Vail Mountain Winter Activities

Vail Mountain is home to endless winter recreation for locals and visitors alike. From sleigh rides and dog sleds to snowmobiling, skiing, and snowboarding – there is something for everyone.

During the winter season, many of these activities are offered in conjunction with special events like Powabunga or Snow Daze. Check with your resort for more details.

Sleigh Rides

If you want to feel the ambiance of a winter wonderland and add a little bit of excitement to your Vail vacation, sleigh rides are a perfect choice. These tours are offered by local stables and outfitters in the Vail / Beaver Creek area. You can choose from a scenic mountain tour, hot cocoa mountain ride or even an evening horse drawn sleigh ride dinner with dinner and entertainment!

If skiers are your type, you can find some of the most epic runs in the world on Vail Mountain. This Colorado behemoth is a skier’s dream with high-speed chairlifts, manicured groomers, and more than 5,317 acres of terrain.

For those who don’t ski, there are plenty of winter activities to take part in, including ice skating at two outdoor rinks. Twinkling lights line Lionshead’s Alderhof Ice Rink in Vail Square and Solaris Ice Rink in Vail Village for a spectacular backdrop.

Alternatively, you can enjoy a winter scenic ride up the Eagle Bahn Gondola or the Gondola One with amazing views of the Gore Range and Mount Holy Cross. Both of these rides are ideal for families with small children who don’t want to be on the slopes.

When it comes to snow, the best time to visit Vail is February and March. This is when the weather has the most average amount of snowfall and is the least likely to be slushy or icy.

To make the most of your visit, you should also consider bringing warm clothing and layers. Most sleigh rides offer blankets, but you may want to bring a coat, gloves and hat just in case.

The staff at Bearcat Stables are experts in the area and will provide insight into the history of the land during your ride. You can enjoy an apres-ski sleigh ride with happy hour drink specials and s’mores kits, a family-friendly sleigh ride dinner, or a luxurious buffet meal inside the restored homestead.

You can also enjoy a dog sledding adventure in the mountains. This is a great way to bond with your pets, experience the beauty of the Colorado wilderness and have a memorable adventure. The dogs are trained and guided by professional mushers, and you’ll be able to watch them pull the sled. Often, you’ll see coyotes, deer and elk as well!


The Vail Valley is well known for its premier skiing and snowboarding, but it’s also a great place to get out in the fresh winter air and try something new. Snowshoeing is the perfect activity for those who don’t ski and can still enjoy the spectacular mountain scenery that the area has to offer.

If you want to go for a walk in the snow and see a lot of beautiful scenery, consider taking advantage of the snowshoeing routes around Vail and Beaver Creek. This is a wonderful way to explore the backcountry in the surrounding area, and it’s more peaceful than you’d find on the ski slopes.

Several guides in the Vail and Beaver Creek areas offer guided tours for people of all abilities, including beginner, intermediate and advanced snowshoers. These adventures often include a snack, and are available as half or full day options.

Walking Mountains Science Center offers daily snowshoe hikes from two different locations, and they’re free for anyone age 10 or up to participate in. The hikes are an educational opportunity that allows you to learn about the natural environment of Colorado, and they’re a fun and exciting way to spend an hour outside in the snow.

If you don’t want to go on a guided tour, there are many self-guided trails throughout the area. These are the best way to get a feel for the mountain wilderness, and are more quiet than you’d find on the ski slopes.

There are a few paid-use Nordic centers around town that offer cross country ski and snowshoe rentals. There are some great routes that go in and out of both resorts as well as along backcountry trails.

One of the most popular options in Eagle-Vail is Stone Creek Trail, which runs alongside a backcountry ski and snowboard run from Beaver Creek Resort. The first mile is delightfully flat, and the rest of the trail climbs steadily through deep forest. It’s a great, easy trail that’s perfect for beginners and families.

For those that are more interested in a more rugged experience, check out Betty Ford Alpine Gardens. The gardens are a stunning alpine botanic collection dedicated to the conservation of high mountain plants and habitats. The gardens are a gorgeous sight at any time of year, but they really shine during the winter when the snow covers the ground.


Tubing is a great way to spend time in the winter and enjoy nature in a fun way. It is a perfect activity for people of all ages and is also a great way to relax after a long day of skiing or snowboarding.

There are many different types of tubing. These include towed tubeing, free-float tubing, and water skiing. The type of tubing you choose depends on your own personal preferences and the kind of terrain you want to explore.

Towed tubing involves tethering a set of tubes to a power-driven boat or personal watercraft. These tubes are generally not true inner tubes but are instead specially designed tubes for the purpose of tubing. These are often donut-shaped and have a sleeve of synthetic fabric that covers the tube to prevent it from becoming elongated during towing.

The sleeve of the tube may have handles for the rider to grasp and an anchoring point on which the tow line can be attached. The tow line is usually connected to a rope that can be dragged by the powered watercraft.

A tow line is important because it allows the rider to move quickly from one part of the tubing course to another. It can also help to prevent injuries, since riders who get stuck under a tethered tube can be pulled from it by the tow line.

If you are not sure if you will like towed tubing, you can try free-floating tubing for a more relaxing and laid-back way to spend time in the winter. However, this can be very hard to do on a busy river and it can also be very tiring after a full day of tubing.

For a more adventurous way to experience the river, you can take a whitewater rafting trip. This can be a great way to have some fun and explore the river in a unique way, but it can also be very dangerous if you are not used to it. If you have never rafted before, it is best to try this with a local company.


Vail is known for its skiing, but that’s not all it offers. The town is also home to a plethora of activities that will make your winter vacation one to remember.

If you’re a shopper, you’ll be happy to know that you can find anything you need at Vail’s shopping options. The town is full of boutique shops that will help you to find everything from designer Western ware to a flagship Lululemon.

There’s no shortage of shopping in Vail Village and Lionshead, both of which have cobblestone pedestrian streets with Bavarian-style architecture that make it feel like a charming mountain town. The shops are spread out so you can really browse and shop for hours.

Whether you are in the market for some new ski gear or want to stock up on souvenirs to bring back home, you’ll be sure to find what you’re looking for at the Vail Valley Shopping District. There are also plenty of stores offering free shuttle services to the slopes.

After you’ve had your fill of shopping, head over to the ice rink in Vail Village for some fun ice skating. This rink is typically open late-November through early-April and there are several restaurants, bars and shops nearby.

When you’re done ice skating, head to one of the many warm pools and hot tubs in hotels. Those with snow shoes will be happy to hear that there are several parks in the area where you can take a sledding or snowshoeing tour.

Another great way to enjoy the mountains is by going on a sleigh ride. There are several companies that offer this service, including 4 Eagle Ranch and Bearcat Stables. Sleigh rides can be booked a la carte or as part of a special package.

Sleigh rides can be an unforgettable experience for the whole family. It’s a wonderful way to spend an evening with your loved ones while you take in the views of the surrounding mountains and enjoy a warm beverage.

If you’re in the mood to explore a bit more, you can visit the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens which are open dawn to dusk year round. The gardens are a must-see while you’re in the area and the outdoor walking paths are always free to explore. You can also stop by the greenhouse to see some of the rare plants that are on display.