When it comes to Vail in winter, romance is always in the air. Simply being in this magical place may be enough to make many couples overflow with love. Just wait until you see what happens when you mix in a few of the most romantic things to do in Vail in winter. Here comes a handcrafted top 10 list designed to give couples the most magnificent memories to last a lifetime.
1. An Intimate Snowshoe and Romantic Picnic
Intimacy is known to bloom during long walks and romantic picnics. But this time you’re trading walking shoes for snowshoes. And instead of a picnic on the grass, you’ll be enjoying a picnic in the snow.
Grab two pairs of snowshoes at the Vail Nordic Center, and then head out to explore the center’s 10 kilometers of scenic trails as quickly or languidly as you like. No matter the pace, a snowshoeing adventure gives you plenty of time for fantastic conversation amid gorgeous views — while sharing a kiss or two along the way.
All that snowshoeing is going to work up quite an appetite. But you don’t want to give up your outdoor adventure just yet. So, don’t. Instead of heading indoors for a bite to eat, stay outdoors and have the picnic come to you.
Contact Picnic Vail in advance to set up the date, time and location for your lunch. They’ll bring everything you need – from the food to the cozy rugs and blankets — to enjoy a delicious dining experience on the snow.
2. A WildWOOD Adventure AND An Ice Bar
When you and your love are in the mood for a wild winter adventure, it’s time to turn things up a notch. Spend a thrilling morning skiing or snowboarding on Vail Mountain, followed by lunch at Wildwood Smokehouse — and cocktails from the ice bar.
The ice bar?
You bet! It’s a special outdoor bar built out of ice and snow in honor of Vail’s 60th anniversary. Vail pioneer Bill Whiteford built the original ice bar back in February of 1965. Two new ice bars debuted on the mountain for the 2022–23 season, one of which is located at Wildwood Smokehouse.
Wildwood Smokehouse is an on-mountain restaurant serving up authentic barbecue two miles high. As you can imagine, the tasty food comes with equally delicious views. All the meats are smoked in-house, and you can enjoy everything from sandwiches and chicken to wild rice soup. And don’t forget the ice-bar cocktails!
3. Dinner for Two in a Private Gondola
Just when you thought a romantic winter picnic or sky-high dining and cocktails was as amazing at it could get, here comes the private gondola-dining experience. This one-of-a-kind delight involves dinner served up in your very own private gondola at Alpenrose.
No, the gondola is not actually heading up the mountain. That would mean you would have to scarf down your dinner way too fast. You instead get two luxurious hours in a cozy gondola secured firmly on the ground in Vail Village.
That doesn’t mean it isn’t romantic as all get out. In fact, it’s even more romantic, thanks to its cushy amenities. Each gondola is equipped with a small heater for an additional layer of comfort, a Bluetooth speaker so you can stream your own music, and a dimmer switch that lets you make the ambiance as brilliant or intimate as you wish.
Sigh. We’re already swooning — before even mentioning the savory sauces, luscious cheese and hearty farmer’s bread that comes with the meal.
4. A Sleigh Ride and Dining Delight
Even if we tried, we just couldn’t stop serving up the romantic adventure options in Vail. There are just too many from which to choose. To make things easier, you can narrow down your choice based on the mood of the day. If that mood happens to be dreamy, you’ll definitely want to opt for a sleigh ride and dinner.
A romantic sleigh ride and dinner is about as close to a real-life fairy tale as you can get — and without any evil villains to foul things up. You instead get a happily-ever-after adventure that takes you on a horse-drawn sleigh beneath the starry skies, followed by a hearty, home-cooked meal that will warm your heart and excite your palate.
Even better, the sleigh-ride-and-dinner-date option is available from two different ranches in town. Choose 4 Eagle Ranch for an authentic ranch dinner or select Bearcat Stables for a four-course meal featuring savory Colorado cuisine.
5. An Extra ‘Mush’-y Romantic Ride
There’s nothing wrong with a lovey-dovey couple getting a little mushy. In fact, we have a way you can get a little extra mushy, so to speak. That’s with a dog sledding adventure — topped off with the creamiest, dreamiest hot chocolate you ever did meet.
Melt into the experience, allowing the rush of crisp air to hit your cheeks as you’re powered over the snow by a team of top-notch sled dogs. When you’re not busy falling in love with the dogs, or more deeply in love with your partner, you can take in the stunning panoramic views that are whipping on by.
Several Vail outfitters offer dog-sledding adventures, and you can’t go wrong with any of them. Top off the experience with a decadent serving of Haute Chocolate at Four Seasons Vail.
Created by the resort’s executive chef, Haute Chocolat is a rich concoction featuring melted chocolate cascaded over a handmade marshmallow perched atop a chocolate lattice — all mingling into a creamy milk-chocolate brew. Talk about a love potion!
6. A Deep Relaxation Experience
Not every day in Vail can be stocked with outdoor adventures and gourmet hot chocolate. Well, yes it can. But you and your sweetie may still want to take a breather in between all your outdoor fun. The best way to unplug for some deep relaxation is with a couple’s massage at one of Vail’s spectacular spas.
With a handful of spas at your service, you’re certain to pinpoint the one that aligns with your mood and personality. Whether you’re looking for a traditional alpine vibe, a hip and happening scene or an elegant Colorado feel, any spa you select for your couple’s massage is apt to bring peace and serenity.
7. A Winter Stroll, Nosh and Shop
Anyone who loves shopping will likely pick this couple’s adventure first, but shopping isn’t the only activity that awaits on this enchanting outing. The full agenda includes a winter stroll through the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, followed by a visit to Vail Village for lunch and boutique hopping.
Kick off the day exploring the winter wonderland of the Gardens at your own pace. You can even rent a pair of snowshoes on the spot at the Garden’s Education Center. Strolling through nature is a great way to connect more closely to the earth, not to mention each other.
Get up close and personal with delicious fare infused with European flair by having lunch at Almresi in Vail Village. Since you’re already in Vail Village, it only makes sense to browse the bastion of art galleries, boutiques and other shops where you can find gifts for your friends, yourself or each other.
8. Oysters at Après-Ski
Late afternoons and evenings in Vail are the perfect time for romance, especially when you spend them at one of the town’s hot après-ski hangouts. That place would be the Vail Chophouse in Lionshead Village.
Not only do you get a luscious lineup of lunch or dinner options to refuel your energy after hours of skiing, but you can dine on them while listening to Vail musician Phil Long. This well-known local is a regular performer at the chophouse, and people keep coming back for more.
It’s easy to come back for more of the scrumptious food, too, with menu items that range from oysters to Mahi fish tacos to baby back ribs.
Food isn’t the only yummy stuff on the menu. No après-ski experience would be complete without tasty and toasty drinks. Order a round of winter warmers or a bottle of Champagne from the cocktail menu as you kick back, listen to the music and absorb the harmonious vibe.
9. A Bowling Date
Say what?! You heard right. Bowling. Anyone who doesn’t think bowling can be romantic hasn’t been bowling at DECA + BOL. It’s probably the most high-end bowling experience you’ll find anywhere ever. And with a world-class eatery built into the venue, it’s one of the tastiest, too.
This chic restaurant and bowling alley is located in Solaris Plaza in the heart of Vail Village. The DECA part of DECA + BOL is where you’ll find an American-inspired menu exploding with exciting flavors and elevated ambiance.
The BOL half of the equation is where you’ll find the bowling — and more. The intimate setting features 10 custom lanes, along with a happening nightlife vibe that encourages fun and games into the wee hours of the night.
10. Fondue for Two
There’s nothing more romantic than breaking bread together over a warm pot of cheesy fondue in a cozy nook at the Swiss Chalet. Located in the luxurious Sonnenalp Hotel in the heart of Vail Village, this cabin-inspired restaurant features traditional European cuisine such as mouth-watering schnitzel, spaetzle and delicious fondues. Share a variety of melted raclette cheeses and a bottle of wine as your venison medallions, lamb chops and sausages sizzle away on the table-top grill. Dinner at this casually elegant eatery might just have you professing to one another, “I’m so very fondue of you.”
Where to Begin?
With so many romantic things to do in Vail in winter, it may be a tough call to know where to start. We say let your mood of the day be the guide. And start with the very first step that will make any and all of these romantic experiences possible — book your lodging in Vail with your special someone today.