In my previous post, I wrote a detailed review of the Hotel Talisa where I booked a $7k stay for only 200k Marriott Points. We did get out of the hotel quite a bit though.
Now we rented a car via Avis, (good corporate leisure rate through work) but my wife didn’t fly the same day as the rest of our family so she took Peak 1 Express Shuttle. It was about $90 with tip and taxes from Denver Airport to the Hotel.
My kids and I got to do 4 days of Skiing while my wife joined us for 3 days. What is great about Vail is that from just about every lift (except for back bowls) you can ski down some type of green. So we didn’t have to plan out our runs too much, just get up the mountain and figure it out.
Our kids have been skiing for a few years, but we usually do a ski lesson on the first day to get their ski legs back. Its about $249 a kid ages 7-14 for an all day group ski lesson (includes lunch but not skis or the lift ticket). My sons lesson only had 3 kids in the group most of the day, but apparently one got cold every 5 minutes and they had to wait often for her to warm up. My 8 year old daughter was in a group of about 6 11-13 year olds, which was actually pretty good to push her a lil bit and she learned a lot.
I got down to the base around 3pm and decided I didn’t have enough time to do a run and be back when ski school let out at 330, so I had a drink while watching for the ski schoolers to come in.
There were also plenty of trails that went through trees that my kids loved throughout the week. As you can see in the video below, they are shorter than me and don’t hit as many tree limbs as I do.
Vail and skiing are expensive to begin with so I always look for every way to save money. My wife rented skis as mentioned in the previous post on site at Hotel Talisa. Since the kids and I had more time and were skiing more days, we decided to rent from Vail Ski Tech in Lionshead Village. 4 Days sport skis were $32 a day compared to the hotel of $44 and junior skis were $16 compared to $24.
Besides skiing, there are other activities in Vail. Of course there are Lionshead Village and Vail Village which have lots of stores and restaurants. (free parking after like 3pm)
I am not really a foodie or a shopper so I won’t share my opinions too much on those. However we did eat at night at the top of the Eagle Gondola at Eagles Nest Bistro 14 restaurant. It was neat to ride the Gondola up at night. (no cost) The food was good, but I was hoping for a little nicer atmosphere at night. It was just the same tables as during the day, just a better menu. Reservations are recommended. They showed all booked on open table, but it was probably only 50% full.
The day that we didn’t ski, we drove all around and had a great time. We did dogsledding last year but they were booked out for weeks at this time of the year. We were able to find a few snowmobiling reservations open, but our kids decided to pass on the big snowmobiles as they watched too many YouTube videos of people doing jumps and crashing. However we did find a place about 45 minutes from Vail called Nova Guides that had kids snowmobiles that you paid for by the minute. Our kids had a great time going round a small track and they want to do real snowbmobiling next year. Our kids probably did it for only about 20 minutes, and the guy only charged us $20 total and we tipped him $10 as he was very informative.
Before we headed off to Nova Guides we stopped by City Market and bought two $15 sleds. We figured we would see some place to sled along the way. City Market is less than a 5 minute drive from our hotel or from Lionshead Village, and a good place to get beer and food for the week. They have a separate liquor store inside the market, so it makes it easy to shop when you have kids with you as well.
We did find a huge hill at a place called Meadow Mountain which is right at I-70 and exit 171, so only a few miles past the Vail exit. It was huge and a lot of cross country skiers and snowshoers were here. They had a hill for sledding, but it was a hike up to it, and very bumpy. It wore you out and beat you up more than what it was worth, a least without fresh snow when we went. We did that a few times, and then went to a park called Ellefson Park which was in Vail close to City Market. It was a smaller hill, but very smooth and had some jumps if you wanted them. (Short Video of Ellefson below)
Also, on our way to Nova Guides, we drove through a nice little town called Minturn. It was a great place for some photo ops as well as to get out of Vail and have a homestyle lunch at the Turntable Restaurant.
The main attraction of Vail is the mountain. There are plenty of ways to get off the mountain and see some different places. While we had a car, there are shuttles or buses that will take you to most of these places as well. If you are booking a dogsledding or snowmobiling tour, just about all the companies will pick you up form your hotel.