This gorgeous weather has me lusting for fall, but I am in NO way ready for winter. At least not our batsh*t crazy, pothole prone, Pennsylvania winters… Colorado? That’s a different story. I was planning on linking up with Kate, Kerri and Emily for Wanderlust Wednesday but I’m a week late! Oh well, time to talk about one of my favorite vacations to date: Vail!
A few years ago, a few of our best friends moved out to Denver in the beginning of fall. We had some time off and the funds to work with, so we planned a trip to visit them AND to ski a few days on Vail Mountain. We flew into Denver on a Wednesday night, drove a few hours north in the morning and immediately got on the ski lift.
Listen, I’ve skied all my life and if you’ve spent your winters on Pocono Mountains like me – NOTHING can prepare you for the beauty of the Rockies.
I skied, Chas was on ski-blades (he’s nuts) and Tim is a snowboarder, but we all managed to stay together and dominate our first morning – hitting up blues and moving to blacks, and exploring forest trails that few before us had conquered.
We stopped for lunch at The 10th, right at the top of one of the lifts. You guys. This may have been one of the BEST meals of my life. I still dream about the lamb chili with goat cheese and jalapeño cornbread. Not to mention the epic dressing rooms where you could trade in your ski boots for complimentary slippers (!!) before taking a seat by the fireside while sipping a hot toddy. We spent a ridiculous amount on that lunch, but given that we still talk about it two years later, I think it was worth every penny.
That afternoon we decided to check out the back bowls – my first experience with such challenging “trails.” It was ridiculously hard – we all fell multiple times and at one point I sat up and couldn’t see a single other soul. But man, would you look at that view? It was beautiful enough to distract me from my slight fear that I would never make it down the mountain and that I’d lost Tim and Chas forever and ever, may God rest their snowy souls. (I found them)
We changed out of ski/board boots, kept our winter clothes on and headed straight to The Red Lion in Vail Village for après ski. We had heard SO much goodness about the nightlife in the village and the Lion did not disappoint. Many beers later (3 of them free courtesy of a few older Canadian gentlemen in the front who bought the entire BAR a round…!) we headed back to the hotel to meet Nick and Cutter, who had spent the day exploring the Denver area. We immediately headed into the gigantic hotel hottub, which was basically our only prerequisite for choosing lodging in the first place. Unfortunately our amazing, cheap and quaint Lionshead Inn was bulldozed the very next year… to build a Ritz. Not cool, Vail.
The next day was spent on the slopes and despite a few chipped teeth (Cutter) we managed to have a pretty fantastic time, including another great lunch at a German restaurant in the Village. After that we packed up and headed back to Denver for a fun-filled weekend of sightseeing, bar hopping and a hockey game. Unfortunately I got ridiculous altitude sickness – that sh*t is not a joke, my friends, i’m talking “got my heart checked by an EMT in the airport” ridiculous – but the entire trip was still an amazing experience, and one I plan on recreating in the near future.
Happy Wednesday! Where have you traveled this year, or where do you plan on going sometime soon? I’ve got vacation days and I’m ready to use them!