Tips for kids heading to Vail and Beaver Creek Ski School

VR1There are all sorts of tips to get your kids ready for ski school. Here are some that we found most useful.

Mittens: obviously kids need them. But if they are too big little air pockets form at the top and kiddo’s fingers are cold. They are too little—the kids won’t wear them. Go for the Goldilocks effect here and make sure they are just right and are waterproof.

Helmets: required. Again, make sure it fits snugly. Protect those developing noggins.

Make the morning hasslefree. We lay out all the layers the night before, from base layer to neck gaiter so we leave nothing behind. There’s been more than one day we’ve had to visit the ticket office to get a replacement pass. Now, we just leave it in the ski jacket’s pocket.

My daughter is an observer, a watcher, a thinker. She has never been one to jump right in to anything without full analyzation. Knowing this, I told her what the day would hold, what time we would get there, who she would be with and overall what she would need to know. It seemed a little bit like overkill, but it calmed her nerves. After her first day, I asked if she liked it. She said, “I didn’t like it.” My heart fell a little, until she continued, “I loved it!”

Eat a hearty breakfast. It’s can be a challenge to get up and eat, so we make egg burritos the night before and eat them on the drive to Vail. Other easy take-along snacks we always have with us are healthy bars, fruit leathers, applesauce pouches, cheese sticks. I love this recipe for healthy, inexpensive energy balls that we all devour. You can add or subtract for your preference: try cocoa powder, almond butter, different nuts.

1 cup (dry) oatmeal

2/3 cup toasted coconut flakes

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup ground flaxseed or wheat germ

1/2 cup chocolate chips or cacao nibs (optional)

1/3 cup honey or maple syrup

1 Tbsp. chia seeds (optional)

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Stir all ingredients together until thoroughly mixed. Cover and chill for half an hour. Once chilled, roll into balls. Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to one week.

Most importantly, remember it’s supposed to be fun.  Read about Vail and Beaver Creek Ski School

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Ski lessons for families in Vail and Beaver Creek

Vail_Ski_School_#1 Dan_Davis (1)Find the perfect ski lesson for you, your family and the littlest skier-to-be at Vail & Beaver Creek Ski and Snowboard Schools. I think we all like to think we can teach our kids to ski, but it often results in frustration, tears and maybe even a thrown pole or two. I’ll admit it: we learned the hard way.

A strong foundation makes a strong skier. And no where is it easier to get professional instruction than at our local ski and snowboard schools. Whether it’s getting a novice snowboarder proficient on the slopes or refining the intermediate skier’s skills or helping the expert perfect her form, Vail and Beaver Creek have the person for the job.

We’ve all seen them: the out-of-control skier bombing down a run, terrorizing skiers and boarders in their path. Or heard them: the slightly panicked mother yelling, “Snowplow! Snowplow!” as little Sally skier made a beeline down the mountain, nary a turn or snowplow in sight. It doesn’t have to be so scary to learn to ski.

Living and visiting here, we want our kids to love to ski and feel confident when they are old enough to head out on their own. Paying for a certified instructor is money well spent.

Make ski lessons a family affair with Private Lessons For the Whole Family. The focused attention will take the entire family’s abilities up a level. Up to six friends or family members can be in a lesson together that is tailored to individual skill levels. People can rotate in and out of the lesson.

Small classes provide personalized attention while kids get to have fun with their friends (or make new ones) in the Ultimate Four, a group of only four kids per lesson for children ages three to 15. Days are flexible and kids explore the mountain while fine-tuning their skills in a small group. Who knows? By the end of the day, they might be ripping down Pepi’s Face.

ski school for the kidsSki Girls Rock debuted two years ago, offering a lesson inspired and designed by Vail’s golden girl, World Champion and professional skier Lindsey Vonn.

Girls ages 7 to 15 learn from the best female instructors, with no more than four girls per lesson. While finding powder and working on their skills, they will gain confidence while meeting new friends, without the potential intimidation of keeping up (or slowing down for) with the boys.

Ideal for the skier who wants to ease his way into the day and still hone his (or her) ski skills: the half-day Max 3. Go out to breakfast, sip a cappuccino, read the paper… then hit the mountain. This half-day master’s program provides personalized instruction with a maximum of three skiers per instructor.

Thanks to the exclusivity of these lessons, skiers can work on fundamentals or find finesse on their way down the mountain. This program is offered daily at Mid-Vail, afternoons only, and is recommended for intermediate to advanced levels.

Snowboarding isn’t just for kids anymore. But the fear of catapulting yourself down the mountain resulting in sore muscles has probably hampered your excitement. Vail’s solutions is Learn. Turn. Ride. This three-day program gives you the learning skills to create a “slam-free” learning environment (think: no whiplash or bruised tailbone).

So you’re working with expert instructors, and are guaranteed you’ll be cruising past the beginner areas after just three days of lessons—if you’re unable, you’ll receive a fourth day of lessons gratis. The Learn.Turn.Ride lesson can be completed within a five-day period.

So you’ve spent hours on the slopes, have progressed and are feeling like you’re the next gold medalist. You can even prove it with EpicMix Academy, where ski school instructors will be able to certify the skill level of every student in their class, whether group or private lessons. Parents can track their children’s progress and, even better, the ski schools will know every student’s ability level before the start of each lesson.

No matter where you want to go, from Blue Sky Basin to Look Ma, from nervous Nelly to bump expert—Vail and Beaver Creek’s Ski and Snowboard School will help get you there in style.  Tips for kids heading to ski school

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Nordic Skiing Tips from Beaver Creek and Vail Locals

Nordic skiing with the family in Vail and Beaver Creek

Nordic skiing with your family in Beaver Creek?  If you’re searching for peace and quiet, and taking out the whole family, Nate Goldberg, Hiking Director/Product Manager Nordic Sports at Beaver Creek, suggests giving classic a try. “I have gear that goes down to five year olds, we’ve got a nice teaching area by Little Lulu, it’s great for kids and families to explore and experiment cross county skiing,” he says.

And although it is a great family activity, he doesn’t recommend children younger than five getting on cross country skis, simply because they don’t yet have the endurance, coordination or stamina…. Which of course, can lead to a mountain-sized meltdown.

Nordic skiing really allows for family time. “A family must do is to have a picnic at the overlook or yurt. It’s very accessible to get to Mamie’s Deck,” Nate says. We love downhill skiing, true, but family time is limited to riding back up the lift together… when you’re gliding on a groomed trail at the top of the world, you have time to chat with your kids. End the tour with s’mores and snow angels… and after skiing for two or three hours, a nap just might be in your future.

“Kids who are skiers love having the lighter equipment on. You challenge your balance and athleticism,” Nate says. “It’s a great alternative to (downhill) skiing; it’s a chance for families to be together. You really get to spend quality time with your family.”

The cost of Nordic equipment is much less than the outlay for downhill equipment so it’s definitely worth a try with your family.

For a different spin on the Nordic experience, check out Vail Resort’s Nordic Program. “It’s a very nontraditional Nordic program. We don’t have a set track. Everything is back country,” Joe Schmitt, Nordic Manager for Vail Resorts, says.

The resort has more than 30 locations to take skiers and snowshoers throughout Eagle County. Thinking outside the ski area’s boundaries allows the Nordic staff to teach about being fun—and safe—in the wilderness, which hopefully propels the clients to go out and enjoy it and take care of it, Joe says.

“We like to go out and have fun with families in the wilderness. We learn a skill like cross country skiing, or we just go out and play, and learn about animals and plants. Either way, it’s great. It’s their tour,” Joe emphasizes.

While they are out in the national forest, they often take families snowshoeing—which is just as easy as putting one foot in front of the other. For the more adventurous, sign up for a back country tour with telemark gear, beacons and probes to learn about avalanche safety.

“If they want to learn about avalanches, we can go in that direction too. They can book a beacon-and-shovel tour as a family, we gear it towards the slowest member of family,” Joe says. “We hide the beacons and try to find them. It’s fun for kids to play with stuff out there. The more avalanche awareness and training the better.”

There must be a reason Nordic skiing has been around for centuries—take your pick: commune with nature, show your kids a different experience or have an incredible workout—or all of the above.

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Meredith Steinke, Vail local from tiny dancer to stage starlet

Merridith 1

From Tiny Dancer to Stage Starlet  Meredith Steinke, a Vail local shares her thoughts on a performing arts journey, and the power of dreaming big.  By Lynnea Tamsen

It’s every wide-eyed, tutu-wearing little girl’s dream: to become a beautiful ballerina, and own the stage.

Meredith Steinke not only had this dream as a wee one, but is putting this dream into action 18 years later. Enter Meredith’s world: one filled with curtain calls, plies, and song; and let’s be her dance partner for the next thousand words…

Beginner’s feet…

The love affair with the stage began on a well-worn and well-loved Vail studio floor…a time when most kids her age could barely walk, and Meredith was learning to dance. Her voice lights up like a spotlight on a prima ballerina as she gushes,

“Ever since I was a little kid, I always, always loved dance and the performing arts…as a child, I’d always be putting on shows for my family, and was in ballet at a really, really young age. I soon discovered this was my true passion.”

Fueled by the love of dance and performance at such a wee age, Meredith continued to become involved in as many children’s choirs, dance classes,  and other “little kid activities” (as she lovingly dubs them) as possible. Then, as many of her young peers’  interest in stage work waned in favor of things like riding bikes with no hands, chasing boys and stretching mischievous adolescent muscles, Meredith became more laser-focused than ever on her undeniable pull toward performing arts.

Merridith 2

Leaps and Bounds…

In Middle School, she first became part of the Vail Valley Academy of Dance, where ballet, tap, and jazz comprised her world. She would remain an integral member of this Academy for the next six years, until she’d flung her graduation cap in the air alongside her Battle Mountain High School classmates.

A steadfast companion throughout some of the most trying years of a girl’s life, the Academy of Dance helped to shape Meredith’s path, and truly reinforced her dreams.  The appreciation and reflection in her voice is palpable when Meredith quietly says, “I completely love that studio…I owe them everything.”

But that’s not all the love Meredith had to give. Not even close. If rigorous involvement in such an Academy weren’t extracurricular enough for a teenager, Meredith has also been a member of the Vail Performing Arts Academy (VPPA) since she was a head-in-the-clouds seven-year-old. It was through this organization – and its three annual theatre productions – that she fully learned the art of stage presence, acting, voice projection, and performance.

“I’ve been with the Vail Performing Arts Academy for such a long time, and they have honestly been one of the main reasons why I’ve continued in this profession. They’ve taught me so much about life and in being confident in myself.”

While on the topic of teaching, when asked if there is a mentor that made the strongest impact from her time spent with either renowned Academy, Meredith doesn’t skip even half a beat when she answers, “Colin Meiring!” The Artistic Director at VPPA – who also moonlights as an instructor at the Vail Valley Academy of Dance – has been her “all-time role model” since the day Meredith crossed his path.

“He has been my inspiration, and the one who has really pushed me to follow my dream.  In High School, a lot of people were doubting me, and I lost so much hope…but Colin was the sole reason and inspiration to keep me going.”

Meredith continues with words so powerful and inspiring they warrant their own paragraph:

“…And once I truly believed in myself, it became like a self-fulfilling prophecy for me.  The more positive I was, the more positive things kept coming back to me.”

This optimistic outlook on life, and confidence in both herself and her talents launched Meredith into thinking about the future, and turning dreams to reality. Enter: College.

Dancing into the Future…Merridith 3

Today, Meredith’s whirlwind of success and ambition early on in life has taken her to the Windy City itself, where her current title is “Student at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University”. It’s here, in the heart of an arts-rich downtown, where she and 60 fellow freshmen take classes in the Performing Arts Conservatory, and work toward a degree in Musical Theatre with a concentration in Dance (did they make this degree just for her?!).

Although the adjustment from leaving her deeply-seeded Vail roots has been challenging at times – and she feels like a “tiny minnow in a huuuuuuuuge city!” versus a big fish in a small local pond – Meredith is thrilled at the opportunities before her. The next four years will help to solidify and develop her goals and dreams. Which, by the way, are very well thought-out and specific, but still grand enough to feel powerful and special.

The initial steps in Meredith’s ultimate game plan? “First, I want to jump right into the performing side of things as an actress or a dancer – maybe work on a cruise ship to gain professional performance experience, save a little money, and learn the business side of things; then move to New York City and audition there – shoot for Broadway, regional theaters, and touring companies to gain credibility and build my resume. But my full dream isn’t just to be the Broadway star…”

So, what is it?  What else?

The rest of Meredith’s dreams-into-profession blueprint goes a little something like this:

  • Take professional performing experience and bring it to Choreography (something she’s recently discovered – through planning moves for flash mobs, her High School show choir, and musicals – that she has a natural talent for)
  • Choreograph shows on Broadway, to combine her love of teaching people and performing
  • Next, move into the Directing side of things to continue stretching her wings and building credibility
  • Finally, start an organization or non-profit to spread the love of arts to children, and work with kids to help them reach their goals through the performing arts

Whewf! Yet, even after rattling off her ambitious checklist for life, a wise-beyond-her-years Meredith says, “I know my goals will change and alter themselves – and  I’m staying open to opportunities – but it’s important to have a plan.”

It seems we could all take a page out of this young adult’s book, especially when she offers one last piece of parting advice:  “I tell everyone around me that you only have one life. You need to follow your dreams, and push yourself to reach your goals and do what you love.”

Bravo, and well said, Meredith!

We can’t wait to see what 18 more years brings to this dreaming dancer.

Nordic skiing in Vail and Beaver Creek: Professional Tips

nordic skiing with your family in vail and beaver creekA few tips on Nordic Skiing from Vail Locals and Nordic Skiing pros Mia Stockdale and Shane Sluder.  Co-owners of the Vail Nordic Center at the Vail Golf Course. Mia is a former mountain bike racer and been Nordic skiing for 26 years. Here, she shares some of her insight on Nordic Skiing

“Start with the classic technique of Nordic skiing. Classic skiing is the same motion as running or walking and it is a bit easier to pick up than skate skiing,” says Mia. “March around on your skis on the groomed track to get your balance down and wander off the track as well into the powder. The kids just love this. Make it fun for them.”

Mia hit the nail on the head: As any mother, father, grandparent, babysitter knows… if you want to be able to a sport with the family, the key is to show the kids how much fun it is. Yummy snacks, off-trail adventures and the ability to lollygag also help.

Another tip she has is to sign up for a lesson, so you get started on the right track.

Many moms need fit in a quick, high-energy workout to maintain, shall we say, a mental balance. This is the sport for that. “Cross Country skiing is the best winter workout going, since it is a total body workout,” says Mia. “My favorite aspect of the sport is the great exercise, I must admit. Second would be mastering the technical  aspect of skate and classic. Third would be the beauty of the trails and the pace and quiet.”

Keep in mind that the cost of Nordic equipment is much less than the outlay for downhill equipment so it’s definitely worth a try for your family.

There must be a reason Nordic skiing has been around for centuries—take your pick: commune with nature, show your kids a different experience or have an incredible workout—or all of the above.

Nordic Skiing: adventure and family fun in Vail and Beaver Creek

Where to Nordic ski in Vail and Beaver Creek 

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Where to Nordic Ski in Vail and Beaver Creek

kids xc 009Where is the Nordic Skiing in Vail and Beaver Creek?  This post lists the best places to Nordic Ski in Vail and Beaver Creek.

For those unfamiliar with Nordic Skiing or Cross Country Skiing here is a quick definition and where your family can enjoy the sport in the area.

There are two types of Nordic skiing: classic and skate skiing. Classic takes place on groomed trails that have tracks cut into the snow. The basic technique of classic skiing resembles a running action with skis parallel, kicking and gliding with each stride. It sounds a lot more complicated than it is—after a few wobbly glides, the motion becomes second nature.

Skate skiing resembles the motions and ice skater makes: transferring weight from one ski onto the other.

Nordic Skiing: adventure and family fun in Vail in Beaver Creek

Nordic Skiing: professional tips from Vail and Beaver Creek professionals


Beaver Creek’s McCoy Park: 32km of groomed and ungroomed trails.

Take Strawberry Park Express to McCoy Park. 970.754.5313.

Cordillera 970.926.5100

Eagle Ranch Golf Course: (Eagle Valley Nordic Council) 970.328.5659.

A gem hidden in the heart of Eagle Ranch with gently rolling hills: skiers and snowshoers are allowed on the front nine, and skiers only on the back nine. Dogs allowed on the front nine (leash needed).

Shrine Pass: outside of Red Cliff, Shrine Pass Road is groomed via snowmobile.

Tennessee Pass: 25km of trails 30 minutes from Vail. 719.486.8114.

The Nordic Center feels remote and in the backcountry, but has all the amenities: rentals, views of the Sawatch Mountains, lessons and, of course, hot cocoa. For a far-out adventure, check out the Cookhouse… a yurt you hike or ski to under a canopy of twinkling stars through the mountain-fresh air.

Vail Nordic Center: 17km of groomed Nordic, 10km of snowshoe trails. 970.476.8366.

Vail Resorts: Create your own back-country adventure with Vail. 970.754.3200

Yeoman: Ten miles outside of Eagle, the track is remote, beautiful and definitely off the beaten path.

If you have any more questions feel free to contact us

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Dining options for families in Vail and Beaver Creek

Where can we eat with the little ones?  Here are a few options in Edwards, Eagle, and more for Vail that we consider awesome dining options for kids.  There are plenty of options in our resort community so it’s always a challenge to pick only a few incredible options to share.

By Shauna Farnell

The menu at eTown in Edwards is expansive for grownups – ranging from creative salads, burgers and pizzas to ribs or seared tuna – but inexpensive for everyone. Although the kids menu is comprised of any American 10-year-old’s top six: burger, mac-n-cheese, pizza, chicken strips, pasta or grilled cheese – each comes with a beverage and dessert for $8.

Moving the kid-friendly magnifying glass down to Eagle, The Dusty Boot has become a locals’ favorite. The children menu is chalk full of goodies: cheeseburger, quesadillas, hot dogs … and all entrees are accompanied by a Caesar salad, sliced apples or choice of any adult side item. The young crowd (very young crowd), is ever present here … especially on Mondays when kids dine for free with every adult entrée purchased.

Naturally, located on the top of the world’s best ski resort, surrounded by ski trails, a tubing hill and involving a gondola ride, Bistro Fourteen at Eagle’s Nest in Vail is a no-brainer choice for kids. Its $10 children’s menu offers three-course meals of favorite entrees (chicken tenders, burger, etc) with a fruit or veggie appetizer and dessert.

Ten is also the magic number at the upscale Atwater on Gore Creek at Cascade Resort, where for $10, kids can choose from fresh seasonal options like salmon skewers with Teriyaki sauce, grilled steak with mashed potatoes and edamame, a Kid’s Pizza or PB & J – (actually almond butter with strawberry jelly, orange and banana slices).

In general, the Park Hyatt at Beaver Creek is a winter paradise for families, so much so that the daily happy hour is centered not around alcohol but mashmallows.

That’s right. Every afternoon the outdoor fire pit is transformed into a s’mores grilling station where hotel guests can choose from the finest squares of dark or milk chocolate and fresh-made marshmallows in flavors you’re not likely to find in Scout camp – Grand Marnier, vanilla, crème de menthe, toffee and M & M. Grab a stick, grab a graham cracker and go at it. The whole set up is free to hotel guests.

At 8100, the Park Hyatt’s premier eatery, youngsters can feel like big kids with their own multi-course menu starting with creamy tomato soup, veggies and ranch dip followed by main courses such as chicken quesadillas, roasted chicken sticks or grilled steak and dessert choices ranging from homemade ice cream or sorbet to gluten free dark chocolate brownie or fresh fruit.

Let’s not forget that there is a full-blown indoor bowling alley smack in the middle of Vail. Bringing intrinsic entertainment value, Bol does not serve the standard greasy wings and nachos of many of its pin-porting ilk but errs toward the upscale. The kids menu is no exception. Although there are more mainstream options like cheese pizza and fish n’ chips, Bol offers a pint-sized New York Strip with fries and sautéed greens and an entire list of fruit and vegetable-based alcohol-free cocktails.

Dining out with the Family in Vail and Beaver Creek Part 2 of 3


Where can we eat with the little ones?  Here are a few options in Red Cliff and Eagle-Vail we consider awesome dining options for kids     By Shauna Farnell

While offering sophisticated homemade Italian courses, Ti Amo in Eagle-Vail has always believed in adding color to its ambiance with paper tablecloths and crayons and but just recently added a dedicated kids menu with raviolis also a choice of pasta and sauces.

Also on the casual side, Mango’s Mountain Grill is a fun trek off the beaten path. Located high above Minturn, it is Red Cliff’s only eatery and represents the ultimate in rustic mountain ambiance. The menu’s abundance of comforting treats translate to quesadillas, pizza, chicken tenders, burgers and fried mac-n-cheese on the $6 kids menu and Sunday is family night, meaning half-price kids meals and desserts with every adult meal.

Falling back into favorite local haunts, Beth Adams, who was with Eagle-Vail’s Route 6 Café long before its transformation into an all-day super-sized restaurant and bar, believes there is no better place to bring children for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

For less than $5, the Kid’s Slam includes pancakes, potatoes, eggs, bacon or sausage and orange juice and every other breakfast item is even more affordable – including pancakes made to order with chocolate chips, bananas, etc. The only higher priced items (leaping up to a whopping $5.95) on Route 6’s lunch and dinner menu for kids are the grilled steak, made-from-scratch Chicken Pot Pie and the Buffalo Meatloaf.

Plus, the place comes equipped with an entire children’s play area replete with little chairs, a cook set and coloring books.

“It’s like daycare,” Adams says. “The play area is great for keeping the kids entertained while you relax with your meal. The way we see it, we’re trying to get the parents in. We want to have good things for kids.”

Nordic skiing: adventure and family fun in Vail and Beaver Creek.

Nordic skiing offers solitude, adventure and family fun in the mountains around Vail and Beaver Creek. Whether you’re looking for a heart-pounding workout, a scenic getaway off the beaten path or simply a different family adventure, Nordic skiing provides it all. Best of all, it’s a sport that is easy to learn and can be done almost anywhere there’s snow.  by Heather Hower

The mountains get all the glory around here—skiers throw out how many vertical feet they tackled in one day, they brag about powder shots and revel over their bump runs during après ski.  Well, it’s time the unassuming sister gets some fanfare.

First, let’s get the terminology down.

There are two types of Nordic skiing: classic and skate skiing.

Classic takes place on groomed trails that have tracks cut into the snow. The basic technique of classic skiing resembles a running action with skis parallel, kicking and gliding with each stride. It sounds a lot more complicated than it is—after a few wobbly glides, the motion becomes second nature.

Skate skiing resembles the motions and ice skater makes: transferring weight from one ski onto the other.

Personally, I love to skate ski for the speed and workout. However, the first time I tried it, I ended up a tangled mess of poles, skis and limbs (all mine). The learning curve seems quick…. Even for the uncoordinated.

In Eagle County alone there are miles of groomed trails (see complete list on our blog). You’ve probably seen skiers gliding around the Vail Golf Course, skiing in the shadow of the Gore Range. With easy, moderate and difficult trails, and easy access, the golf course is a fun spot to try the sport.

Bonus: this year the trails opened early thanks to Mother Nature. Nordic skiing is not as intimidating as say, downhill skiing, because, first of all, there is not a daunting mountain to navigate down.

Where to Nordic Ski in Vail and Beaver Creek

Nordic Skiing: Tips from the professionals

Any questions you can always contact us for more information.

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The Secretʼs Out: Vail locals share their favorite hideaways on Vail Mountain

Tyler Greear a 16 year-old Vail local used several words to describe skiing on Vail Mountain, “Rad, amazing and killer,“ which really means, “exhilarating, relaxing and adventurous.”

No one knows Vail Mountain better than the locals, so we asked them to divulge a few secrets we could share with visitors to Vail Mountain. The answers were a random sampling from skiers and riders of all abilities using Vail Mountain as their playground.

“We came for a winter and stayed for a summer, and that was ten years ago.” True words from many long time locals. We pried some of the secret stashes, powder routes and hidden rest stops out of the locals but some tidbits are meant to keep secret.

Natalie Hewitt.2 VR2Here is what the local experts had to say about their favorite mountain.

Natalie Hewitt. Mother of Two (a 3 year old and a 2 month old). Business Owner. Riding Vail for 10-plus years. Three words to describe Vail: “Something for everyone.”
“Vail has it all,” adds Natalie Hewitt. “If I have a full day to ride I like to head out to Blue Sky Basin, or if itʼs a powder day, I hit the Back Bowls. If itʼs a packed powder day, I like to play on the front side. Itʼs fun just to cruise down the groomers. I like the way Vail has a bit of everything.”

For Hewitt, her epic dream day on Vail Mountain is catching the first car up on Gondola One (the newest gondola) to Mountaintop Express Lift (#4). As a warm up, she glides down the Northwoods run because “itʼs a fast, fun and an open area to just zoom down,” she says. After a few warm up laps on the front side, the challenge of the fresh powder and steeper runs of the Back Bowls and Blue Sky Basin grab her attention.

For her, the not-to-miss runs include In The Wuides or Champagne Glade dipping in and out of the trees bordering the runs. “I like Big Rock Park in Blue Sky Basin. Itʼs an entertaining blue run offering trees and wide open terrain, and thereʼs even a little natural half-pipe-section which seems to stretch on forever near the bottom,” she says. To get the blood flowing to the heart Hewitt dares herself to try all the different runs and, when the conditions are right, a little pop off Lovers Leap does the trick.

As for the Back Bowls, Hewitt loves riding Outer Mongolia “because you wonʼt see a soul out there,” she says. “If the snowʼs good you can even find fresh, untracked powder a day or two after it has snowed.” She says sheʼs also fond of Sun Up Bowl and, Miltʼs Face is a superb run to enjoy while making your way to the Back Bowls.

As a snowboarder, sheʼs aware of the catwalks, like Sleepytime, where you actually get sleepy inching your way down. Planning ahead helps avoid most of the catwalks and enjoy the ride traveling from bowl to bowl, riding as many runs as possible.Belle's Camp in Blue Sky Basin

Belleʼs Camp lures her away from the mountain, the rich foamy hot chocolate heats her insides, a little snack to boost her energy and back out on the slopes for a “powder snack.”

After Skiing or more affectionately called après ski, Hewitt heads to her favorite restaurant near Mountain Plaza around 3:00 pm. “I love to stretch out on my favorite deck, munch on nachos, sip margs and watch skiers skid down Pepiʼs face.”

When Hewitt is not riding at Vail, ski biking at Adventure Ridge captures her attention along with special events in the town of Vail and on the mountain, specifically the Burton US Open Snowboarding Championships. These events are filled with locals taking advantage of world-class events, seeing their friends all together and having a blast with the festive crowds.

Last year was the first Burton US Open at Vail, she and her husband took their young son there all snuggled up in his winter backpack, covered with cozy wool hats, insulated boots and thick mittens. The three of them happily enjoyed the event in warmth and watch the competitionʼs half-pipe and slopestyle events.

Summers offer other adventures on Vail Mountain for Hewitt and her husband. They revel in the opportunity to ride the Eagle Bahn Gondola to Adventure Ridge. “The kids’ activities at Adventure Ridge are incredibly fun and it’s as much fun for us to watch their expressions and hear the roaring laughter,” she says. Her son just canʼt get enough of the Dino Dig, the Walking Mountains Nature Discovery Center, and experimenting on the slacklines. “We love to spend half a day up there and eat at Bistro Fourteen or take a picnic,” says Hewitt.

JohnLombardi.1 VR4John Lombardi Grandparent. Retired. Part-time resident. Skiing Vail for 25+ years. Three words to describe Vail: “Expansive. Varied. International.”

John Lombardi prefers the vast selection of varied and challenging runs offering both groomed and powder terrain because heʼs usually skiing with family or friends of all abilities. This way he can choose where to ski by the company he skis with on any given day. His absolute favorite place to ski is China Bowl. “I love that itʼs normally sunny with great snow,” says Lombardi. “Thereʼs a good mix of groomers and powder, getting there can be hectic since itʼs popular but you keep your eyes open.” Outer Mongolia is an ideal spot to find expansive runs, abundant powder, and fewer crowds, says Lombardi.

Most of the days, this part-time, December-to-March resident spends an ample amount of time on Vail Mountain going with the flow because heʼs usually skiing with his son, daughter-in-law and family. “My kids are expert skiers,” he says, “and sometimes we have their young kids skiing with us as well.”

Last year, Lombardi was thrilled to join the Vail 50 Club, a social club for those over 50 years old, and started skiing with fellow club members on their group ski days. Though he only joined them a few times last season, he thoroughly enjoyed skiing with and meeting other fun-loving, advanced, no-bumps folks.

Dann_Coffey VR5When itʼs time to wind down or simply take a break during the ski day, Lombardi gushes about Wildwood, his favorite spot on the mountain. He craves the chicken wild rice soup. “They have it every year,” he says. “My favorite lunch is a beef brisket sandwich with a bowl of that soup.” The rustic atmosphere with large community tables, the excellent food selection are just what Lombardi says he looks forward to after a beautiful day on the slopes. “They have an extensive patio where you can smell the brisket cooking, grab a view of the back bowls and Gore Mountain range and sit in the warm sun and rest when itʼs warm. On the cooler days we end up inside to warm up, relax, and grab a bite to eat, there is still a gorgeous view from inside because of the expansive windows.” says Lombardi.


Tyler Greear. Age: 16. Eagle Valley High School Sophomore. Skiing and Riding Vail for 13 years. Three words to describe Vail: “Exhilarating. Adventurous. Relaxing.”
As a self-described guy (I don’t know what that means?), Tyler Greear hankers for powder, trees and cliffs. He satisfies all of those desires at Blue Sky Basin. “My absolute favorite run is Lovers Leap at Blue Sky Basin,” says Greear. “There are trees, cliffs, and deep powder – always powder. Iʼm all about the wide open feel, definitely.” He also believes that “the Back Bowls are the perfect place to hide from civilization. Out there, you feel like youʼre the only one back there.”Tyler Greear.1 VR5

When a long, memorable day out in Blue Sky Basin comes to a close, Greear and his friends head to Two Elk Restaurant to “eat and hang out,” he says. His friendʼs father is a chef there and he says the food is always amazing, he especially looks forward to a steaming-hot bowl of the infamous buffalo chili. His words of advice are to skip the crowds by hitting the restaurant later in the afternoon.

Other excitement on Vail Mountain for Greear and his friends is tubing at Adventure Ridge. “Tubing is always a fun activity on the mountain,” he says. “Sometimes we go for a special occasion – like a friendʼs birthday party – or sometimes just to do something fun and different in the winter,” says Greear. After tubing, he and his friends like to enjoy one of Vailʼs fantastic restaurants and walk around Lionshead, peeking into shops looking at gear and sometimes grabbing gelato.

Carter Coleman.2 VR6Carter Coleman. Age: 13, Vail Christian Academy, 8th grade. Skiing and Riding Vail for 11 years. Three words to describe Vail: “Awesome. Fun. Different.”
Carter Coleman craves variety. As an avid skier and snowboarder, he loves the variety Vail offers for a young yet experienced skier and rider like he is. For the most part, he says he prefers wide open-like runs (donʼt worry Mom, inbounds, of course), so he normally heads out to the Back Bowls at Vail. “Out there you can always find powder as well as challenging and fresh places to ski and ride,” he says.

On the front side, his favorite, not-to-miss run is Berries, a black diamond, mid-mountain run. When heʼs looking for something else to get his adrenaline flowing, Coleman makes his way to the Golden Peak Terrain Park, which he says is “awesome” as his face lights up. “Itʼs an amazing terrain park and so exciting,” he says. “I love how the

Riva Bahn Express Lift (#6) takes you right to it.” He likes that he can take the lift and then decide to either take a run or drop in to the terrain park.
When heʼs not skiing or boarding Carter looks forward to tubing at Adventure Ridge with his friends.

Coleman loves hanging out in Vail in the summer too. “Adventure Ridge is great in the summer,” says Coleman. This year, he enjoyed experimenting with the brand new Zipline and the new Aerial Challenge Courses which each have beginner, intermediate and advanced features.

Also in the summer, Coleman makes a point to never miss the GoPro Mountain Games. “My favorite sport to watch is the slacklining competition,” says Coleman. “Itʼs amazing to watch those guys in action.”

Other locals have expressed their interest in taking a few quick runs around Chair 4, and then having après ski at The 10th, Vailʼs newest on-mountain dining experience. “It has a top selection of wine and champagne for your sipping pleasure, awesome bathrooms, clean, comfy and with sunscreen. Itʼs the place you can take your boots off and relax and when you are ready, you ride the new Gondola 1 down the mountain.”

Other secrets include snacks at the gazebo near the gondola and Adventure Ridge. “Majestic views of the mountains and towns surrounding Vail, an up-close view of the immense beauty of the Colorado mountains, itʼs hard to pull away and ski down for the day.”

So now that some of the localsʼ secrets are out, what will you challenge yourself to explore the next time you are on Vail Mountain? Vail truly has something for everyone. So get out there and discover an unfamiliar area, attempt a different run, a newfound activity, and even a fresh, new restaurant. Vail truly offers many experiences that are “Like Nothing on Earth.”