Winter First Timer

Plan Your Winter Visit

Getting out to experience all the great things the Vail Valley has to offer during the winter can take a bit of time to plan out, but here are some of our favorites!


Just because you’re on vacation, doesn’t mean you can’t (or shouldn’t) get an early start to your day. Most areas and activities tend to get busier as the day goes on, and nothing beats the feel of the fresh mountain air crisp in your lungs when you head out for “first tracks”. Reward yourself for resisting the snooze button by heading into the Vail Village and grabbing a freshly brewed cuppa joe from Loaded Joe’s. They have locations in the Vail Village and Avon so whatever resort you decide to hit up for the day there’s no reason to forego your daily pick-me-up. This fun little shop serves gourmet espresso by Rococo Coffee Roasting alongside delicious breakfast sandwiches and fruity smoothies to get your day off to a great start!

Jump on the Mountain
Now that your belly is full and your eyes are wide-open, time to hop on the lift and earn your turns! If you aren’t sure of the best runs to take, we’ve got you covered. Vail has a great array of terrain for skiers and riders of all abilities, and the Back Bowls can’t be beat. To get your ski legs primed up, consider taking a quick jaunt down Born Free. This is a long, green-to-blue lap that starts at Eagle’s Nest and brings you right back down to the Eagle Bahn Gondola. Looking to head out to the fields? Poppyfields is an excellent choice as it is the only groomed run out back. When you’ve completed the descent, catwalk over to the one-and-only Blue Sky Basin famous for its impeccable views. If you happen to be a bit more daring, Riva Ridge is one of Vail’s original trails and clocks in at 4 miles long. This steep lap alternates between blue and black pitches, but watch out for the “Tourist Trap” as this is the run’s steepest section!

Not a Skier or Snowboarder?
Don’t fret. There are plenty of winter activities for those who don’t want to ski or snowboard. Enjoy a guided snowshoe tour from Walking Mountains Science Center, or check out all the Vail Nordic Center has to offer, including cross-country skiing and 13K of fat bike trails and fat bike rentals! Other cross-country centers, like Vail Golf Course and Eagle Ranch Golf Course, allow fat biking as well, and trails like Haymaker in Eagle are open to bikes year-round.


Be sure to beat the 3PM après crowd, and hit up Wyld in Beaver Creek for a delicious bite and winter warm-up cocktail. Or stop for après at Blue Moose PizzaDusty Boot (Beaver Creek), Vendetta’s (Vail) or Vail & Beaver Creek Chophouse. Whether you want a slice of heaven, filling yet scrumptious burger or a hot toddy to warm you up, the delicious array to satisfy your hunger needs are just steps away from the ski mountains in both Beaver Creek and Vail.

After you rest and refuel at Wyld, rent a pair of skates and show off your ice skating moves in the heart of Beaver Creek. Surrounding the rink are fire pits and plush couches where you can watch the little ones speed around while you warm up. It’s not too late to get your annual Christmas photo; the Beaver Creek Ice Rink offers a picturesque backdrop for a one-of-a-kind photo op! The ice rink is open daily from 12PM to 9PM and admission with rental skates is $15 for skaters 13 years and older.

Every year, Beaver Creek celebrates opening day with their Annual Beaver Creek Chocolate Chip Cookie Competition, where the winning recipe can be tasted every day. Cookie Time happens daily at 3:00 PM and allows you to enjoy fresh-baked cookies at the base of the Centennial Express Chairlift, and the second level of the plaza escalators. Make sure you’re on time as the cookies run out fast!


4 Eagle Ranch Sleigh Ride & Dinner
Crisp mountain air, star-lit skies, and a horse-drawn sleigh all await you at 4 Eagle Ranch. Your evening will begin at 6:00 pm and will conclude at 8:30 pm. When you first arrive, you may choose to enjoy a warm drink and a bowl of Juan’s famous chili before snuggling under cozy blankets for an unforgettable sleigh ride beneath wide open, star-lit skies. When you return, an authentic ranch dinner will be waiting for you with some of the finest cooking this side of the Continental Divide.

Bearcat Stables Dinner & Sleigh Ride
Nestled in the Squaw Creek Valley in Cordillera, 15 minutes west of Beaver Creek, Colorado, Bearcat’s Cabin is the original cabin the Bearden family homesteaded during the early 20th century. Open Tuesday-Saturday evenings from December through April, and seven days a week through the Christmas/New Year holiday. You and your family are invited to tour these historic grounds via Horse and Sleigh while sipping on your favorite beverage. Enjoy a delicious dinner right after.



Vail Welcome Center: Located on the top deck (level 4) of the Vail Village parking garage and in the new Welcome Center on the lower level at the southwest corner of the Lionshead parking garage, the welcome centers have numerous publications, maps and information on Vail.

Beaver Creek Guest Services: Whether you’re seeking hours of operation, Dial-a-Ride Transportation, activity information or general recommendations, BC Guest Services is here to make your vacation as seamless as possible.

Insider Tip: If you are looking for deals, we know where to find them. Grab the local newspaper, the Vail Daily, as soon as you arrive in the valley. It will have all the local specials running during your vacation and range from spas to restaurants and activities.

Restaurants & Bars

In the Vail Valley, eating isn't merely sustenance - it's an important part of the lifestyle. From fine dining hotspots to casual comforts, it's not hard to find great food. Colorado is known for their locals breweries, distilleries and even wineries. Come sample a taste of Colorado and even international spirit favorites.

Activity Providers

Sure, Vail is world-renowned for its skiing and snowboarding, but the Vail Valley offers plenty beyond vast bowls of bluebird powder days and grippin' groomers. Whether you prefer your adventure water-drenched, iced, air-borne, cliff-side, cycled, motorized or snowy out mountain recreation covers it- and much, much more.

Vail Valley Events

Ski terrain and wonderful snow put the Vail Valley on the map, but it's more than just a ski resort. The calendar is packed with events that are a big part of the Vail Valley's culture. From outdoor concerts at the Ford Amphitheater to bull riding at the rodeo, it's easy to stay busy.

Visitor Information from the Locals

The Lil Smokies in Beaver Creek | Feb. 5

String band Lil Smokies smokin’ hot Catch the band that’s catching fire at the Vilar Performing Arts Center on Feb. 5 IF YOU GO … What: Lil Smokies. When: Wednesday, Feb. 5, 7 p.m. Where: Vilar Performing Arts Center, Beaver Creek. Cost: $22. This show is part of the VPAC ticket package, PICK 3 Shows for $90; PICK 5 Shows for $175; or PICK 8 Shows for $240. More information: Visit or call...
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A National Broadway Tour – American in Paris

Romance on the stage Relive the famous musical An American in Paris when the national Broadway tour lands at the VPAC Jan. 22 Beaver Creek, Colo.  — The power of love is on full display in An American in Paris: A New Musical, a romantic tale of a young American soldier, a captivating French girl and a European city recovering after the war. The Tony Award-winning musical lands at the Vilar Performing Arts Center on Jan. 22. An...
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Laugh out loud with Tom Papa at the VPAC

Laugh out loud with Tom Papa at the VPAC Watch one of the top comedic voices in the country at the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek Jan. 19 Beaver Creek, Colo. — If one of your New Year’s resolutions was to laugh more in 2020, then the VPAC has you covered. Prepare for a surge of endorphins when stand-up comedian Tom Papa brings his stand-up to the Vilar Performing Arts Center on Jan. 19. Tom Papa lands at the Vilar...
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All Tips & Info