Skiers are known to dream, research and plan – all in the name of staying one step ahead of the next skier. You are probably already watching (from afar) the fresh new snowfall and know that Vail Mountain just received her first significant snowstorm of the season. The snow stakes at the top of the mountain are actively measuring snowfall, the snowmakers are hard at work, and drool-worthy photos are all over Insta.
Aside from reading about the abundance of new snow and dreaming of buttery “S” turns, you are probably getting your ski legs ready through an intense ski fitness program. Our How to Get in Shape for Skiing and Snowboarding blog post provides a healthy start. We’d like to offer another tip: Ski. There is no better way to get your ski legs ready than by actually skiing and there is no better time than what locals call “early season” in Vail, Colorado.
Why ski “early season,” you ask? Maybe you are already committed to your holiday ski vacation – a longstanding tradition for your family and are anxiously waiting for that trip to happen. We agree the holidays in Vail are amazing, but we propose that an early season trip is the best way to kick off your long winter of skiing.
Read on for reasons to convince you to book your trip now. Vail opens on November 11, so tick tock – Winter Is Coming….and don’t be left behind doing lunges in a hot, sweaty gym.
1. Snag awesome lodging deals.
Early season lodging deals will save you tons of money (savings you can apply to your future visits to Vail during high season). Comparing early season lodging rooms rates to high season holiday rates offers deals at a fraction of the high season cost. So, if you’ve always been curious about what it’s like to experience the top hotels in Vail, early season is the time to indulge.
One such hotel, The Antlers at Vail, even goes so far as to provide a Thanksgiving meal with their early season lodging package. Taking place from November 22-25, the package comes with a chef-prepared turkey dinner (whipped up by local chef Barry Robinson) and a complimentary Thanksgiving Survival Kit.
The gourmet meal includes roast turkey breast, thigh and leg, slow-cooked giblet gravy, salad of mixed greens and garden vegetables with homemade herb dressing, garlic mashed potatoes, green beans with toasted almonds, caramelized butternut squash, yam mash, savory stuffing and tart cranberry sauce. And all topped off by classic pumpkin pie and vanilla bean ice cream. YUM! You’ll need to earn your turns after this feast.
The survival kit includes a bottle of wine or six-pack from the local Vail Brewing Company, travel size Tums, disposable hand and foot warmers, and pumpkin pie flavored Chapstick. This Early Bird Gets the Bird package should motivate any skier looking for that early edge to spread their wings.
2. Welcome winter with fun-filled events.
Long ago are the days when early season was considered sleepy with nothing to do in Vail. Revely Vail: Welcome to the Brilliance of Winter, is organizing lively, spirited events for the entire family, or for you and your exclusive group of BFFs. Revely Vail is the town’s way of saying, “Welcome To Winter”! It takes place from November 11 through December 15, 2022.
Think live concerts, ice skating exhibitions, astronomy nights, weekly art events, weekly silent discos, tree lightings, a Kris Kringle Market, cooking classes and more. There will even be an Ugly Sweater 5K run on December 10 that starts and ends in Lionshead. That’s right, along with your long underwear, pack your favorite Ugly Holiday Sweater and plan to participate in the fun-filled morning run that benefits the Eagle Valley Community Foundation’s The Community Market (you need to bring a toy or food donation). Be Merry and Bright with us!
3. Have the mountain to yourself.
Have the mountain to yourself in November. Wait, what? Well, it’s true. Although there is less of Vail’s massive terrain open during early season, count on having the runs to yourself. All this means less waiting in the lift lines, more laps, and fluffy untracked powder and smooth corduroy groomers for you, you and you. Early season in Vail has been known to open more terrain than expected especially with blessings from Mother Nature. It’s not a gambit though as the Vail snowmaking system and operators are the best in the world and will guarantee that you will be skiing in early season. Doubting Thomas can stay home, while Suzy Chapstick will be doing laps on Vail’s early season slopes. Don’t be a Thomas, be a Suzy!
4. $20.22 fills your appetite.
Good news for early season epicureans: reservations at your restaurant of choice will be a cinch. And there will be a deal to boot. $20.22 deals are omnipresent. El Segundo – any two tacos and a house margarita for $20.22. A half dozen freshly shucked oysters and a glass of champagne for $20.22. Deca + Bol – $20.22 off the entire bill. The Blue Moose’s specialty pizza will be offered for $20.22 all day. Los Amigos’ select tacos for $2.20 and pitchers of beer for $20.22. Leonora’s breakfast and Bloody Mary for $20.22. Frost’s 7x Colorado Wagu Burger and draft beer for $20.22. Yoshimi Pop-Up will serve daily sushi roll and draft Sapporo beer for $20.22. Elways’ Smash Burger and a beer – $20.22. The Hythe Vail’s signature Bison Poutine and Revel Old Fashioned all for $20.22. You get the picture.
At the publication of this blog post, Vail restaurants are finalizing their winter menus for Vail Restaurant Week which starts on Opening Day, November 11. Specials in honor of Vail’s 60th Anniversary are all you need to imbibe a gastronomical gourmet delight. Arrive hungry. Depart satiated.
5. 60 is the new 40.
Vail is turning 60 and the diamond celebration begins during an early season Birthday Bash, December 15-17, 2022. It’s been a while since people thought of 60 as old and truth be told, Vail is still young compared to other ski resorts. Come celebrate Vail with the locals and partake in many unique offerings both on the mountain and in the town. Back in ’62, the year Vail opened, skiers wore leather lace up boots even though the first plastic ski boots were introduced by Lange in the same year. No helmets were worn, rather, wool knit caps were in vogue. Women wore real fur, not faux. Lifts were slow fixed grip, not high-speed express or heated gondolas with WiFi. Ski fashion, equipment and techniques have come so far, and so has Vail. The Colorado Snowsports Museum, located in the heart of Vail, has fantastic exhibits depicting the history of this sport we all love. Help Vail blow out her birthday candles and join the party! Who knows….maybe bota bags will make a comeback.
6. Light up the holidays.
Vail brightens officially on November 26, 5-6 pm at the Sunbird Park Playground. This is a magical time when the annual, highly anticipated, local-favorite event, the Revely Tree Lighting, will take place. Festivities to accompany this quintessential Vail holiday tradition include a free 15-minute exhibition of Champion Figure Skaters on the Arrabelle Ice Rink, live music, and a special appearance by St. Nick. Join the Vail community for this joyous occasion and kick off your holiday season in Vail style. As Vail brightens, so does your holiday spirit. Move over Rockefeller Center…make way for Vail.
So, now you have plenty of reasons to visit Vail early season. We hope to see you on November 11, or thereabouts. As the locals say, “Meet you at Gondola One!”