Long before "Dancing with the Stars," there was skiing with the stars in Vail. The resort town set in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado has always boasted of a very high celebrity population. Aside from Hollywood stars, Texas millionaires and sophisticated ladies in ultra-expensive mink coats make their way among the town streets and occasionally hit the slopes. Indeed, the alpine town has glitz and glamour that even Aspen cannot match. Yet, surprisingly, the atmosphere here is authentic, less pretentious and more genuine. Well, when the rich want to play, they certainly let their hair down. And regular mortals tend to follow suit.
Things to Do
Winter sports are, of course, the main attraction in town. With 193 trails, Vail Mountain is one of the nation's premier skiing spots. Lift-ticket prices are on the high end, so make sure you bring enough dough. If you're bringing the kids, the ski school can teach skiers as young as 3 year olds. Alternatively, you can take the children to Adventure Ridge, which features a ski-bike and a snowmobile track. Vail does not close in the summer. Take a hike on Gore Creek Trail, which leads to Gore Lake and the Eagle's Nest Wilderness Area. Rafting the Eagle River in the Vail Valley is another popular summer activity, while cycling the Vail-to-Breckenridge bike path is a good way to get your heart pumping at high altitude. Golfing at Vail Golf Club and, for the more adventurous, paragliding above the Rocky Mountains with Vail Valley Paragliding are also cool summer activities.
Dining, after skiing, is Vail's favorite sport. The town has more than 100 restaurants, bars and cafes. Lionshead Village has a fair share of restaurants, bistros and cafes. Vail Village also has a number of dining establishments. If you want to escape the hustle of the resort, you can always head to the towns of Minturn or Edwards about 10 to 20 minutes away from Vail.
Whether you want souvenirs to bring home, jewelry, or arts and crafts or sporting goods, there are plenty of boutiques, gift shops and stores in Vail Village and Lionshead Village. Bag and Pack supplies what you need for multiday treks, while Buzz's Ski Shop and the American Ski Exchange have some of the best ski equipment available. If you fancy handcrafted Stetson hats and Lucchese boots, head to Kemo Sabe. Golden Bear is a one-of-a-kind shop that has a line of jewelry featuring the golden bear (the city symbol). Other stores worth checking out are Charm School Boutique, Laughing Monkey and W. Couture.