With its 5,000 acres of terrain and legendary Back Bowls, Vail Mountain is the crème de la crème of Colorado ski resorts. It’s known for its wide ski runs, a wealth of intermediate and expert runs, and a comprehensive ski school.
But Vail Mountain isn’t just for swishing down the slopes. There are plenty other ways to play in the snow.
Adventure Ridge at Eagle’s Nest
This huge snow park is almost the size of a football stadium – and it’s a sure-fire date with fun. The Mountaintop Adventure Center offers numerous activities for the whole family, including a bungee trampoline, a good beginner ski area, bunny run, and
a family-friendly restaurant called Bistro.
To get to Adventure Ridge from Lionshead, take the Eaglebahn Gondola (#19) to Eagle’s Nest. It’s free to foot passengers after 2 p.m. Otherwise, a foot passenger’s pass costs $25 for the lift only or $30 for lift and a $20 food and beverage credit.
You can play all day – and even into the night – at Adventure Ridge, but here are our favorite ways to make the most of the snow.
For $25 per person, you can speed down the multi-lane tubing hill. Tubes are provided, and an easy-access surface lift takes riders back up the hill.
Vail Mountain offers 5,000 acres of terrain and a comprehensive ski school.
One-hour sessions are offered on the hour and half-hour. The first sessions start at 2:30 p.m., while the last call is at 8 p.m. The minimum height requirement is 36 inches, and children 5 and under must be accompanied by an adult.
The tubing hill is open Tuesday through Saturday, from 2 to 9 p.m.
Ski biking is the latest snow craze. Part bike, part skis, this contraption will get your adrenaline up. The bike’s three-point stance provides stability, allowing for a minimal learning curve. Designed for all conditions, from fresh powder to groomed runs, the ski bike edges provide control of speed and turn.
Guided tours run in the late afternoon and evening from 4:45 to 7 p.m. Tours leave at 4:45, 5:15, 6:30 and 7 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. Headlamps guide your way.
Riders should be at least intermediate skiers, and must be ages 14 and up. The ride time is approximately two hours, and costs $65 per person. Minimum height requirement is 54 inches tall.
Ski boots are used in ski biking, so bring your own if you have them. If not, they are provided.
Sorry parents, but this one is just for the kids. Adventure Ridge’s mini-snowmobiles allow children 6-12 to cruise around Blizzard Speedway at their own pace. Designed for kids less than 110 pounds, the snowmobiles provide plenty of kid-sized fun. Tickets are $25 person. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 2:15 to 8:15 p.m. every 30 minutes.
Want to do it all at Adventure Ridge? For $119, two adults and two kids 12 and under can enjoy dinner at Bistro 14, tubing for the whole family and either bungee trampoline or snowmobiling for the kids.
Snowshoeing from the Nature Discovery Center
Ever wonder what creatures call these mountains home? You can learn more during a guided family snowshoe tour with an expert naturalist.
Tours leave from the Nature Discovery Center, which is located in an all-seasons yurt next to the Eagle’s Nest gondola atop Vail Mountain. This kid-friendly center is a community-based partnership between Vail Resorts, the U.S. Forest Service and Gore Range Natural Science School (GRNSS).
The Discovery Center is open Sunday and Monday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Trained naturalists provide daily nature hikes and snowshoe tours, educating visitors with natural science learning. Best of all, the guided snowshoe tours are free.
Tours leave daily at 3 p.m., and reservations are not needed. For more information, call 970-754-4675.
If You Go
Vail Mountain 450 E. Lionshead Circle Vail, Colorado 81657 970-476-5601 vail.com
Adventure Ridge vail.com/activities/adventure-ridge.aspx
Janna Graber is the Executive Director of Go World Publishing.