Vail Travel Guide: BEST Family Ski Trip
We refer to Vail as our “happy place.” You just can’t beat breathing in the fresh mountain air, the stunning views, hot tubbing with snow falling around you, the freeing feeling of skiing down the mountain…I could go on and on.
Strolling through the village feels as if you are walking through an Austrian village without having to cross the ocean. The Bavarian culture is evident in the food and architecture.
Each year we take a trip in either the summer or fall and then a ski trip in the winter season. You can check out our guide for summer months HERE.
This year was extra special because we brought the boys along to try their hand at skiing for the first time!
My husband had a brief stint where he lived out here and was a ski instructor for young ones. It just made it all the more special to be able to watch them with our own little guys.
HOW TO GET THERE
There is a local airport, Eagle County Regional Airport. However, there are limited flight options. We fly into Denver International Airport and rent a car. It’s a very scenic drive.
This time we stopped at the Ice Castles in Dillon along the way. HIGHLY RECOMMEND. It’s a bucket list type of experience and the kids absolutely loved it!
You can also take the Colorado Mountain Express ride shuttle.
Once you arrive in Vail everything is easily walkable. They also offer a free bus transportation service which can take you between Lionshead and Vail Village.
If you are staying at the Four Seasons (where we always chose to stay) they will give you rides anywhere throughout Vail, at your request. You can even take out one of their Mercedes Benz to cruise around Vail in style.
WHERE TO STAY
Hands down the best place to stay in Vail is the Four Seasons Vail The location is walkable to the gondola, bars, restaurants, streams, etc. We have tried out everywhere, but this is simply the best. The staff is so friendly and they make every possible accommodation for you. They greeted our boys with a bag of goodies and set them up a tent in the room. The bar, pool, Flame restaurant, etc. are impeccable. One of our favorite things to do is get the “haute chocolate.” They slow pour the most decadent hot chocolate over a chocolate grid on top of an oversized mug. It melts in and is then topped with a homemade marshmallow. Drooling thinking about it. If you are not a guest of the hotel… still go get that hot chocolate!
If you are choosing to ski the hotel makes it as convenient as possible to do so. You can rent your skis through Gorsuch located inside the hotel. It’s easy to get fitted right there at the hotel. They then send the correct skis, poles, helmets down to the ski concierge at the base of the mountain. Ski concierge will help you get your ski boots on and walk your skis right to the mountain for you. It truly couldn’t be a more stress free experience.
WHAT TO DO
Ski– The skiing in Vail is insanely good! The views are amazing and there are plenty of options of green trails up to double black diamonds depending on your skill set. There is simply nothing more freeing than being at the top of a mountain.
Vail mountain offers Ski School for children 3 years+ (and potty trained.) We highly recommend taking this route. They make skiing fun for kids, but more importantly they teach them proper technique, how to carry skis, how to put their skis on, etc. They take lots of breaks and play games, etc. Kids are never outside too long to get too cold.
Adventure Ridge-– At the top of the mountain they offer snow tubing, a coaster and other fun winter activities.
Shop- There are tons of local boutiques, art, jewelry shops and more. Everything is so walkable that you can pop in and out of each one. The boys loved the toy store and the candy shop. (Shocking, I know. HA!)
Spa- The Four Seasons Five-Star Spa can’t be beat.
Ride The Scenic Gondola- If you aren’t wanting to ski riding the gondola is a great way to explore the mountain and check out the views from the top!
WHERE TO EAT
It’s always fun to ride the gondola up the mountain and have lunch at the top. You just can’t beat the view! (It’s very casual.) There is also the 10th Restaurant at the top of the mountain. It’s a fun experience because you can take your ski boots of and wear slippers while you dine. We love to get fries and champagne for lunch as a fun little break.
The Remedy Bar- Located Inside the Four Seasons. Think really upscale “bar food.” They just hired a new chef and the food did NOT disappoint.
Garfinkles- You can sit outside and have a great view of the gondola and mountain.
Mountain Standard- The Colorado River Trout is insanely good. A local favorite.
La Nonna- A locals favorite!
Sweet Basil- We first found this gem during Taste of Vail. It’s a farm to table place with really fresh ingredients. Ask to sit out on the patio.
Almresi- The owners started this in Germany and it’s very authentic and unique. There are authentic Austrian dishes on the menu and it truly makes you feel like you are in another country.
Matsuhisa- This place is incredible! It’s a great sushi spot, but the 72 hour marinated miso cod is where it’s at!! It’s owned by Chef Nobu so you know it’s top knotch.
Flame- Located inside the Four Seasons. SO. DANG. GOOD. The food is excellent, but they were still extremely accommodating to the kids. The new chef created some table side experiences that are next level. The “CACIO & PEPE” table side was one of the highlights of the trip for us! They bring a parmesan wheel to the table and rotate in fresh pasta. They then top it with freshly shaved truffle. It is just divine!
WHERE TO DRINK
Vail Brewing Co.- It’s always fun to find a local brewery and this one has a laid back casual vibe.
The George- Fun fact… Trey worked here 20 years ago checking ID’s. HA! It’s the local hang out.
Bully’s Ranch- We have made it a tradition to grab a mudslide at the bar here. It’s got the true mountain decor and is always festive.
Root & Flower- They offer over 50 by the glass pours of wine, an extensive bottle selection, and lots of fun craft cocktails.
WHAT TO PACK
I’ve rounded up a very detailed list of everything to pack for skiing, winter clothes for walking around the town, travel gear and winter beauty essentials. You can check all of that out HERE!
FOR THE KIDS:
WHAT I PACKED: