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How to Have an Epic Mountain Picnic

The longer, sunnier days of spring are upon us! And, that means spring skiing and spring picnic time. Let someone else throw the picnic for you or create your own fabulous affair on or off the mountain.

On April 8th the extraordinary picnic returns at the Taste of Vail’s Mountain Top Picnic atop Eagle’s Nest.  Held at 10,350 feet above sea level, this party offers spectacular mountain vistas accompanied by gourmet food, beer, wine, and spirits. Snow or shine this is an event not to be missed with tickets available to purchase now.

Should you miss out on the Mountain Top picnic, not to worry!  You can host your own mountain or village picnic with friends and family with our suggestions for location, food and special touches to impress!

Location, location, location! The ideal mountain picnic starts with the perfect location. And, Vail Mountain is home to several amazing decks, each with their own special appeal. We’ve compiled a list of the Mountain deck options, but locals’ favorites are Windows Deck, Jebbie’s Deck and Belle’s Camp in Blue Sky Basin.

Women skiers having a picnic lunch on Vail Mountain with the Gore Range as a backdrop in beautiful Colorado.

 

Regardless of the location, preparation is essential to make certain you’ve acquired all the food and beverage requirements. All items can be purchased at City Market or Safeway in West Vail. Following is a list of delicious, hearty and simple items to include in the spread you’re creating:

  • Meat & Cheese Board: Salami, sausage, ham, prosciutto, Gouda, cheddar, Havarti, Swiss (or your personal favorites). If meats/cheeses are not pre-sliced at the store or home, be sure to bring a sharp knife or two.
  • Dips: Hummus, soft cheese dips, ranch, French onion.
  • Breads & Crackers – A variety of breads and crackers to accompany the meat/cheese platter and dips.
  • Nuts & Dried Fruits are always nice to include on the side of meat and cheese platter.
  • Fruit & Veggies are an added touch for those looking to eat more “healthy”. Again, pre-cut or whole fruits (think apples, strawberries, oranges), along with baby carrots, celery sticks, broccoli flowers, peapods are always easy.
  • Olives are an easy finger food.
  • Pasta salad, potato salad, fruit salad or even a bagged green salad kit – just think about what extra serving dishes may be needed.
  • Fried and/or Roasted Chicken – what’s a picnic without fried (or roasted) chicken?
  • Sweets like cookies, Hershey kisses and peppermint patties for kids and adults.
  • Beverages – CANS (not bottles) of beer, seltzer, wine (box/bag vs. glass bottles), Champagne and/or Prosecco are always a nice celebratory touch. Be sure to have non-alcoholic options for younger picnickers and lots of water for everyone!
  • Grilling Option – Belle’s Camp at Blue Sky Basin features several community grills. If you want to include made to order grilled items in your picnic, suggestions include brats, burgers and chicken. Just be sure to add on buns and condiments to make it complete.
  • Paper and/or Plastic Wear – cups, plates, cutting/serving board and sharp knives, napkins, forks/spoons/knives if needed, napkins.
  • Trash Bags – while decks are equipped with trash cans, the mountain staff asks that you pack out what you’ve packed in! Please leave the deck cleaner than you found it! Let’s all work together to keep the natural environment clean for everyone to enjoy!

You will need a couple (at least) good size back-packs to transport your amazing spread to the deck of your choice. To avoid skiing with a heavy pack in the morning, drop them at a convenient location atop the mountain until you are ready for picnic time. Regardless of what time the picnic starts, the fun must wrap up in time to be off the mountain by closing time, 4:00 PM. Also, strongly think about downloading the Gondola and/or lifts, especially if alcohol has been consumed. Many late season injuries result from late day celebrations combined with late day skiing.

If your preference is a picnic in the village, the same menu can be served at a variety of in-town picnic locations. A beautiful spot, walking distance from Vail Village is Ford Park.  You’ll find a couple sheltered picnic areas, bathroom facilities and even a playground and large open space area for the kids.

If all this preparation sounds overwhelming, consider having your picnic personally curated! Picnic Vail will create an unforgettable picnic at a location of your choice (they have 3 suggestions), take care of all the details, and break it down afterward. A true come-as-you-are experience with no hassles!

A picnic in the beautiful natural setting of Vail can be a highlight of your vacation. Take the time to plan out the details and be sure to take lots of pictures!