Another spring 2020 post that was delayed. Enjoy!
Dear Friends, It’s been a while since we’ve done a “skiing at Vail” post.
So today the best in what’s new, interesting and mention-worthy at Colorado’s largest ski resort (5,289 skiable acres — that’s big).
We wish you were here. We bet you do, too. Cheers, Us
The Legacy Hut
Skiing above Mid-Vail and looking to warm up? Check out the Legacy Hut at the top of Lift 4 (Mountaintop Express).
The hut, which opened on Valentine’s Day, features photos of the Gore Creek Valley before Vail was built, photos and ephemera from the resort’s earliest days, 10th Mountain Division uniforms and memorabilia, and photos from significant Vail events including the 1989 Alpine World Ski Championships and the 1998 fire at Two Elk lodge.
Open daily, with free tours at 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Meet Emma, the Epic Mountain Assistant
I’d like to introduce you to Vail Resort’s Emma, aka Vail Resort’s Epic Mountain Assistant, a texting service that provides immediate mountain information including chairlift wait times, snow reports, grooming, parking and more.
I most recently used Emma to check chairlift waiting times in Vail from the mountain. I’d already tried her earlier that day…checking the snow report from the comfort of my bed.
Easier and faster than using the EpicMix app for similar information, Emma is my new best ski buddy.
(For more information and my full review of Vail’s Epic Mountain Assistant texting service, click here)
A Room With an Open Air Chairlift: Grand Hyatt Vail
When it comes to family skiing — no matter how old your family — slope side accommodation can be a lifesaver.
Skiing with toddlers who will need a nap, or at least a break? It’s nice to be close enough to the skiing that parents can tag team. Skiing with teenagers who don’t want to get out of bed? No problem, go ski and they can meet you later. Want to park the car and enjoy the ultimate convenience of skiing onto the mountain? That’s a big bonus, too.
That’s why we were very happy to discover winter at the Grand Hyatt Vail, a recently renovated and rebranded hotel adjacent to the Cascade Lift in Vail’s Cascade Village, the resort’s westernmost base.
Cascade Village is quiet and self-contained, in a tranquil spot away from the noise and crowds of Vail Village and Lionshead. Gore Creek and the Gore Creek trail are next to the hotel, with many rooms looking directly over the creek and into the forest.
The Cascade Lift is maybe 25 steps from the hotel’s ski and boot room, making it just about the most seamless gear-up-and-get-on-the-mountain experience ever. And just to clarify, it’s an open-air chairlift — not a bubble chair or a gondola. That’s important for this ski season, yes?
The Grand Hyatt Vail’s peaceful location gives it a true ski lodge feel, with guests gathering in the “living room” for après champagne and cookies, often lingering into the evening.
Down by the creek, enjoy free ice skating (pick up complimentary skates in the yurt) and fire pits with seating, perfect for making s’mores on selected days. Après drinks and appetizers are also served rinkside at the al fresco Fire + Ice Bar.
Visit the Market for quick bites and coffee, and don’t miss breakfast or dinner at the Gessner Restaurant, which emphasizes a locally-inspired fusion of Rocky Mountain and Alpen fare.
Guests can opt for a workout in the hotel’s fitness cheer, and sooth tired ski legs in the Grand Hyatt Spa within the hotel.
Colorado Snowsports Museum
In 1976, Vail was chosen as the home of the new Colorado Snowsports Museum because of it’s location, central to Colorado skiing and Colorado ski resorts.
Originally a repository for Colorado ski pioneers to donate their maps, photos, ski gear and more, the displays — including World Cup title globes, Olympic medals and 10th Mountain Division gear — grew over time, much to the delight of visitors.
By the mid-2010s, however, the museum needed reimagining. And in June 2018, a newly configured, digitized and more compelling museum reopened after a $2.6 million upgrade.
Interested in old ski maps and photos? What used to be a lengthy manual search is now a quick digital query on a large interactive table. Dial up your favorite resorts and find maps, videos and photos dating back to their founding seasons. Search for lost resorts and discover the many ski areas that defined even the smallest Colorado communities.
Interested in skis, snowboards, boots and other equipment? Check out the timelines of gear, ranging from the late 1800s to the present day. If ski fashion is your thing, don’t miss 100 Years of Ski Fashion, one of the museum’s most popular attractions.
In addition to preserving the history of competitive and recreational snowsports, the museum also has the “most comprehensive 10th Mountain Division artifact collection on display in Colorado,” according to museum director Jen Mason.
“Every item in the museum is significant to the history of snowsports in Colorado,” Mason explains. “Every item has a story to tell.”
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