUCKET LIST!!!

    February 7, 2017 at 8:17 pm Reply
    • Krista

      Crystal what a huge compliment! Vail is definitely a destination to add to your bucket list. Hope you get to go there and do some of these activities! (and eat the food – the food is sooooo good)

      February 8, 2017 at 6:53 pm Reply
  • Cassidy's Adventures

    This is just gorgeous! I am going to be in Colorado this summer. So, no snow. But I will definitely keep this in mind when I visit. Thanks for sharing!

    February 10, 2017 at 9:07 am Reply
  • Letitia - apparentlyamom

    wow! This place looks gorgeous! Looks like you had a blast!

    February 10, 2017 at 12:22 pm Reply
  • Candi

    This place looks amazing! What fun pics too! 🙂

    If ever I am in Colorado, I know where to go! 😉

    February 11, 2017 at 7:19 am Reply
  • Sakeenah

    I want to go to Vail! It looks magical. Plus I’ve never done any snow sports before. I hope I can go soon! Thank you for sharing the insight about this cool city.

    February 11, 2017 at 2:02 pm Reply
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