January 10, 2013

Justin Does…Vail Valley, Colorado… with Maria!

Winter brings cold weather. And cold weather brings out my itch to snowboard! Maria and I planned a weekend getaway to Vail Valley, Colorado to ring in the New Year. And for some skiing {Maria} and snowboarding {me}. I asked Maria for her opinion on my picks. As you’ll see, we agree and disagree on what to do in the Vail Valley.

DO {his}: Ski, of course. Unless you visit in the summer {equally advisable}, and then hiking is a must. If you do end up skiing, my favorite ski area is Beaver Creek Resort. The mountain is large with a nice variety of easy to challenging runs. Plus, the resort has probably one of the best taglines, ever: Beaver Creek: Not exactly roughing it.

DO {hers}: Skiing in Beaver Creek is nice but I also enjoy skiing in Vail. Since I am not a super-experienced skier, I think there are better blue and green runs. I love the village with a lot of great restaurants around. Another plus? It’s great for shopping!

APRÈS SKI {his}: Whether you après ski {French for post-ski} directly from the mountain or after you shower and prior to dinner, a stop into Pepi’s Restaurant and Bar {located in the Hotel-Gasthof Gramshammer} is required. Make sure you visit on a night that the famous Rod Powell {the best entertainer in the valley} is on the stage. Sure, it may be a slightly older crowd, but servers Daniella and Diane will take good care of you.

APRÈS SKI {hers}: Agree!

EAT {his}: I’m partial to the town of Avon, which is at the base of Beaver Creek {outside of the resort}. It seems that new, fabulous restaurants are popping up frequently. Dinner at Vin 48 is a must. The menu changes frequently and uses local, organic produce from the chef’s garden. As the name implies, Vin 48 has a healthy, eclectic wine list.

EAT {hers}: I personally loved The 10th Restaurant in Vail. Located at the top of the mountain, it overlooks the majestic Gore Range. You’d need to take the gondola up to it {which is equipped with WiFi onboard}. The service is superb and the champagne bottles are anything but small! {group photo}

AFTER PARTY {his}: Once you’ve après skied {yes, I just created a verb} and dined, The Red Lion should be one of your last stops of the night. Phil Long has been entertaining for years and his repertoire of songs will get you moving. While there, sip The Back Bowl Bloody. You’ll thank me later.

AFTER PARTY {hers}: I loved sipping wine at the bar at Sweet Basil. It’s the perfect after-dinner hangout if you are not in the mood to get crazy. And judging by its 35 years in business, many must agree with me.

STAY {his}: Opened in 2010, the Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa at Beaver Creek Mountain is THE place to stay in the Vail Valley. A gondola connects you to the Bachelor Gulch area of Beaver Creek Resort making the Westin a ski-in/ski-out resort. Take a day off from skiing and make an appointment at the award-winning Spa Anjali, which frequently tops many ‘Best Spas in America’ lists. Tip: For an amazing, deep structural massage, request Will – you will not be disappointed.

STAY {hers}: Absolutely agree!

GET THERE: Fly into Eagle County Airport {airport code EGE}. A more budget-friendly options is to fly into Denver International Airport {airport code DEN} and rent a car or arrange a shuttle.

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