While the weather is warming up in New Orleans, the snow is still falling in the Mountain West. Now is a great time of year for spring skiing, and there's no better resort to hit than Vail.
Vail is consistently ranked the best ski resort in North America. Celebrating its 50th anniversary, Vail attracts over one million visitors a year to its world-class skiing and resort experience.
Flights are plentiful from New Orleans to Denver with a number of non-stop options. From Denver airport it's roughly a two-hour drive to Vail. If you don't feel like driving then check out Colorado Mountain Express, which offers great shuttle service to and from Vail.
The most convenient way to get to Vail is to fly directly into Vail Eagle Airport. This can be done on most airlines. American flies to Vail via Dallas, while Delta goes through Atlanta.
Vail is full with great places to stay, including many of the major hotel chains. But when visiting Vail, you want convenience and comfort most importantly. A great spot to check out is Antlers at Vail. This classic chalet is perfectly located just 100 yards from the bottom of the Lionshead gondola. Antlers offers fantastic condominiums at hotel prices, and each unit comes with a kitchenette, which is a major plus on any ski trip. Visit www.antlersvail.com for more info.
Vail is known for having some of the best skiing in the country…if not the world. With almost 200 trails and 33 chair lifts, including a new Gondola leaving from Vail Village, Vail offers fantastic skiing for the beginner to the expert.
The best way to buy lift tickets to Vail is in advance of your visit. Their website at www.Vail.com gives a complete run-down of various lift ticket packages.
The Vail Ski School is known as being one of the best ski schools in the world. The school offers private individual lessons as well as group lessons. For the kids, Ski School includes lunch and a day's worth of activities. Whether you are an avid skier or a novice, a day or two of lessons is definitely recommended.
Another great activity for the kids and grown-ups alike is Adventure Ridge. This snow park is the size of a football stadium and includes tubing, ski bikes, and kids snowmobile racing. There's also a bungee trampoline and snowshoeing available for a memorable afternoon or eveneing of just playing in the snow.
In addition to great skiing, the town of Vail offers some of the finest dining options of any ski resort in the country. There are over 100 great restaurants through the town of Vail, with everything from five-star world-class cuisine to classic New York pizza.
One fantastic restaurant not to be missed is Campo de Fiori. A Vail staple for 15 years, Campo de Fiori serves fantastic unpretentious Italian food in a warm atmosphere. In addition to fantastic food, Campo de Fiori is known for giving exceptional service. Ask for the GM Mira upon checking in; she will lead you down a walk of fantastic food and great hospitality. Make a reservation in advance at www.campodefiori.net
Campo de Fiori has a complete menu of appetizers, soups, salads, pastas, and entrees. Start off your meal with an order of the fried calamari, Frittura di Calamari, that's great for sharing with the table. After order a soup or salad and maybe a pasta course, don't miss the amazing veal chop. It's locally sourced from the Strauss Farm and comes with a delicious porcini mushroom sauce.
After a hard day of skiing nothing is more satisfying than a great steak. Located in the heart of Lionshead, the Vail Chophouse is known as having the finest steaks in Vail, so it's not to be missed. Located at the bottom of the Lionshead Gondola (and just a short walk from Antlers), the Vail Chophouse offers fantastic steaks, seafood, and more. Their menu can be found at www.beavercreekchophouse.com.
Vail Chophouse offers all of the finest cuts of meats that you are used to seeing in some of the top steakhouses. While in Vail, though, take your taste buds on a Colorado adventure and order the Buffalo Filet. Colorado is famous for locally sourced meat such as lamb and buffalo, and the Chophouse's Buffalo Filet is one to remember.
The folks who own Vail Chophouse also own Blue Moose Pizza next door. A neat spot that the kids will love, Blue Moose offers classic pizzas, sandwiches, and entrees. If you are staying at Antlers, Blue Moose is the perfect spot to order a pizza for pick-up as it's just a short walk away. Check out www.bluemoosepizza.com for more info.
For a true dining adventure, don't miss the Tennessee Pass Cookhouse in nearby Leadville. About a 45 minute drive from Vail, this amazing locale serves dinner in a charming yurt. Diners must either walk, snowshoe, or cross-country ski one mile into the forest before arriving at the yurt. From there they are served a multi-course meal that includes soup, entrée, and dessert. Reservations are a must at the Cookhouse; visit their website at www.tennesseepass.com for more information.
Spring-time is the best time to ski at Vail. The week before or after Easter in late March or early April is known for having some of the best conditions of the year. Or you may want to wait until April 8 - 12 for Spring Back to Vail. This end-of-season bash in a week of fun featuring free live concerts with Jimmy Cliff, Sublime, and O.A.R. There is also the infamous World Pond Skimming Championships and lots of nighttime parties. More info can be found at www.vail.com/events