50 Things To Do in Vail

Sep. 27, 2012

Vail 50th

In honor of our 50th birthday this season, we’ve compiled a list of 50 must-see, must-do events, sights and activities. Let us know what items you’ve already checked off the list and what you’d add to these 50!

  1. Grab a heated, cushioned seat and take a ride on Vail Village’s new, state-of-the-art gondola from Vail Village to Mid-Vail.
  2. Get in the winter spirit a day before Vail opens for the season at the U.S. Ski Team announcement dubbed “First Tracks“, a free, public celebration on Thursday, Nov. 15 in Lionshead.
  3. Lineup early for first chair in Vail Village to catch the dedication of the new gondola at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 16.
  4. Ski or ride down the infamous Forever trail in Vail’s Sun Down Bowl. The slope got its name after Pepi Gramshammer, a local Austrian ski racer, first skied the run in 1961. With no lift in place yet he hiked back out and ecstatically remarked, “By Gott, dot’s a super slope! But it takes forever to climb out!”
  5. Purchase your festival pass for three awesome shows at a special 50th anniversary edition of the signature, early season celebration, Vail Snow Daze Dec. 10-16, featuring headline act Wilco along with The Shins and Michael Franti & Spearhead.
  6. Challenge friends and family and compete against Lindsey Vonn’s time at the EpicMix Racing course on Vail Mountain.
  7. Grab some popcorn and catch the free premier of a new film documenting Vail’s first 50 years, directed by Roger Cotton-Brown, on Friday, Dec. 14.
  8. Celebrate Vail’s 50th in style with cupcakes and fireworks on Dec. 15 at 5:30 p.m. at Mountain Plaza in Vail Village.
  9. Take off your boots, slip on some slippers and enjoy lunch on the mountain at The 10th, Vail’s newest on-mountain, full-service restaurant.
  10. Keep an eye out for EpicMix photographers in green and get a special 50th edition EpicMix Photo taken on Vail Mountain. Strike a pose at the summit of Vail where Pete Seibert and Earl Eaton first discovered Vail’s legendary Back Bowls more than 50 years ago.Pete and Earl Back Bowls
  11. Ski or ride all seven of Vail’s legendary Back Bowls – Sun Down, Sun Up, Teacup, China, Siberia, Inner Mongolia and Outer Mongolia.
  12. Lower level skiers and riders looking for their first Back Bowls experience can try China Bowl’s Poppyfields and Chopstix. These intermediate runs are regularly groomed and a great place to get the Back Bowl feeling that Vail is famous for.
  13. Looking for a challenge? Genghis Khan, located in Vail’s Tea Cup Bowl, is one of the steeper and more challenging areas, named for the notorious 13th century Mongol conqueror.
  14. Vail’s turning 50 this winter. Are you? If so, ski free on your 50th birthday!
  15. Enjoy Vail Family Holidaze in the mountains from Dec. 16-25 and 31, featuring fun family activities, including free ice skating performances from Olympic and World champion Evan Lysacek.
  16. Ring in the New Year with a live concert from Thievery Corporation at Dobson Ice Arena on Dec. 31.
  17. Learn the slopes with a complimentary Vail Mountain Welcome Tour, offered daily at 10:30 a.m. for intermediate and advanced skiers and snowboarders.
  18. Aspiring, young female ski racers can participate in the Vail Ski & Snowboard School’s Ski Girls Rock program, inspired and designed by Lindsey Vonn. The premium, small group lesson program is offered exclusively for girls ages 7- Teen and is led by dedicated female instructors.
  19. Ride a snow cat to dinner at Game Creek Restaurant on Vail Mountain.
  20. Reach 50,000 vertical feet on EpicMix in one day.
  21. Wind through all eight Kids Adventure Zones, including the two newest additions – Pony Express and Bearclaw Glade.
  22. Take your skills up a notch with a lesson from the pros at the Vail Ski & Snowboard School. Make it a private lesson to receive personalized, one-on-one instruction and focus on specific skills or terrain.
  23. Pack up some burgers and brats and enjoy a winter BBQ at Belle’s Camp in Blue Sky Basin.
  24. Burton US OpenCatch some of the world’s best snowboarders in action when the Burton US Open Snowboarding Championships takes center stage at Vail Feb. 25 – March 2.
  25. Take a free tour of the Colorado Ski & Snowboard Museum to explore the history of Vail, as well as the history of the sport.
  26. Bike on snow…at night…with a headlamp! Take a guided ski bike tour from Adventure Ridge down Vail Mountain to Lionshead.
  27. Ice skate under the stars at the Alderhof Ice Rink, located in the heart of Vail Square in Lionshead.
  28. Grab a tube, hop on the adventure skyway, and get a rush at Adventure Ridge’s multi-lane tubing hill.
  29. Take a free, guided snowshoe tour from the Nature Discovery Center, located at the top of the Eagle Bahn Gondola (#19). Tours are offered daily beginning mid-December and are led by an expert naturalist from Walking Mountains, a non-profit science learning center that promotes environmental stewardship through natural science education.
  30. Stroll through Vail’s cozy pedestrian villages and explore the winding streets of Vail Village and Lionshead featuring elegant shopping, cafes, galleries, fine restaurants, and everything in between.
  31. Stop in to Gorsuch, one of the Town of Vail’s signature ski shops located on the corner of Bridge St. in the Clock Tower building. Gorsuch opened in 1966 during Vail’s fourth season.
  32. 10th Mountain division statue VailTake a picture with the 10th Mountain Division Memorial statue in Vail Village, located near the covered bridge.
  33. Grab a beer at the Red Lion and catch live music by performer and co-owner, Phil Long, who has been entertaining the bars’ crowds for more than 20 years.
  34. Try a delicious twist on a classic drink at Tavern on the Square, serving up bacon-infused vodka Bloody Marys.
  35. Relax your muscles after a long day on the slopes with a soothing massage at one of Vail’s many spas. Try the Apres-Ski Thermal Massage at the Lodge at Vail’s RockResorts Spa.
  36. Ski or ride down Riva Ridge, Vail’s longest run at four miles from top to bottom. One of Vail’s first and most famous runs, the signature trail is named for a ridge in the Italian Apennines and was named by members of the 10th Mountain Division who fought a decisive battle there during World War II.
  37. Snap a photo at Simonton Deck, near Eagle’s Nest, offering spectacular views of one of Colorado’s “Fourteeners”, Mt. of the Holy Cross.
  38. Want to catch some air? Check out Vail’s freestyle terrain in the Bwana, Pride and Golden Peak terrain parks.
  39. After the mountain closes for the day continue the party with a little après at great spots like Tavern on the Square, Garfinkel’s and Los Amigos.
  40. Dance the night away at Whiskey Jack’s, Shakedown or Samana Lounge in Vail Village.
  41. Enjoy free live music Thursday evenings in the streets of Vail with the Bud Light Street Beat Concert Series.
  42. Throw a strike at bōl, Vail’s unique dining and entertainment experience. Metropolitan-meets-mountain at this sleek and modern bowling alley located in The Solaris Residences in Vail Village.
  43. Colorado might be land-locked, but guests can still enjoy fresh and creative seafood and sushi in Vail from premier Japanese chef, Nobuyuki Matsuhisa, at one of the town’s newest dining establishments, Matsuhisa, located in The Solaris Residences in Vail Village.
  44. If an award-winning menu of hand cut prime steaks and Colorado lamb is what you’re in the mood for try Elway’s, located in Vail Village at The Lodge at Vail and less than a block from Vail Mountain’s new gondola.
  45. In conjunction with Vail’s celebratory 50th anniversary season, check out Ski Heritage Week April 7-14, 2013 presented by the International Skiing History Association (ISHA) and the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Hall of Fame. The week-long event will celebrate the history of the modern sport of skiing and the highlight of the event will be the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Hall of Fame’s annual Induction Ceremony on Saturday evening at the Vail Marriot Resort & Spa.
  46. Winter Teva Mountain Games VailCelebrate adventure sports, music and the mountain lifestyle at the second annual Winter Teva Mountain Games, Feb. 8-10, 2013. Check out events like ice-climbing, on-snow biking, and telemark skiing, plus live concerts and parties.
  47. It’s Hollywood in the mountains when the 10th annual Vail Film Festival rolls through town March 28-31, 2013. Catch film screenings, panel discussions, live music, nightly galas and more!
  48. Get a taste of the Vail Valley lifestyle at the 23rd annual Taste of Vail, April 4-6, 2013. Experience world-class restaurants, fine wine, interactive seminars and the popular mountaintop picnic sensory extravaganza at the top of Vail Mountain.
  49. Close out the 50th anniversary ski and snowboard season with great, outdoor concerts at Vail’s signature end-of-season party, Spring Back to Vail. Previous acts have included Thievery Corporation, Weezer and Grace Potter and the Nocturnals.
  50. Sink or float at Vail’s annual World Pond Skimming Championships on closing day, April 14.
    Spring Back to Vail pond skimming