Vail – A Winter Wonderland Experience
By Ruchi Mukherjee
Usually my trips are about fashion, style and fine dining. The journey to Vail, Colorado, the ultimate ski resort, was not about those things. Right after Christmas, bags were packed with some heavy winter gear to get away from Houston’s comfortable temperatures to experience the snow, the lush white valley, not quite as the ski person but to experience something like a wonderland.
While driving up the winding roads lined with lush trees from Denver to Vail Mountain, Colorado, upon the far away snow capped mountain slopes you could already see skiers skiing down the slopes. The chilling breeze and white hues of sparkling snow welcomed us and it was for the first time that I realized that the hours spent laboriously packing layers of “omni heat” jackets and ski gear just for the trip have surely not been wasted.
Reaching Beaver Creek, one of largest ski resorts in Vail, I realized that Vail faithfully fulfills it’s promise to be every tourists dream destination. The village at Beaver Creek as well as the villages at the other mountains cater to the wishes and moods of all kinds of tourists. Beginning with the adventure lovers; the quaint town boasts more than 5,200 acres of ski-able land with trails for beginning as well as professional skiers and snowboarders. Efficient ski lifts take the adventurous up to the mountains from where they can choose to ski, go snowboarding, snowmobiling or take snowshoeing tours with an expert naturalist. Snowshoeing tours are a must for all nature lovers who can get a glimpse of the wonderful natural heritage of Vail as they trek through the mountains lined with beautiful Birch, Cone and Pine trees.
Looking for some more fun? Head to the Adventure Ridge for snow biking, tubing, zip-lining and snowmobiling. Even though the only memories of the journey down the steep slope as you grab on to the tube with all your life is a blurred vision of green trees, white snow and a shrill reminder of you screaming as the harsh wind gushes against your face, the multi-lane slopes at the Adventure Ridge provide a rip-roaring tubing experience.
When tired by the end of a day packed with winter sports activities, the villages at Vail spoil their visitors with wonderful dining experiences at its choicest restaurants while the fire places at every nook and cranny of the the town keeps them warm.
Even though dining was not the main highlight of the trip we got some tasty bites. After some cold hikes and strenuous activities we all had the craving for a spicy slice of pizza. Blue Moose Pizza in the heart of Vail’s Lionshead Village. This kid friendly restaurant serves an extensive menu featuring NY style signature pizzas where we enjoyed the Buffalo wing pizza while sipping the perfect winter warming drink Hot Apple Pie: Tuaca Italian liqueur and apple cider.
Our trip wrapped up with Sunday brunch at The 10th in Vail’s premier on-mountain fine-dining experience located atop Gondola One at Mid Vail. The 10th overlooks the majestic Gore Range, a great place for an elegant sit-down lunch in the heart of Vail Mountains with the quintessential mountain feel. The ride up to the restaurant was in a cozy one of a kind gondola lift ride with the most breathtaking views.
In spite of the below freezing temperatures, there is something warm, welcoming and even moving about the quaint town of Vail, which with its right balance of thrills and tranquility succeeds in making its tourists feel at home while away from home.
Inputs by Shruti Chakraborty