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Hot On (and Off) the Trail to Vail

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                         (photo by Buckaroobay)

Today the New York Times‘ travel section told us what to do if we only have 36 hours in Vail, Co. For another perspective, we asked Nicki Rein Shalette, who has been skiing in Vail every winter since 1988, for her advice on the best places to go.

Best Apres Ski: Right at the base of the Vista Bahn, in the center of the village, is the Red Lion Inn, a classic ski town bar (which the NYT also recommends). It features live music, local beers and the best onion rings I’ve ever had. However, if your legs are tired from a long day on the slopes this may not be the place for you — it’s typically standing room only with the crowds overflowing onto the street.

Favorite Runs: For those who love the fast and the furious, nothing can beat Riva Ridge. Pick a morning when it’s been groomed from top to bottom, head out early and let the skis and boards fly. For powderhounds anything is great after a big snowfall, but even when the sky is blue there’s powder to be had in the outer bowls — try Outer Mongolia or Siberia Bowl.

Best On-Mountain Dining: You’ll find great BBQ for lunch at Wildwood at the top of chairs 3 and 7. If you’re looking for something fancier, there’s the Game Creek Club, a private club located in Game Creek Bowl.  It’s members-only for lunch, but it’s open to the public for dinner. It’s great for a romantic evening as a ride up the gondola and a private snow cat ride to the club are part of the deal.

Favorite Restaurant: Larkspur, offers some of the best contemporary American cuisine I’ve had anywhere. I love how their extensive wine collection is housed in a glass room right off the dining room.

Favorite Hotel: I always try to stay at the Sonnenalp, which combines the charm and personal touches of a small Bavarian chalet with the level of luxury you would expect from one of the finest hotels in the world. All of the rooms have fireplaces, marble bathrooms with heated floors, and down comforters that invite you to sleep for days. A great way to experience the Sonnenalp if you’re not lucky enough to be staying there is to book a spa treatment — it has one of the best spas in Vail — because that will allow you complimentary use of the indoor and outdoor hot tubs and pools, exercise room, sauna and lounge area for the day.

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(photo by Discosour)

Have you been to Vail? Which places do you recommend? Please tell us in the comments below.

One Response to Hot On (and Off) the Trail to Vail

  1. Mike Saylor February 1, 2009 at 3:39 pm #

    Hey thanks for the tips Found ur blog on facebook, Looking forward to riding Riva Ridge.

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