Since moving to Salt Lake City 25 years ago, I've adored, been enamored with, and fallen madly in love with you. Sadly we may have to break up. You see, there might be a new love in my life and his name is Vail.
Maybe Not Yours Anymore,
If you love the mountains, Vail is worth visiting, especially if you have never been. This year would be an excellent choice to visit because it is celebrating its 50th anniversary. 50 years is a long time for anything, so I hopped on a plane in December to check it out. My BFF Kim and I flew into Denver and took a Colorado Mountain Express shuttle from the airport to our lodging at the Ritz Carlton Residences. It was a smooth ride, and I was especially impressed with the wireless service in our van that allowed me to connect to my office. (I need to give a shout-out to our driver, Elliott, who could be a comedian if he ever quit his job because he kept us laughing the entire trip.) We arrived in Vail in time to unpack our bags and head to Elways to meet some friends and get ready for their annual event, Snow Daze. The weekend was overflowing with parties, concerts (The Shins, Michael Franti and Wilco), and lots of Red Bull and vodka.
Needless to say, the Ritz Carlton Residences are lovely, but you really couldn't expect anything less from a place where you're likely to run into celebrities or pro athletes on any given day. (Out of full disclosure, I must say that the Ritz Carlton is a lodging partner with the company I work for, VacationRoost.) Their ski service is impeccable; ski storage and pick-up are right outside the main entrance. When we were ready, a couple of strapping young men helped us with our skis and we were off to explore.
Vail's new gondola "One" was installed just last year. It carries 10 passengers, has cushioned, heated seats, and features Wi-Fi access. I'm a believer in leaving your technology gear at home and fully immersing yourself in the mountain experience, but for those of you who can't unplug - it's the gondola for you.
The town of Vail is basically split in two parts, comprised of Lionshead and Vail Villages. Both have unique character and charm. Vail Village has a unique vibe stemming from its cobblestone streets and bridges. It is modeled after the European town Zermatt and is the vibrant hub of eating, shopping and après. We had appetizers at the Tavern on the Square in The Arrabelle. I'm still daydreaming about the food, especially the brussel sprouts with chorizo and Manchego cheese and the sweet potato fries with blue cheese aioli. Both alone are almost worth a planning a trip to Vail.
Our Vail trip was extra special because of the 50th anniversary activities. We were fortunate to attend the Michael Franti and Wilco concerts and several other special activities. If you haven't been, I'd encourage you to swing by Vail the next time you take a ski trip. The people are friendly in this ski town with quaint cobblestone streets. The town will continue to celebrate its 50th anniversary through the end of the 2013 ski season. One of the major upcoming events is the Spring Back to Vail end-of-season party. It will feature free concerts and signature events like the World Pond Skimming Championship. It will be worth the trip, because Vail will certainly end its 50th season with a bang.