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10 Ways to Enjoy the Holidays in Vail

‘Tis the season to be jolly! Merry and bright! But maybe your home holiday traditions – like watching Love Actually – are getting a little stale. Maybe all you want for Christmas is to be in a winter wonderland. We know the perfect place: A holiday vacation in Vail. Vail knows how to deck the halls better than any other mountain resort town. Vail decks the ski runs, restaurants, cobblestone streets, and sure, all the hotel halls too. North America’s premier ski mountain has oodles of holiday spirit, so, strike the harp, join the chorus and plan a Vail holiday sojourn that will fill your cup until it runneth over. Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!

Here are 10 ways to enjoy the holidays in Vail:

1. Haute Chocolate, Anyone?

Speaking of cups, you’ll find holiday bliss in a cup at the Four Seasons Vail. This is not any regular cup of hot chocolate like the powdered mix you make at home with the faux mini marshmallows. This exquisite cup of cocoa is decadent, rich and some might say “life altering”. “Haute Chocolate” at the Remedy Bar in the Four Seasons Vail is just the prescription following a long day on the slopes.

Created by Executive Pastry Chef Andrew Schweska, this luxe cup of chocolatey warmth is made with Swiss chocolate (is there any other kind?), marshmallow and Chantilly cream. It is served in a traditional French hot chocolate pot. The steamed milk and Valrhona chocolate are churned right next to your table. Much like skiing the summit, what is on top of the cup is the best – a dark chocolate lattice and homemade marshmallows. You will find yourself fast walking the cobblestone streets to Remedy Bar to get your Haute Chocolate fix after each ski day.

2. Light Up the Holidays

The annual Revely Tree Lighting (taking place November 26 from 6-7 pm) is at the Sunbird Park in Lionshead Village this holiday season. This long-standing tradition kicks off the Vail holidays and brings together locals and tourists. Fun for the entire family, dress warmly and enjoy a free ice skating exhibition of champion figure skaters on the Vail Square Ice Rink after the official lighting of the majestic tree. A special appearance by St. Nick will check the box for parents looking to keep this tradition going with their little ones. On Dasher, on Dancer, on Cupid, on Vail!

3. Ice, Ice Baby

Vail Mountain has it going ON during the holidays. Spend the morning in in the legendary Back Bowls doing laps on wide open powder runs. By afternoon, head on over to the Ice Bar at Eagle’s Nest for some spiked eggnog. The Ice Bar is a nod to the original version from the late 1960s and is making a comeback in celebration of Vail’s 60th birthday. Where better to ring in the New Year with a champagne toast? It’s just the pop you need to muster up the courage for a couple laps in the terrain park before heading down the hill for the day. Rudolph’s big air has nothing on you.

4. Enjoy Art with Altitude

At the top of the Eagle Bahn Gondola, Gray Malin’s modern aerial photography greets skiers as they exit the gondola and prepare to ski. The collection of Malin’s inspirational and joyous “A La Montagne” images, curated along with black-and-white Vail vintage photos, enhance the momentous birthday festivities for Vail’s 60th. Malin is a well-known photographer who has a knack for capturing a bird’s eye view of resort living. Any piece from his Vail series would make an amazing holiday gift.

5. Shop for the Perfect Gift

Nothing says “Happy Holidays” like a gift from one of Vail’s unique shops and boutiques. Here you can shop for everyone on your list, naughty or nice. Hand-tooled cowboy boots from Kemo Sabe for dad? Check. A pavé diamond Mama Bear necklace from The Golden Bear for mom? Check. Burton snowboards for the kids? Check. Check.

6. Ring in the New Year

New Years Eve fireworks over Vail Village in Vail, Colorado

A quintessential Vail holiday activity, aside from the popular photo opportunity at the Christmas trail sign, is the annual New Year’s Eve Torchlight Parade ski down at Golden Peak. Ring in the New Year, Vail-style. Usually starting around 6 pm, locals and tourists alike gather at the base of Golden Peak to watch ski instructors ski down with torch lights in a snake-like configuration. After this festive parade, a fireworks display brightens the starry sky and welcomes in 2023 with gusto. And how about an outdoor silent disco? Head over to Sunbird Park near the ice rink in Lionshead between 4-7 pm and check it out!

7. Eat, Drink and Be Merry

Winter Couple during Apres

From Golden Peak there is easy access to walk along holiday decorated cobblestone streets over to the plethora of Vail Village bistros, cafes and fine dining. Rack of caribou for two in the Antlers Room at Pepi’s, Italian truffles at La Bottega, traditional fondue and raclette (fun for the whole family) at the Swiss Chalet, dover sole for two prepared a la meuniere and deboned tableside at the Left Bank are some splendid choices. Splurge and satisfy your inner gourmand with an unforgettable meal in Vail.

8. Party Like’s It’s 1962

Stroll across Vail’s festively lit covered bridge and stop to gaze at the puffy snow-covered boulders on Gore Creek. On the other side of the bridge, the magic begins. This winter, all the bars and restaurants will be celebrating Vail’s 60th birthday. Party like it’s 1962 at The Red Lion, Shakedown Bar, The George, 10th Mountain Whiskey and Spirits Bar, Root & Flower, El Segundo, Bully Ranch, and more. Or head over to nearby Lionshead Village where Garfinkel’s and Bart and Yeti’s serve holiday cocktails slopeside. From casual to trendy, New Year’s Eve is done right in Vail. The highly anticipated Henry’s whiskey, made by 10th Mountain Whiskey and Spirits, was hand-crafted in honor of Vail Mountain’s first ski patrol dog, a gentle, snow-loving golden retriever who recently passed away. A toast to Henry for the holidays!

9. Dancing in the Streets

Back shot of man holding his child and facing stage in winter clothing

Live music with Phil Long at the Vail Chophouse in Lionshead is a fun après-ski option followed by a sumptuous steak dinner. Phil has been a fixture in the Vail après party scene for decades and encourages sing-a-longs, requests and non-stop entertainment. Shakedown Bar in Vail Village features live music and has the best live rock ‘n roll shows in the valley.

10. Because…it’s Vail!

Vail village in winter

The North Pole has nothing on Vail…it’s like being in your own personal snow globe surrounded by the most amazing dining, shopping and outdoor winter fun you could ever dream of. There’s nothing more magical than Vail for the holidays.

So, what are you waiting for? Are you ready to swap presents under the tree for untracked powder, fireworks, fondue, ice bars and Haute Chocolate? Ring in 2023 with a shake and a stir and a few turns on Vail Mountain. Admit it…all you want for Christmas is Vail!