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Vail Holiday Preview

  • 19 December 2016

Great Conditions on Vail Mountain

Vail has more skiable terrain available for the holidays than any other resort in Colorado after receiving well-timed snowstorms dumping 20 inches of new snow during the past week with more storms on the way! With the opening of Blue Ski Basin, the mountain is now nearly 80 percent open, so get out and enjoy some turns and don’t forget to check out the new high-speed Sun Up Express (#9) for quick access to the Back Bowls. With this addition, every major chairlift on Vail Mountain is now a high-speed chairlift. Also new this season is the Forest Flyer™ Mountain Coaster which will be operating throughout the winter at Adventure Ridge. To check the snow and weather report and other mountain information, visit

Celebrating the Holidaze in Vail

One of Vail’s celebrated traditions, the annual holiday tree lighting took place on Sunday, Dec. 18 in Vail Village as part of the Vail Holidaze festivities. Hosted by Mayor Dave Chapin and other dignitaries, the event in Slifer Square by the Covered Bridge included live holiday music by the Children’s Chorale and Terry Armistead, plus holiday cookie decorating and other festivities. Earlier in the day, guests enjoyed pre-tree lighting activities at the Arrabelle in Vail Square in Lionshead with ice skating, cookie decorating and performances by the Vail Skating Club.

Vail Holidaze events continue with Paper Lantern Workshops, the Winter Solstice Lantern Walk and the Grand Opening of the Vail Winterfest Ice Theater presented by Vicki and Kent Logan:

Paper Lantern Workshop – Tuesday, Dec. 20, 4 to 6 p.m.
Libations & Lantern Making with the Alpine Arts Center, 2nd Level Lionshead Welcome Center, $10

Alpine Arts Center will instruct participants on creating your own paper lantern. This lively evening will include complimentary light snacks, holiday music, and wine and beer available for purchase to enjoy while painting your unique lantern to bring to the Winter Solstice Lantern Walk on Dec. 21. RVSP to or 970-479-2344.

Paper Lantern Making Workshop with Helen Hiebert – Wednesday, Dec. 21, 1:30 to 4:30 p.m., Vail Public Library, Free
Create your paper lantern at a free workshop in the Library Community Room with local paper artist Helen Hiebert. Bring your paper lantern to the Winter Solstice Lantern Walk through Vail Village following the workshop. Complimentary LED lights for your lanterns will be provided to those participating in the lantern walk. RVSP to or 970-479-2344. Please indicate number in your party; children must be accompanied by an adult.  

Winter Solstice Lantern Walk – Wednesday, Dec. 21, 5 p.m. – Vail Village, Slifer Square by the Covered Bridge, Free
Complimentary LED lights for your lantern will be distributed from 4:45 to 5 p.m. Falling upon the winter solstice, enjoy this artful community celebration of light. Arrive early in Slifer Square to decorate a holiday cookie before the walk from 4 to 5 p.m. The short jolly procession through Vail Village will include illuminated lanterns, live music and other treats as the walk winds its way to the Gore Creek Promenade for the opening celebration of the Tenth Annual Vail Winterfest Ice Theater presented by Vicki and Kent Logan. The Paper Lantern Workshops and Winter Solstice Lantern Walk are generously funded by Doe Browning.

Grand Opening Tenth Annual Vail Winterfest Ice Theater Presented by Vicki and Kent Logan – Wednesday,Dec. 21, 5:15 p.m. – Vail Village, Gore Creek Promenade, Free
Celebrate the coolest outdoor ice theater returning to Vail this winter season when Art in Public Places with ice sculptor Paul Wertin presents this popular free and family friendly cinematic experience in ice. Lounge in oversized ice chairs while enjoying the scenic Gore Creek during the day and film projections on a screen created in ice in the evening. The grand opening will feature the holiday classic “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” along with hot chocolate and other treats.

More Family-Friendly Activities

Other family-friendly offerings taking place during the holiday season include:


  • Family Fireside Holiday Party, Thursday, Dec. 15, 5 p.m., Vail Public Library.

  • Vail Public Library Story Time, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings,

  • Outdoor Ice Skating, afternoons until 9 p.m. Vail Village (Solaris) and Lionshead (Arrabelle); rentals available

  • Betty Ford Alpine Gardens Education Center, guided snowshoe tours Wednesdays at 10 a.m.

  • Nature Discovery Center, natural history exhibits and daily guided snowshoe tours, located at the top of Eagle Bahn Gondola, Vail Mountain

  • Adventure Ridge, ski bikes, kids snowmobile track and tubing, Forest Flyer™ Mountain Coaster located at the top of Eagle Bahn Gondola, Vail Mountain

  • Vail Recreation District, programs and activities for ages 2 and older. Drop-ins welcome.   

    New Year’s Eve Festivities

    Ring in the New Year on Dec. 31 with the annual Torchlight Parade and fireworks at Golden Peak at 6:15 p.m. Watch as ski instructors and Vail locals form a glowing train as they ski down Golden Peak with glowing sticks followed by a fireworks display. Make it a safe celebration with these friendly reminders from Vail Police.

    Parking & Transit Options

    From free buses to free parking – and most everything in between - transportation options are plentiful this time of year. Parking is free in the Vail Village and Lionshead parking structures for the first two hours and free upon entry after 3 p.m. Also, discount parking passes are available for qualifying residents, employees and property owners. Please check the website for discount qualifications. Vail also operates one of the largest free transit systems in the country and comes highly recommended for its convenience. 

    Fly Vail

    Eagle County Regional Airport is offering non-stop flights from 12 major markets this winter, which makes getting to and from Vail a convenient option for busy travelers. One-stop connections are available from over 250 cities worldwide, making EGE the number-one choice for frequent visitors. This winter season, Eagle Airport is serviced by Air Canada, American, Delta and United from markets including Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York/JFK, Newark, Phoenix, Toronto and Washington D.C.

    Holiday Resource Checklist

    If you don’t find what you need below to help with your holiday questions, be sure to call the town offices at 970-479-2100 for assistance.

    Curbside Christmas Tree Recycling

    Temporary Parking Variances in Neighborhoods

    Short Term Rentals

    Town of Vail Holiday Hours

    Parking Structure Counts

    Next Bus

    Vail App

    The official vacation guide app for Vail has been launched by the Town of Vail in partnership with ResortApp and is ready for download. The new VAIL App is free and available for iPhones and Android. With its GPS-based navigation system, the app includes listings of all businesses, an events calendar, activities directory, real-time parking availability, custom maps of the town and the mountain, plus a nightlife, shopping and lodging guide. In addition, the app features a popular “deals” section with value-added discounts and offers for locals and guests alike.

    Stocking Stuffers – Uniquely Vail

    Friends of the LibraryFriends of the Library Fundraiser
    In time for holiday gift giving, the Friends of Vail Public Library are sponsoring a unique fundraiser – the sale of Commemorative Coffee, Chocolates and Wine in collaboration with local partners. Stop by the library to take a peek at the unique gift-giving opportunities. Perfect "stocking stuffers" - Commemorative coffee (whole bean and ground) - $10/bag. Commemorative chocolates - $10/box of 4.  Both available at the library. "Vail Bella" wine - may be ordered through the library or directly through Vines at Vail.

    Banner Bags, Bells & Manhole Cover Jewelry
    The Town of Vail’s Art in Public Places is offering unique Vail gifts this holiday season. A selection of up-cycled handmade bags created from vinyl roundabout and street banners are available for purchase. Large and medium totes, duffle bags and zipper pouches range in price from $15 to $40. Also available are collector’s items such as Vail Bronze Bells which are available for $150, reduced from the original price of $250, as well as a supply of Vail Manhole jewelry at over 50% reduced prices. Proceeds help fund future Art in Public Places programs. To make purchase arrangements, call Art in Public Places at 970-479-2344 or email

    Re-register or Subscribe to EC Alert

    To continue receiving emergency alerts from Eagle County, recipients must re-register at as a result of a service change to the system. The sign up process is the same for new subscribers in which recipients will be asked to select from a menu of location-based notifications; pick areas of interest such as traffic and weather; and choose delivery options including email, text or phone. Subscriptions can be changed at any time. 

    Coming Soon…

    In our next issue of Vail Mail, we’ll be highlighting the Town of Vail Year in Review, an update on the Town Manager search and an update on how best to plug into the public input process for the initial kick off of the Comprehensive Open Lands Plan Update. To catch up on all the news from the Town of Vail, visit

    Vail-Mail is a project of the Town of Vail Community Information Office. For comments and suggestions, contact Suzanne Silverthorn


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