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Vail Mountian Winter Activities
Channel your inner Elsa at Colorado’s Ice Castles, an epic fairytale fantasy located in the neighboring town of Dillon a half hour drive from Vail. Reservations are required and cost is $30 per person for a 15 minute experience.
Stroll through the charming mountain village soaking up the ambiance with twinkling lights, cobblestone pathways and world class restaurants. Try a new activity with the kids like ice bumper cars at Dobson Ice Arena.
Whether you’re an experienced snowmobiler or just looking for a fun way to enjoy the mountain scenery, you can’t visit Vail without taking a ride on a snowmobile. Book a half or full-day snowmobile tour through a company like Nova Guides that offers door-to-door transportation, guides, snowmobiles and equipment. Guests are required to wear helmets and can choose between riding as a passenger or driving their own snowmobile.
During your tour, you’ll traverse miles of groomed trails woven among wide-open ridges and meadows in the White River National Forest or backcountry terrain that features rugged, winding climbs. For those who aren’t yet ready to drive their own sleds, the company offers a Youth Snowmobile Lap Track that kids five years and older can navigate via specially designed mini snowmobiles.
After a day on the mountain, kick back with a drink at one of Vail’s bars or restaurants. For a laidback experience, head to The George for cheap drinks and an infamous dive bar atmosphere or grab a drink at the Four Seasons’ upscale Remedy Bar. You can also take in the view at the outdoor ice skating rinks located in both Vail and Lionshead villages.
Nothing says winter in the mountains quite like a sleigh ride. Bearcat Stables in Edwards and 4 Eagle Ranch in Wolcott both offer afternoon sunset or evening sleigh rides complete with hot chocolate, blankets and scenic mountain views. For a little more comfort, try riding in a heated snow coach like the one offered by Nova Guides. Their Top of the Rockies tour provides door-to-door transportation and a two-passenger Ski-Doo snowmobile with comfortable heated handles and grips. The four-stroke Renegade Sport 600 is great for those who want to pilot their own snowmobile while those who prefer to sit back and relax can opt for the four-stroke Grand Touring Sport 600.
Soaking in natural hot springs is a time-honored Colorado tradition that leaves soakers relaxed, rejuvenated and soothed. Vail is lucky to be smack dab in the middle of many different geothermal springs from primitive, natural creekside hot pots to state-of-the-art resorts.
Channel your inner Elsa and live out your Frozen fantasy at Colorado’s Ice Castles located in the neighboring town of Dillon a half hour’s drive from Vail. Every winter artists construct the attraction from thousands of icicles and LED lights for a truly magical experience.
If you’re an adventurer looking for a more strenuous winter activity, head to Conundrum Hot Springs in Glenwood Springs about an hour from our Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices properties. The 8.5-mile moderately trafficked hike to the secluded hot springs is well worth the effort. One of the most popular natural hot springs in the area, Conundrum offers two pools including a larger pool with various temperatures within and a smaller round pool for those who find the larger pool too warm.
A few things to note before heading out on a hot springs expedition: Avoid soaking in the mineral water if you’re pregnant, have a skin condition or open wounds. The high elevation of the mountains can cause dehydration so drink plenty of water before and during your soak. Soaking in iron rich waters can also tarnish jewelry. Clothing is optional at most hot springs so make sure to bring a bathing suit.
Another great option for families who want to enjoy the benefits of a hot springs soak is Iron Mountain Hot Springs in Eagle River about a 20-minute drive from our Vail mountain properties. The private adult soaking pools offer spectacular Rocky Mountain views while the family pool is geothermally heated to 94 degrees. The bathhouse has locker rooms and showers, a retail shop offering swimwear and accessories, and a snack bar.
For a unique spin on the classic winter sport of ice skating head to one of Vail’s many outdoor and indoor rinks. Whether it’s in a fairytale European village setting like Alderhof or right in the heart of Vail Village next to the bol restaurant, these ice rinks look and feel like something from the movies. There is also the Black Family Ice Rink high up on Beaver Creek Mountain and of course Dobson Arena, one of Colorado’s largest multiuse ice arenas where you can watch professional hockey or figure skating.
Whether you’re spinning around for fun or trying to improve your skills, ice skating can be a great workout and can help build up your balance, leg muscles and joint flexibility. Plus, ice skating is an excellent form of cardio exercise that burns calories and gets your heart pumping as you work your arms for balance. If you’re a skier or snowboarder, ice skating can actually help you improve your performance on the slopes by increasing your balance and foot speed.
If you want to try out the sport but don’t have your own skates, there are rentals available at most of the rinks. And, if you’re not a natural on the ice, lessons are available for all ages and abilities. Just be sure to wear appropriate skating gear and follow the rules of the ice rink.
Sledding is the perfect winter activity to bring out a child’s inner thrill seeker. It’s also a great way to experience the mountain environment in an entirely new way. You can even do a snowshoe tour of the area to get the full outdoor experience. Check with your hotel to see if they have snowshoes available to their guests. They may have a few pairs to give out for free, or you can rent them.
When planning your sledding trip, make sure to include a pair of insulated gloves. These will keep your hands warm and allow for more dexterity. If you choose to wear mittens, make sure that they have one large piece of leather across the palm for more longevity. You might also want to have a pair of snow shoes nearby, especially if you plan on going off-trail to avoid any hazards or obstacles.
Try this fun physics experiment while you’re out on the slopes: Set up several sleds, all at the top of the same hill. Have an adult supervisor stand near where they came to a stop with a stopwatch. Go down on each sled in turn and time how long it takes to reach the bottom of the hill. What happens to the speed when more weight is added to the sled, such as a second rider?
The more people you have in a sled, the faster it will go. However, you will need to carefully monitor how fast the sled is going and be ready for it to come out from underneath you or flip over. If you are going too fast, try to perform a hockey stop by immediately turning your body perpendicular to the slope.
You don’t have to strap a pair of skis or snowboard onto your feet to experience the winter wonderland that is Vail. You can take a snowshoeing tour, go on a guided ski or snowmobile adventure, tube, try snow biking or simply build a snowman with your family. You can also enjoy a number of local breweries and sample their delicious drinks.
If you want a more challenging but still enjoyable activity, check out Vail Mountain for ski biking. This is a relatively new sport that blends bike riding with skiing. It is an excellent way to explore the mountain and see all of its sights with less stress on your knees, back, and legs. You can book a ski bike tour through Oneup Sportz, which offers a range of options including affordable pricing, premium delivery, and easy-to-use bikes with a money-back guarantee.
While you’re on the mountain, make sure to stop by the Eagle Bahn Gondola, which is free for non-skiers after 3:30 pm. You can enjoy a beer or dinner while you’re at it and get some incredible views of the mountains around you.
If you’re tired of your usual bike rides, give your legs a break and grab a snowmobile with Nova Guides and see Colorado’s winter wonderland from the backcountry with miles of trails to explore! You can even find some secluded backcountry spots for an unforgettable adventure. And if you’re feeling like a drink, head over to The George for some cheap drinks in a dive bar. It’s a favorite of many ski instructors and visitors alike.