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Vail and Beaver Creek Recreation

Colorado Fun!

Alpine Slide-LEADWhen it comes to winter thrills, Colorado ski resorts offer nearly everything snow lovers crave. But just because skis and boards have been mothballed for the summer doesn’t eliminate reasons for visiting slope-side resorts.

Here are 33 summer adventures to be found around Colorado’s top ski communities. Like the trails and terrain, we’ve categorized activities by difficulty—family-friendly easy greens, more-challenging intermediate blues and adrenaline-infused advanced black-diamonds. Pick a pursuit and have some fun.

Click here to read the entire article.

No Snow Necessary: Ski Resorts Deliver Summer Fun

1374235970000-4x4Tour-1307190814_4_3“I came for the winter, but stayed for the summer.”

It’s a well-worn cliché employed by one-time ski bums who quickly grasped the appeal of ski-town living after the snow melted, the temperatures rose and the wildflowers bloomed.

In recent years, top ski destinations have beefed up their warm-weather offerings to lure visitors. Most large ski resorts offer world-class golf and mountain biking. Many are adding bells and high-altitude whistles like man-made whitewater parks, ziplines and much more. The bonus? Bargain rates at some of the region’s swankiest spots.

“In the summertime, travelers can experience the same luxurious lodging and dine at the same world-class restaurants for a fraction of the price,” says Dan Sherman of Ski.com, which sells mountain vacation packages. “We have found that travelers can snag deals with savings of up to 85-percent off the most expensive travel times in winter.”

Wow, you say? That’s what we thought, too.

Here are some places to spend a spectacular summer in the mountains.

10 Reasons to Visit Vail with Kids….in the Summertime!

vailWhen most people think of Vail, they think of fantastic winter sports – skiing, snowshoeing, snow boarding. Not many people think of it as a summer destination. There’s a saying in Vail that “people come for the winter but stay for the summer,” and there are actually a lot of tangible reasons for it.

Surprisingly (to some of us who weren’t already in the know), Vail has a lot to offer families in the summertime. For those who already knew this, they may not even want others to get in on the scoop. Vail isn’t an over-crowded place to visit, mainly because it’s very large and spread out. The climate is always mild. Vail natives say that they have “great sleeping weather,” meaning you can always open your window for a cool breeze. It makes for great weather for biking, hiking, exploring and playing outdoors. A trip to Vail is quite affordable, too. There is a variety of accommodation options to match every budget and a lot of free activities.

So here we have our top 10 reasons to visit Vail with the kids in the summertime. Start your end of summer or next summer planning now!

Click here to read the top 10 reasons why you should Visit Vail in the Summer!

Vail, Breckenridge & Aspen Flourish As Year-Round Desinations

dt.common.streams.StreamServer.clsThis is a great article from the Vail Daily about the increasing shift of mountain communities into year round destinations.

There was a time when mountains were enough — when skiing down or hiking up forested slopes, fishing and rafting rivers or biking or riding horses through the hills provided enough entertainment to last a week. As mountain resort communities grow and compete with one another for tourism dollars, the mountains simply aren’t cutting it. Visitors want more.

Ziplines. Trampolines. Alpine coasters. Extreme mountain bike trails. Paragliding. Ropes courses. Slacklines. Mini golf. Disc golf. Rock-climbing walls. Whitewater parks. Terrain parks. Skateboard parks.

Growth in visitors and sales tax revenues proves that ski towns are real communities no longer serving the very narrow niche of winter sports. The in-your-face overload of countless activities doesn’t stop with recreation. Summer events and festivals are filling up the calendars, giving guests from far and wide all the more reason to find their Rocky Mountain high. Event planning has taken off in the mountain region, and in many cases the public sector has its hand in it like never before. The mountains have become everything from a foodie’s paradise to a place to unwind to a spa or golf destination. Festivals focusing on music, art, food and dance plump up weekends that used to be desolate as recent as a few years ago.

Click here to read the entire article.

 

Colorado’s Top 13 Family Vacation Ideas for Summer 2013

indexSummer is just around the corner and you don’t need to look far to have a world-class vacation with your family. From theater hikes to Outhouse Races to free events galore, we have the inside scoop on All Things Colorado.

Aspen/Snowmass

It may be summertime but Snowmass has returned to the Ice Age with the Snowmass Ice Age Discovery Center that features the most significant Ice Age ecosystem find in Colorado history (and it’s free). Touch a mastodon tooth, marvel at a half-sized 6-foot Wooden Mammoth Skeleton, do a dig of your own or a daily Ice Age Discovery Hike by  Environment Studies.  Visit the Snowmass Rodeo on Wednesday nights (June 12- August 28) and sign up your kids for the Calf Scramble and Mutton Busting. Ride the Elk Camp Gondola up Snowmass Mountain where the Elk Camp Restaurant will open for activities including downhill biking, dinner, campfires, live music, movies, Stryder Park and Kid’s Playground on Friday evenings. Try your hand at some slopeside bowling at the new bowling alley below Venga Venga Cantina featuring eight full-sized lanes, a lounge area with full bar, wood-fired oven pizzas, upscale bar food and more. Then, get inspired at the Anderson Ranch Arts Center, a stellar place for kids of all ages to take workshops that include sculpture, photography, painting, beading, and mask-making.

Click here to read about all the other fun Colorado towns.

Are You Tough Enough?

dt.common.streams.StreamServer.clsWhen the names of the obstacles include things like “Devils Beard,” “Boa Constrictor,” “Electric Eel” and “Electrochock Therapy,” the Tough Mudder tagline that claims the event is “probably the toughest event on the planet” seems plausible.

Tough Mudder takes over Beaver Creek this weekend with an estimated 10,000-plus participants on Saturday alone who will run through mud, crawl through confined spaces, swim through shallow water with electrically charged wires hanging above and risk terrifying themselves in countless other ways throughout the course.

The electric shock, by the way, is no joke. One zap and you feel it through your entire body — a tingling, numbing sensation that feels like it could easily be followed by a heart arrhythmia. Notice to participants with heart conditions, metal in their bodies or a history of seizures: Skip the electrically charged portions of the course.

With Beaver Creek’s rugged terrain and altitude, the Tough Mudder competitors here not only face their fears, they also face fatigue and less oxygen in the air to breathe.

Why would people do such a thing? One good reason is that the event supports the Wounded Warriors Project, a nonprofit with a mission “to foster the most successful, well-adjusted generation of wounded service members in our nation’s history.” Tough Mudder has raised more than $5.6 million for Wounded Warriors to date and is on pace to raise up to $2 million more this year, said Nick Bodkins, general manager of Tough Mudder.

Click here to read the entire article.

Pot Votes in CO Raise Specter of Weed Tourism

Hit the slopes — and then a bong?

Marijuana legalization votes this week in Colorado and Washington state don’t just set up an epic state-federal showdown on drug laws for residents. The measures also open the door for marijuana tourism.

Both marijuana measures make marijuana possession in small amounts OK for all adults over 21 — not just state residents but visitors, too. Tourists may not be able to pack their bowls along with their bags, but as long as out-of-state tourists purchase and use the drug while in Colorado or Washington, they wouldn’t violate the marijuana measures.

Of course, that’s assuming the recreational marijuana measures take effect at all. That was very much in doubt Friday as the states awaited word on possible lawsuits from the U.S. Department of Justice asserting federal supremacy over drug law.

So the future of marijuana tourism in Colorado and Washington is hazy. But that hasn’t stopped rampant speculation, especially in Colorado, where tourism is the No. 2 industry thanks to the Rocky Mountains and a vibrant ski industry.

The day after Colorado approved recreational marijuana by a wide margin, the headline in the Aspen Times asked, “Aspendam?” referring to Amsterdam’s marijuana cafes.

Colorado’s tourism director, Al White, tried to downplay the prospect of a new marijuana tourism boom. “It won’t be as big a deal as either side hopes or fears,” White said. Maybe not. But many are asking about marijuana tourism.

Ski resorts are “certainly watching it closely,” said Jennifer Rudolph of Colorado Ski Country USA, a trade association that represents 21 Colorado resorts.

The Colorado counties where big ski resorts are located seem to have made up their minds. The marijuana measure passed by overwhelming margins, with more support than in less visited areas.

The home county of Aspen approved the marijuana measure more than 3-to-1. More than two-thirds approved marijuana in the home county of Colorado’s largest ski resort, Vail. The home county of Telluride ski resort gave marijuana legalization its most lopsided victory, nearly 8 in 10 favoring the measure.

“Some folks might come to Colorado to enjoy some marijuana as will be their right. So what?” said Betty Aldworth, advocacy director for the Colorado marijuana campaign.

Marijuana backers downplayed the impact on tourism. Aldworth pointed out that pot-smoking tourists wouldn’t exactly be new. Colorado ski slopes already are dotted with “smoke shacks,” old mining cabins that have been illicitly repurposed as places to smoke pot out of the cold. And the ski resort town of Breckenridge dropped criminal penalties for marijuana use two years ago.

 

More Golf Courses Than Golfers at Vail

Is the Vail resort complex oversupplied with golf courses? You could make that argument, as several of the valley’s 17 public and private clubs have struggled enormously in the wake of the Great Recession.

But don’t paint with too broad a brush, warn several resort leaders in the Vail Valley.

“They’re not all the same,” said Johannes Faessler, owner of the Sonnenalp Resort of Vail and a companion golf club downvalley at Edwards. “There are different reasons why things happen to different clubs,” he told the Vail Daily’s Lauren Glendenning.

Even in the 1980s, a columnist for a now-defunct newspaper in Vail joked that someday it would be possible to golf continuously from Vail to Glenwood Canyon, a distance of nearly 80 kilometres.

During the 1990s and early 2000s, developers seemed determined to make that come true. There was even a proposal to build a golf course atop an abandoned landfill. At another location, a developer proposed to cap an old pile of mine tailings and create a golf course, as was done at Anaconda, Mont.

Then golfing, as had happened with tennis in the 1970s and skiing in the 1980s, started losing its luster. The growth flattened, nationally as well as at mountain resorts.

Those golf courses that suffered most substantially in the Vail area were those farthest from the ski slopes and resort centers of Vail and Beaver Creek. Brightwater, a project located south of Gypsum, about 72 kilometres from Vail, is now in bankruptcy. A beautiful course called Adam’s Rib, south of Eagle, reportedly sold very few memberships and has revised its fees.

Then came news that only one of four courses at Cordillera, a resort about 16 kilometres from Beaver Creek, would remain open. There are countersuits between the owner of the golf courses, David Wilhelm, and club members, who own property adjacent to the courses.

“Don’t let the Cordillera fiasco overshadow the fact that each one of these courses is doing better,” said Harry Frampton, managing partner of East West Partners. The Avon-based company most typically has built golf course-based higher-end real estate.

Frampton, an avid golfer, says there’s no better place to play golf in the United States than the Vail area. But there are two problems. First, the season lasts only three or four months. And second, he thinks too many of the golf courses are too hard for the average golfer, taking four to five hours to play, too much commitment when there are dozens of other things to do.

He also told the Vail Daily that in a survey of his company’s high-end real estate buyers, 20 per cent had been driven by golf. It’s still important, he said, but golf does not drive the economy of the Vail Valley.

What does during summer? Unlike winter, there is no dominant driver. The Vail Daily sites research done for the Vail municipal government that showed hiking was the top activity of summer visitors.

The percentage of summer visitors who had or planned to golf while in Vail had declined from 32 per cent in 2005 to less than 12 per cent in 2012.

Top Ski Resort for Thanksgiving: Beaver Creek Makes The Cut

Here’s a couple of secrets about Thanksgiving holiday skiing and riding. Turkey Day tends to be light on crowds at many U.S. resorts. November isn’t peak season, so resorts offer reduced lodging rates. Plus, you can avoid kitchen stress by dining out on traditional holiday meals of roast turkey, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie.

Sure, the fledgling snowpack may rely on heavy snowmaking for groomer skiing, but most skiers’ legs need to adjust to slope pounding. Barring fickle weather, six North American ski resorts are fairly safe bets for 2012 Thanksgiving ski holidays, and they throw in off-snow fun, too.

What are you waiting for? Time to make Thanksgiving reservations.

Beaver Creek Resort adds to warm holiday traditions by passing out cookies hot from the oven for their Thanksgiving Day opening. The World’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Competition features the top five finalists baking up 1,000 cookies each. You can vote on the tastiest and work off the calories skiing on the slopes.

The day following Thanksgiving, a Colorado blue spruce takes center stage at the outdoor ice rink for the annual Beaver Creek Tree Lighting Ceremony to launch the Christmas season. Music, fireworks, live performances, Santa, a free kid-friendly film, hot chocolate and the Gingerbread Competition round out the family entertainment.

Click here to see the other resorts that made the cut.

50 Ways To Enjoy Vail

The US resort is celebrating its 50th birthday this year and has drawn up a list of 50 must-see events, activities, sights and more during the resorts 50th anniversary season. So, which one would you like to do most?

It was in 1962 than the early pioneers started skiing in Vail. It is now one of the largest ski resorts in the USA with more than 5,000 acres of skiable terrain.

There are seven back bowls that cover seven miles. It claims to have more groomed terrain than anywhere else in North America.

As its 50th birthday celebrations get underway there is a brand new state of the art gondola and a whole host of activities to get people in the mood.

And 50 experiences to enjoy…