Vail: What’s Hot in Winter

Check out these tips from our expert on what’s new to do in Vail during the winter season.


For those of us who love winter sports, it’s a happy day when we can introduce our children to the world of perfect powder. Often, it’s not easy. Or inexpensive. But the opportunities for mountainside family fun continue to multiply.

Plan Ahead

Timing. Not surprisingly, ski resorts are most expensive and crowded during school holidays. If you can plan a trip outside the typical school breaks—Christmas, President’s Day weekend and Spring Break—you will save a considerable amount of money, have more room on the slopes and have less of a crowd in the snow-sport classes. And of course, travel is educational! Bit if you must travel during peak times, book early.

Find the freebies. There are an increasing number of deals and fly/ski free packages for families to consider. This year if you fly non-stop to Vail/Eagle County Regional Airport (EGE) from now through April 13, 2008, you’ll ski for free on the day of arrival at Vail or Beaver Creek with a valid boarding pass and lodging confirmation. Passengers on direct flights from Atlanta, Chicago, Cincinnati, Dallas/Ft. Worth and Denver will be able to take advantage of this program. Original or online printed boarding passes must be presented at lift ticket windows along with a valid Vail Valley lodging confirmation receipt and/or photocopy. Only one lift ticket per person, per boarding pass and lodging confirmation permitted. For details call 800-503-8748.

To find out about other free programs for kids, including Kids Fly Free promotions go to or call 800-404-3535.

Gear check. With fast-growing kids in your camp, sometimes renting gear makes the most sense. To save time and the hassle of struggling through airports and parking lots with skis, boots, boards and poles, we’ve used Order the latest equipment online and then pick up your gear upon arrival. You can even arrange to pick up from one of seven shops closest to your lodging choice. Advance reservations receive up to 20 percent off the regular daily price and for every adult rental, a junior (age 12 or younger) gets a free rental for the same number of days. For details visit or call 800-544-6648.

Get Out There

Our family has skied throughout the Vail Valley and the boys have been to ski school at both Vail and Beaver Creek. Both resorts provide an outstanding and comfortable environment for children to learn the ups and downs of the sport.


Sure, they can learn snow sport skills from some of the best in the business. But Adventure Ridge, Vail’s mountain-top activity center, looks like so much fun! New this year, families can engage in some amazing activities:

Kid’s Snowmobile. Kids aged 6-12 and weighing less than 110 pounds can cruise around a specially crafted speedway in mini-snowmobiles. Fast or slow? The junior driver decides. $24 per session.

Tubing. A multi-lane tubing hill gives kids of all ages a downhill rush. Grab the lift back up and give it another go. $24 per hour.

Ski Biking. Kids must be at least 14 and intermediate or better skiers. Hop on a ski bike—yep, part bike, part ski—and join a nighttime downhill adventure tour. Reservations recommended. Call 970-476-9090.

Snowshoe. The staff of the Nature Discovery Center provides guided snowshoe tours from the top of Vail Mountain. All ages welcome, but the pros recommend adults and kids over 10. For an extra special experience, join the night tours when the moon is full.

Trampoline. Try your acrobatic feats on your own or with a friend. Kids will go sky high on this trampoline. Not to worry. There’s a bungee harness. $10

Class time. Vail’s ski and snowboard school, known as one of the best, has been renamed the Vail Snowsports School to more accurately reflect the full level of instruction available. This is the place for the whole family to bone up on alpine skiing, snowboarding, Nordic sports, adaptive, telemark and other snow-sliding winter sports.

It’s all available for parents wishing to arrange instruction or care for their kids in every age group. It is strongly recommended to investigate your options—from full-day private to half-day small group lessons—before your arrival and make a booking. Times and days may fill up, particularly during a busy holiday stretch.

Descriptions of the various group and private offerings are available on the Vail Web site. You can book in advance by visiting Children’s Online Reservations at

Beaver Creek  

Variety of classes. This beautiful resort has a full range of instruction available for kids of all ages and abilities. The Children’s Center is an easy to maneuver, one-stop shop for ski-school retail and rental skis, snowboards and helmets; apparel; and last-minute can't-ski-withouts. Located in Village Hall, the Center is steps away from the beginner terrain.

Last season, my son Ted signed up for a group teen lesson. He learned a few new maneuvers and improved his bump skiing. His favorite takeaway was the location of a few “secret” jumps, trails and shortcuts that could only be revealed by an insider. His instructor was happy to share!

For many parents, it’s tough to determine which class is right for their child. Click here for a look at a video with helpful advice from the pros. 

New Children’s Gondola and Learning Area. An eight-passenger Buckaroo Express Gondola provides a warm and comfortable 3.75-minute ride to a new beginner learning area for kids—and adults, too. The learning area is located at the top of the gondola on the existing Haymeadow run. Skiers will find two magic carpets and customized learning slopes that facilitate the correct movements. A third magic carpet serves a slightly steeper pitch designed specifically for snowboarders in training.

Parkology. Beaver Creek’s award winning Parkology program is among the many interesting offerings available. It’s an innovative park and pipe lesson program featuring progressive learning terrain and weekly instruction for aspiring free skiers and riders, ages 3 to 17. A series of learning competitions for Parkology students are scheduled throughout the winter to help aspiring jibbers hone their skills, learn park etiquette and become more comfortable in a competitive setting.

Family Packages. There is a range of packages. For example: The Family Fun package, starting at $3,000, includes a five-night stay in a two-bedroom condominium at St. James Place in Beaver Creek with four days of skiing and ski rentals for two adults and two children. Based on availability. Valid now through April 13, 2008. Find out more:

Ski With a Ranger. Join a Forest Service volunteer on the slopes each Saturday to learn about the local ecology. The one-hour tour is free with your lift ticket.

Night Time Fun for Families. The good times continue after the lifts close with plenty of free activities for families. Check out the new disco ice-skating party and new storytelling evening around the outdoor fire pits. Glow stick ski-downs, rail jams, fireworks displays, kids’ tubing, figure-skating shows and family-friendly concerts round out an extensive line-up of complimentary activities offered each night throughout the winter. Sleigh-ride dinners, family cultural performances, a teen video arcade and year-round, outdoor ice-skating add to the fun.

Destinations: Colorado, Vail

Themes: Family Travel

Activities: Skiing, Snowboarding

User Comments

Epic Snow Year! With epic snow levels this year, this is a tempting get away!

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